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Xinhua Insight: Chinese scholar refutes Japan's chicanery on Diaoyu Islands
Last Updated: 2016-05-14 13:24 | Xinhua
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A Chinese expert on Japan recently refuted claims by the Japanese side over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, saying the idea is self-deception that goes against history.

On April 15, Tokyo released its 2016 Diplomatic Bluebook which reiterated that the Diaoyu Islands are part of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law.

Japan frequently cites several documents as evidence that China did not consider the islands to be Chinese.

The first is a thank-you note purportedly sent in 1920 by Feng Mian, the Chinese consul in Nagasaki, to Japanese fishermen who rescued some Chinese who had been shipwrecked. The letter refers to the Diaoyu Islands as Japanese territory.

Liu Jiangyong, deputy director of the Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University, said the letter was written when the Diaoyu Islands were ceded to Japan along with Taiwan following the defeat in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895.

However, the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the foundation of Japan's occupation of the Diaoyu Islands and Taiwan, was abolished in 1945 when Japan surrendered at the end of WWII, Liu said in a May 4 article in "The People's Daily."

Japan also uses a world atlas published in 1958. The editions cited that mark the Diaoyu Islands as part of Okinawa clearly identified their sources as pre-WWII map archives of "The Shanghai News" and cannot be applied to postwar conditions.

Atlases published in the 1950s by the People's Republic of China's map authority, clearly exclude the Diaoyu Islands from the map of Japan, he said.

Japan also cites a map by the Chinese State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping in 1969 that labeled the islands with their Japanese name, "Senkaku".

Liu said Japan changed the name Diaoyu to Senkaku in 1900, but up to the 1970s many Japanese maps did not mark the islands as Japanese territory and used the Chinese name.

A Chinese diplomatic draft dated May 15, 1950 referring to the Diaoyu Islands by their Japanese name is also used by Japan as evidence.

Liu said that a draft on issues and arguments concerning territories in the peace treaty with Japan is just an unsigned draft for reference, and never represented any official opinion of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The drafter was clearly aware that the Diaoyu Islands, including Chiwei Islet, did not belong to the Ryukyu Islands, and suggested putting them under the jurisdiction of Taiwan after Japan's defeat, he said.

Between 1874 when Japan first invaded Taiwan and 1894 when the Sino-Japanese War began, all kinds of maps and literature drafted by the Naval Ministry of Japan, including one that lays out all the coastal provinces of the Qing court, identified Diaoyu Island, Huangwei Islet and Chiwei Islet as northeastern islands of Taiwan. Japan's Foreign Ministry and Army Ministry have confirmed the accuracy of those maps, said Liu in an interview with Xinhua on Friday.

In 1885, six years after Japan annexed Ryukyu as Okinawa Prefecture, then Home Minister Yamagata Aritomo secretly asked the prefecture to set up sovereignty marks on uninhabited islands. The governor of Okinawa and the Foreign Minister rejected this maneuver since the occupation of these islands could trigger a conflict with China.

"Of course, if they had actually believed Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands were unclaimed, they would have had no such qualms," said Liu.

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