http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereport...sland_row.htmlChina's Premier Wen Jiabao enters Japan row
The latest round flared up earlier this month when the Japanese coast guard arrested a Chinese captain after what was little more than a fender bender on the high seas. Now China is flexing its muscles in return. The Chinese foreign minister refused to meet with his Japanese counterpart in the wings of the UN General Assembly, usually a convenient and neutral place to iron out differences.
The Chinese government has even called on local travel agencies to cancel trips to Japan. It is an indication of China's growing economic clout that this has even become a threat. Tourism from China to Japan has increased by 143% in the past year. According to the Wall Street Journal, one major Chinese healthcare company has decided to scrap plans to send 7,500 workers on their annual jolly to Japan.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has threatened "further action" against Japan unless it releases a Chinese sea captain, arrested in disputed waters.
China says it will not meet Japanese leaders at a UN summit in New York.
The Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday that a meeting between Mr Wen and his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan on the sidelines of the summit would be inappropriate.
"The atmosphere is obviously not suitable for such a meeting," a spokesman said.
Ties between China and Japan have been strained by a territorial row over a group of islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China
The eight uninhabited islands and rocks in question lie in the East China Sea. They have a total area of about 7 sq km and lie northeast of Taiwan, east of the Chinese mainland and southeast of Japan's southern-most prefecture, Okinawa.
They matter because they are close to strategically important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits.
What is Japan's claim?
Japan says it surveyed the islands for 10 years and determined that they were uninhabited. That being the case, on 14 January 1895 it erected a sovereignty marker that formally incorporated the islands into Japanese territory. The Senkaku islands became part of the Nansei Shoto islands - also known as the Ryukyu islands and now as modern-day Okinawa prefecture.
After World War II Japan renounced claims to a number of territories and islands including Taiwan in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco. But under the treaty the Nansei Shoto islands came under US trusteeship and were then returned to Japan in 1971, under the Okinawa reversion deal.
Japan says that China raised no objections to the San Francisco deal. And it says that it is only since the 1970s, when the issue of oil resources in the area emerged, that Chinese and Taiwanese authorities began pressing their claims.
What is China's claim?
China says that the Diaoyu islands have been part of its territory since ancient times, serving as important fishing grounds administered by the province of Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that this is "fully proven by history and is legally well-founded".
Taiwan was ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, after the Sino-Japanese war. When Taiwan was returned in the Treaty of San Francisco, China says the islands - as part of it - should also have been returned. But Beijing says Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek did not raise the issue, even when the Diaoyu islands were named in the later Okinawa reversion deal, because he depended on the US for support.
Separately, Taiwan also claims the islands.
This has the potential to become major conflict between China and Japan. There needs to be a diplomatic solution because if this escalates, it can involve a military showdown between the two nations, possibly getting the US involved.
BEIJING For the last several years, one big theme has dominated talk of the future of Asia: As China rises, its neighbors are being inevitably drawn into its orbit, currying favor with the regions new hegemonic power.
Washington is leaping into the middle of heated territorial disputes between China and Southeast Asian nations despite stern Chinese warnings that it mind its own business. The United States is carrying out naval exercises with South Korea in order to help Seoul rebuff threats from North Korea even though China is denouncing those exercises, saying that they intrude on areas where the Chinese military operates.
Meanwhile, Chinas increasingly tense standoff with Japan over a Chinese fishing trawler captured by Japanese ships in disputed waters is pushing Japan back under the American security umbrella.
Jul. 27 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clintons remarks on Friday regarding the longstanding South China Sea territorial dispute have garnered a strong rebuke from the powers that be in Beijing, who place the regions hundreds of islands within Chinas core interests alongside the likes of Taiwan and Tibet.
The islands of the South China Sea are seen as an integral part of Chinas expanding naval ambitions, but the territory is also believed to hold abundant oil and natural gas reserves beneath its shallow seafloor.
Speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Vietnam on Friday, Clinton called the dispute a leading diplomatic priority for the United States and voiced her countrys willingness to mediate a resolution in a well orchestrated move that appeared to have the backing of many Southeast Asian nations.
The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asias maritime commons and respect for international law in the South China Sea, Clinton said. She added that the United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various territorial disputes without coercion.