Chinese fishery administration ships approach the disputed islands in July. (Photo/Xinhua)
After two PLA Navy frigates entered waters 80 nautical miles from the disputed Diaoyutai (Diaoyu or Senkaku) islands in the East China Sea on Sept. 19, Beijing and Tokyo may reach a compromise to prevent their sovereignty dispute over the islands escalating into full-scale war, according to Duowei News, an outlet operated by overseas Chinese.
From now on, the mission of Japanese coast guard vessels around the islands will no longer be to confront Chinese ocean surveillance or fishery administration ships but rather to prevent Chinese activists from landing on the disputed territory. This suggests Japan will adopt a more defensive position while China has successfully consolidated its influence in the zone surrounding the islands.
When 12 Chinese ships entered the disputed waters on Sept. 18, nine Japanese coast guard vessels and three P-3C surveillance aircraft did nothing to stop them but simply demanded by radio that they turn back. In the past, Japanese vessels have rammed Chinese ships when they entered waters 12 nautical miles from the islands. When Chinese fishery administration ships entered the area in July, the Japanese government summoned the Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua to lodge a complaint just four hours after the incident.
Duowei's commentary said the Japanese government made the wrong move when it decided to nationalize three of the disputed islands on Sept. 11 in the belief that anti-Japanese sentiment among the Chinese public would quickly fade away. Duowei said the Chinese government has gained more politically from the dispute even if the islands remain under Japan's administrative control. Yet before handing over power to Xi Jinping at the Communist Party's upcoming 18th National Congress, President Hu Jintao must take a tougher line on Japan to protect his own reputation and legacy, Duowei said.
The islands are also claimed by Taiwan, which refers to them as the Diaoyutai.
Xi Jinping 習近平
Hu Jintao 胡錦濤