UNITED NATION (AFP) — Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda insisted yesterday that there could be no compromise with China on the ownership of a disputed island chain and denounced attacks on Japanese interests.
Speaking to reporters at the UN General Assembly in New York, Noda said China had misunderstood the issues at stake and demanded an end to attacks on Japanese citizens and business interests in China by nationalist protesters.
“So far as the Senkaku islands are concerned, they are an integral part of our territory in the light of history and of international law,” Noda said, referring to an archipelago in the East China Sea that China knows as Diaoyu.
“It is very clear and there are no territorial issues as such. Therefore there cannot be any compromise that could mean any setback from this basic position. I have to make that very clear,” he told reporters.
The dispute erupted this month in an angry war of words between Beijing and Tokyo after the Japanese government bought up the previously privately-held islands, but Noda insisted this move had been misinterpreted.
“Part of the Senkaku islands that was held by a private citizen was transferred to governmental possession in order to ensure the stable management of it,” he said, according to an official translation.
“It is not a new acquisition but it was held under the private ownership of a Japanese citizen and was a transfer of ownership within Japanese law,” he said, adding: “We have explained this to China at length.”
“But it seems that China has yet to understand that and because of that lack of understanding there has been an attack or acts of violence and destruction against Japanese citizens and property there,” he complained.
“And we have conveyed clearly that in any circumstances violence is not to be condoned, and we strongly demanded China accord protection to Japanese citizens and property there,” he added.
The attacks on Japanese factories and businesses have ostensibly been carried out spontaneously by patriotic crowds, but such protests are usually tightly policed in China, leading to suspicions of official collusion.