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Chinese daily warns of China, Japan `full confrontation'

Beijing, Sep 13, 2012 (IANS) 11:35 IST
Anti-Japanese demonstrators march during a protest over the disputed Diaoyu islands, known as Senkaku in Japan, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on September 12, 2012. China has dispatched two patrol ships to 'assert its sovereignty' over islands at the centre of a row with Japan, state media said on September 11, as Tokyo completed its purchase of the disputed territory. AFP
The conflict between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu islands "may grow into a full confrontation", said a state-run Chinese daily, adding that "Chinese patience has finally been worn out".

An article "Confrontation will be huge mistake for Japan" in the Op-Ed section of the Global Times observed that the Diaoyu dispute is escalating the confrontation between China and Japan.

"The Diaoyu issue is not a simple territorial dispute. If both let their emotions go unchecked, the conflict may grow into a full confrontation," it said. The daily, however, did not elaborate on what it meant by full confrontation.

"Tokyo has chosen the wrong opponent at the wrong time and the wrong place. Japan inflicted the deepest atrocities on China in its modern history, which was full of humiliation. If China were to pick a target country to wash out the old shame, Japan is the best choice," it added.

The daily said that the Diaoyu incident is "a new turning point in Sino-Japanese ties". "The Japanese may believe in their determination to secure control of the islands, but they have to understand that the Chinese can only be more firm in safeguarding their sovereignty over Diaoyu, because Japan owes too great a blood debt to the Chinese. Territorial compromises to Japan mean double the shame for Chinese," it said.

The article said if the two countries "become embroiled in an overall confrontation, Japan will have made the biggest mistake of the 21st century". "The balance of power between the two is no longer as it was in the last century. Confronting China can play up to the psychology of rightist forces in Japan, but it carries a danger that Japan cannot bear," it added.

The disputed islands in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by Taiwan, lie on a vital shipping route and are surrounded by large hydrocarbon deposits beneath them.

Japan says it has controlled the islands since 1895 until its surrender at the end of World War II. The islands were controlled by the US from 1945 to 1972 and subsequently returned to Japan's control. China claims the islands' discovery and control since the 14th century.

China and Taiwan started to lay claims on the islands in the 1970s when surveys showed the area was rich in hydrocarbons. Tensions flared between Tokyo and Beijing, after Japan last month arrested 14 Chinese nationals, including activists from Hong Kong, and deported them over a protest landing on Uotsuri, the largest of a group of disputed isles.

The Global Times said the time of Japan being the leading influence in Asia is over. "China is the most restrained among Japan's neighbours. All the conflicts between the two have been sparked by its neighbour. Japan seems to have the idea that China will maintain its restrained stance regardless of how Japan behaves," it said.

The article went on to say that Chinese "patience has finally been worn out by the Diaoyu issue, through which Japan's dirty foreign policies are fully reflected". "It makes us believe China's friendly attitude will not bring the same from Japan. Despite the great atrocities Japan inflicted on China, it has never shown regret for it, and is now rubbing salt in China's wounds," it added.

"The Diaoyu issue is not a simple territorial dispute. If both let their emotions go unchecked, the conflict may grow into a full confrontation. "China treasures peace. But we are gradually realizing among seemingly endless provocations from neighbouring countries that a firm response to the provocateur is also a must for securing a peaceful environment," said Global Times.

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