China’s flip-flops on Senkaku policy noted

China’s claims regarding its sovereignty over the disputed Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are all out of whack, says the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry says it’s beginning a program to point out the Chinese misstatements, starting with the fact that Beijing didn’t lodge any formal protests over sovereignty until the early 1970;s.  That’s “The Chinese side’s greatest contradiction”, a government spokesman says.

Foreign Ministry officials say China only began asserting claims on the Senkaku Islands in 1968, following surveys for the United Nations that suggested oil resources exist in the East China Sea.  Japan incorporated the Senkaku Islands as a part of Okinawa Prefecture in 1895, but China never made any protest until December 1971.  Adding to the point, Japan also will cite a 1953 article in China’s state-run People’s Daily titled “Battle of people in the Ryukyu Islands against the U.S. occupation,” in which it refers to the islands as Senkakus, rather than Diaoyu, the name China claims.  That article also notes that the Ryukyu Islands, now Okinawa Prefecture, consists of seven groups of islands, including the Senkaku Islands.

Already, the Foreign Ministry has posted the article on its website, adding it plans to raise points in summits and meetings with overseas government leaders and foreign ministers.

Beijing claims the islets have been part of Chinese territory since ancient times, and that Japan “stole them” in 1895 after winning the Sino-Japanese War.  It also claims the two sides had agreed to put aside the issue of sovereignty during negotiating on normalizing diplomatic relations in 1972.  Japan denies there ever was any such agreement made.