Banging on about maps shows Japan weak

By Shan Renping Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-12 22:58:07

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

According to a recent report by Japanese media, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan plans to release a Chinese map that labels the Diaoyu Islands as part of Japanese territory. Japan attempts to use the map published in 1969 as the latest evidence to gain sympathy from the international community.

To be honest, Tokyo made a sly and cheap move. Even if Japan has found that map, it will not exert any international influence. China has found much earlier that a map with an error was drawn in the 1950s when China and Japan had yet to establish diplomatic relations and there was no communication between the two. The publisher of the map noted that it was made in accordance with one printed in the Shanghai News, which was under complete control of Japan during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

A great many maps published across the world include the Diaoyu Islands and most of them prove that they belong to China. And the islands do not appear on some maps made by Japan. If Tokyo tries to bolster its claim to the islands with a single map, it will be in vain as the map can only serve as an isolated proof while Beijing holds abundant evidence. Both historical evidence and contemporary legal claims have put Japan in a disadvantageous position.

Japan dare not engage in a face-to-face debate with China on the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands; instead, it prefers to forge a solitary system in its own defense and attempts to confuse international public opinion. It has been refusing to admit there is a dispute over the Diaoyu Islands but meanwhile has been arguing to the rest of the world that it owns the territory.

China and Japan agreed to set aside the issue of the disputed Diaoyu Islands when negotiating for the establishment of diplomatic ties in the 1970s. However, Japan violated its promise first and acted unilaterally, escalating the tensions further.

Now decades later, Japan should find out that it has failed to gain any extra advantage over the Diaoyu Islands. Its so-called unilateral "actual control" of the islands has been broken as Chinese marine surveillance ships continue to carry out regular patrols in the territorial waters there.

The current situation in which China and Japan interact is not what it used to be 70 years ago. The more disturbances Tokyo creates, the more countermeasures Beijing will adopt.

After Japan announced its decision to "nationalize" the uninhabited islands in 2012, China dispatched two patrol vessels to the waters off there to deal with the development of the situation. It is Tokyo's unscrupulousness that has led to huge changes in the situation, not in its favor.

Now that Japan wants to use a map as evidence to claim its ownership of the Diaoyu Islands, we should mobilize Chinese around the world to look for maps to see how the international community has drawn maps involving the Diaoyu Islands over past centuries and how Japan's territory has changed with its savage expansion and disastrous defeat.

Such maps not only prove jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands, but also sketch an image of Japan's history of aggression and decline.

Japan is obsessed with details, and likes talking up its stance over historical and territorial issues. However, it lacks foresight, so it is doomed to be a loser in the end. From the Meiji Restoration to WWII, Japan rose and expanded, but it forgot fundamental justice and the bottom line, ending up finally in failure.

After WWII, Japan initiated territorial disputes with neighboring countries including China, Russia and South Korea. Now it's banging on about a map to prove its territorial claim but the Chinese government may not even want to be bothered. It can be predicted that Tokyo may play more tricks, and the issue of the Diaoyu Islands will last for a long time. We only have to heave a sigh that we have such a trouble-making neighbor to tangle with.

The author is a commentator with the Global Times.

Posted in: Viewpoint

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