中国の領海侵入 尖閣諸島への挑発は目に余る

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 14, 2012)
China making waves again with Senkaku Islands incursion
中国の領海侵入 尖閣諸島への挑発は目に余る(7月13日付・読売社説)

It is disturbing to see Chinese government vessels again intruding into Japanese territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

Japan must call on China through diplomatic channels to exercise self-restraint and at the same time establish systems to deal with China's provocations.

Three Chinese fishery patrol boats intruded into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands on Wednesday and Thursday. The patrol ships were purportedly protecting Chinese fishing rights. It is unusual to see such aggressive activity by them on consecutive days.

When a Japan Coast Guard patrol ship asked the Chinese boats to leave, they insisted they were conducting legitimate official duties. They also told the JCG not to obstruct them and to leave "Chinese territorial waters" immediately. Afterward, they lingered in areas surrounding the Japanese territorial waters.


China's claims baseless

The incursion was likely a response to the Japanese government's expression of intent to purchase three of the islands. The Chinese government apparently wished to demonstrate its strong determination.

Infringement of Japan's sovereignty cannot be overlooked. It was a matter of course that Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba lodged a protest against China when meeting his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in Phnom Penh.

As Yang insisted that the Senkaku Islands were inherently Chinese territory, the talks ended in a stalemate.

But it is important that Japan persevere in countering China's baseless claims and urging it to correct its behavior.

Chinese patrol vessels also entered Japanese territorial waters in March. China plans to increase the number of patrol vessels and beef up their capabilities. Its enhancement of its naval forces also has been noticeable. Growing tensions in waters off the Senkaku Islands appear inevitable.

Preparing for the contingency of illegal landings on the islands, the Japanese government needs to strengthen the JCG and the police, and establish necessary legislation in an urgent manner.


Stronger measures called for

We wonder why the Diet has yet to start deliberations on a bill to revise the Japan Coast Guard Law to allow JCG officers to respond to crimes on remote islands. The revision should be enacted as soon as possible.

The Japan-U.S. alliance plays the most important role in deterring China. The U.S. government's clear statement that the Senkaku Islands fall within targeted areas for Japan-U.S. joint defense is extremely important.

The Japanese government, for its part, intends to strengthen its defense capabilities for small island areas including the Nansei Islands. It is essential that concrete steps be taken.

Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also are concerned about China's maritime expansion.

At a foreign ministers meeting with China in Phnom Penh, ASEAN proposed talks be started among nations concerned to devise a legally binding "code of conduct" for the activities of concerned nations in the South China Sea.

But China has yet to agree. This is apparently because such a code of conduct, if established, could impose restrictions on Chinese acts.

To prevent more serious conflict from breaking out, effective rules on maritime affairs are indispensible. The Japanese and U.S. governments should cooperate with ASEAN member states to persuade China in this regard.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 13, 2012)
(2012年7月13日01時05分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-07-16 06:31 | 英字新聞

<< 中国GDP 景気失速を食い止め... 領海侵入―中国は冷静に振る舞え >>