Ishigaki City Council in Okinawa prefecture of Japan approved the law that changed the administrative status of the uninhabited island group known as Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China.
According to the report of NHK News of Japan, in the draft, the names of the islands were changed from “Tonoshiro” to Tonoshiro Senkaku for administrative purposes.
The islands 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo have been ruled by Japan since 1972, but both Tokyo and Beijing say their claims to the group date back hundreds of years.
Beijing Foreign Ministry said it will hold a strong protest with Tokyo on Monday.
“The island of Diaoyu and its islands are the natural lands of China, China is committed to maintaining our sovereignty,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
At the same time, the Chinese Coast Guard said a “fleet” of their ships was in the waters around the controversial islands on Monday.
China warned against any change in the status quo on the islands before voting Monday.
“We want Japan to comply with the spirit of the four principles of compromise, avoid creating new events on the Diaoyu Islands, and take practical steps to maintain the stability of the East China Sea situation,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Said Friday.
One of these four principles was Japan’s acceptance that sovereignty over the islands is controversial.
However, the bill, adopted in Ishigaki on Monday, eliminated concerns about how the movement could be perceived in Beijing.
“The approval of this case did not take into account the effects of other countries, but was thought to increase the effectiveness of administrative procedures,” the Council said. Said.
Earlier, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that the bill “claimed that the islands are part of the Japanese territory”.
A language listed in Beijing.
“Changing the administrative appointment now can make the dispute more complicated and increase the risk of crisis,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the University of China, told the Global Times. Said.
Last week, a potential fear of conflict increased, as the Japanese coast guard official announced that Chinese government ships have been seen in waters close to the Senakaku / Diaoyu Islands every day since mid-April and set a new record for the number of consecutive days. .
On Monday, these landscapes had reached 70 consecutive days, while the Japanese coast guard said the four Chinese ships were in the area while the vote took place in Okinawa.
In response to China’s growing presence, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga reconsidered Tokyo’s decision at a press conference last Wednesday.
“The Senkaku Islands are under our control and undisputably our territory historically and under international law. The continuity of these activities is extremely serious. We will answer the Chinese side tightly and calmly.” Said.
Violent protests in China
Before the Monday elections, the latest “crisis” on the islands occurred in 2012.
That year, Japan expropriated the privately owned islands to make a planned sale to Tokyo’s then governor, a tough nationalist who hoped to develop the islands.
The protesters wrecked at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, searched for Japanese shops and restaurants, and the demonstrations got worse as it knocked over Japanese cars.
In a precise example of how the islands get involved in Chinese consciousness, a Chinese man was beaten into a coma by other citizens just because he used a Toyota Corolla.
What complicates any dispute over the islands is that if the military would rise to the point of conflict, the US had to defend them as part of Japanese territory under a bilateral defense agreement with Tokyo.
William Choong, a senior member of the ISEAS-Yusof Isaac Institute, in Singapore, recently warned that Senkakus / Diaoyu might be a stronger force than other controversial areas in East Asia.
“The question is that China, which is the target of the full court press of America, does not ask if China wants to challenge Japan on the islands. When and how? The question is what keeps Japanese (and American) policymakers awake at night,” Choong wrote.