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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Remarks on Japanese Leader's Comments on the Diaoyu Islands

2012/08/27

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the press on August 24 that the Diaoyu Islands were Japan's inherent territory. The Meiji government integrated them into Japan's territory in 1895 when it found there were no signs of rule by the Qing Dynasty of China at that time. There is no doubt about the sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. China didn't claim sovereignty over the islands until the 1970s when it was discovered that there might be oil reserves in the East China Sea. How does China respond?

A: We express strong dissatisfaction at the Japanese Leader's public remarks undermining China's territorial sovereignty.

The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times and were first discovered, named and used by the Chinese. Voyage With a Tail Wind, a book published in the first year of the reign of the Yongle Emperor during the Ming Dynasty (1403) and one of the earliest historical records of the Diaoyu Islands, referred to todays' Diaoyu Island and Chiweiyu Islet as the "Diaoyu Islet" and "Chikan Islet". Book on Managing the Sea, a book compiled by Zhejiang Governor Hu Zongxian of the Ming Dynasty, marked coastal islands under the jurisdiction of the Ming Dynasty's coastal defense including the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands. It demonstrates that these islands have been under the jurisdiction of China's coastal defense at least since the Ming Dynasty. Japan didn't claim sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands until the Sino-Japanese war in 1895, and it stole these islands through illegal means. It is obvious that the claim that the Diaoyu Islands are Japan's inherent territory is totally untenable.

The Cairo Declaration provides that all Chinese territory illegally taken by Japan, including the Northeast, Taiwan and Penghu Islands, must be returned to China. The Potsdam Proclamation provides that "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out". Japan announced unconditional surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation in August 1945, which means that Japan must return Taiwan and its affiliated islands, including the Diaoyu Islands, to China.

On September 18, 1951, then Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai made a solemn statement on behalf of the Chinese Government that the San Francisco Treaty of Peace with Japan was illegal, invalid and absolutely unacceptable without the participation, drafting and signing of the People's Republic of China. In June 1971, Japan and the US made secrete dealings over China's territory by signing the Okinawa Reversion Agreeement which included the Diaoyu Islands and other islands into the "territory for reversion". In response, the Foreign Ministry of China issued a statement on December 30, 1971, pointing out that the move was entirely illegal and reiterating that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are an integral part of the Chinese territory.

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