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Naval exercises routine, not warning to Japan

(Global Times)

09:45, July 12, 2012

Qu Xing (曲星)

PO: China has stuck to a policy of "setting aside disputes and pursuing joint development." But is it losing any claim to sovereignty on the ground?

Qu: The complete representation of China's position is "sovereignty is ours, setting aside disputes, and pursuing joint development." This position is of great significance. The significance of this policy is that China will issue declarations and lodge representations and protest when the Japanese side takes provocative acts around the Diaoyu Islands. The Chinese government took resolute measures to force the Japanese government to release the fishermen illegally detained last year, which demonstrates fully the position "sovereignty is ours."

In regards to "setting aside disputes," there were vast differences between China and Japan when diplomatic relations were about to establish. At that time, leaders from both sides decided to set aside the disputes. Because of this, the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Japan could be realized. Sino-Japanese relations have played a significant role in promoting China's modernization.

As to "pursuing joint development," China and Japan reached a consensus on joint development of the East China Sea continental shelf. However, the consensus has not been implemented because of the collision over the Diaoyu Islands.

But Japan should understand that joint development will benefit both countries. If Japan takes unilateral actions, China will exploit the resources alone.

So we can see that all three positions of "sovereignty is ours, setting aside disputes, pursuing joint development" are of substantive significance. They still play roles at present.

PO: Will Japan's actions around the Diaoyu Islands worsen the South China Sea disputes between China and relevant countries? Will it cause China's neighboring environment to deteriorate?

Qu: Japan is getting involved in the South China Sea affairs and wants to take synchronized action with the small countries of the South China Sea. This situation puts pressure on China and increases the difficulty when dealing with the South China Sea issue. Facing such a complex situation, China will staunchly defend national territorial sovereignty. China will take more actions than the countries concerned have done.

China has lost nothing in this round while countries that provoked China are forced to face the reality that China will be firm in defending its national sovereignty.

PO: Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou expressed his dissatisfaction over a flag mix-up when activists from Taiwan sailed to the Diaoyu Islands to "defend" the islands. How do you see the issue?

Qu: The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have many common points as to the stand on the Diaoyu Islands issue. That is, it's an undisputable fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China, no matter from the historical perspective or legal perspective.

Relations across the Straits should develop based on the 1992 Consensus and solving the Taiwan question should be in accordance with the interests of the whole of the Chinese people.

The divergences across the straits are totally different than those between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands. The former is a divergence between different political forces within one country, while the latter is a territorial dispute between two countries. They shouldn't be mixed up.

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