China’s defence chief warns his US counterpart over American claim to a stake in the conflict
In a meeting with his US counterpart yesterday, Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie voiced “strong opposition” to Washington’s claim that disputed East China Sea islands fall under its security pact with Tokyo.
Liang also warned US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta – in China for the first time since assuming his post last year – that Beijing was ready to respond militarily to assert its sovereignty over the Diaoyus, which Japan controls and calls the Senkakus.
He called on Washington to “concretely” demonstrate it would not take sides in the spat over the five uninhabited islands, which sit near potential supplies of oil and natural gas.
“We reserve the right to take further action,” Liang said after the talks. “Of course, that being said, we still hope for a peaceful and negotiated solution.”
Tensions remained high yesterday, as Tokyo reported 10 Chinese surveillance ships and a fisheries patrol boat in waters near the islands. Two Japanese activists landed on one island amid fresh protests in Chinese cities to mark the anniversary of the 1931 Mukden Incident.
Thousands gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing. Heavier security was visible in some cities, such as Shenzhen, in what appeared to be a greater effort to keep a lid on protests.
Washington’s claim that the islands fall under its post-war defence treaty with Tokyo has irked Beijing.
“I want to make it clear that the Diaoyu Islands are China’s inherent territory, which is evidenced by history and law,” Liang said.
For his part, Panetta called for calm on both sides of the East China Sea. He said Washington wanted expanded ties with the PLA, and invited China to take part in the 2014 Rimpac international military exercise in Hawaii.
“The key is to have senior-level actions like we are engaging in, that reduce the potential for miscalculation, that foster greater understanding and that expand trust between our two countries,” Panetta said.
Panetta will next meet Vice-President Xi Jinping.
Teddy Ng in Beijing and Minnie Chan
Anniversary fuels China protests / 100 cities see anti-Japan rallies on date of Liutiaohu Incident
BEIJING (Jiji Press)–Anti-Japanese rallies erupted across China again on the 81st anniversary Tuesday of the Liutiaohu railway bombing incident that triggered the Manchurian Incident and led to Japan’s military operation in China before World War II.
Demonstrators took to the streets in more than 100 cities and regions across China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang and Suzhou, in protest against Japan’s purchase last week of three of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The islands are claimed by China.
Chinese authorities tightened security as anti-Japanese rallies were expected to peak on the anniversary of the 1931 incident after protests turned violent over the weekend.
The Chinese government issued an emergency notice Monday night instructing all civil servants not to join anti-Japanese demonstrations Tuesday, a government source said.
Many Japanese in China refrained from going out, while a number of Japanese companies suspended operations.
In front of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, where anti-Japanese rallies were held for the eighth straight day, three people who appeared to be Chinese activists were detained by police after they tried to launch a demonstration in defiance of police instructions.
The Chinese government deployed several thousand police officers, including armed ones, around the embassy. About 5,000 people joined a rally there and some threw plastic bottles at the embassy.
Before Tuesday’s rally began, six windows of the embassy building were found broken, apparently by demonstrators. The embassy asked the Chinese Foreign Ministry to tighten security. The Chinese side expressed regret over the incident.
About 5,000 people rallied in front of the Japanese Consulate General in Guangzhou, where a large number of armed police officers were deployed.
Representatives from the Shenyang municipal government and the military took part in a ceremony held at a museum built to mark the 1931 incident. “Never forget the national shame,” they said at the ceremony.
Thousands of citizens gathered near the ceremony site to protest against Japan’s purchase of the islands to bring them under state control. Many armed police officers were deployed.
Some protesters carried signs, such as one saying, “Protect our land,” and others shouted, “Beat Japan’s militarism.” “I burned a Japanese national flag,” one participant said after the ceremony.
Anti-Japanese demonstrations were held in more than 50 cities Saturday and 100 cities Sunday as protesters smashed Japanese cars, looted Japanese stores and attacked Japanese companies.
The city of Shanghai prohibited university students from going out Tuesday in a bid to prevent them from joining demonstrations.
(Sep. 19, 2012)