April 19, 2012
China warned Japan of its proposed purchase of the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Beijing and Tokyo disputed the nationality of the archipelago named Diaoyu Island (the Japanese called the Senkaku). The islands are uninhabited, but are valuable because of the gas fields on the shelf.
On Monday, April 16, the mayor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara said in Washington that the Japanese prefecture of the capital is in talks to buy Senkaku. According to “Kyodo,” it was about making a deal by the end of 2012.
Ishihara emphasized that talks are underway with the Japanese family, which owns the island.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin commented on the negotiations on the next day. “Any unilateral action by Japan on the Diaoyu Islands and adjacent territories are illegal,” he said, “They can not change the fact that the islands belong to China.”
According to Beijing, the Diaoyu Islands belong to the Chinese since its opening in the XIV century. After the war in 1894-95 the archipelago fell under Japanese control. After World War II the islands were under U.S. jurisdiction, but in the early 1970s, the Americans returned them to Tokyo. Beijing did not agree with this decision and officially declared the Diaoyu Islands are Chinese territory.
In the dispute over the archipelago in the East China Sea there is a third interested party – Taiwan. Beijing does not recognize the independence of the “Republic of China” and considers Taiwan its territory.