The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s archives might be in possession of a historical document that could very well prove Japan’s sovereignty over a group of islands disputed between the two countries, but the ministry has restricted access to the archives as of early this year.
The document of interest is a draft of a government paper written in 1950 that describes a group of islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China to be part of Japanese territory. Chinese researchers speculate that due to media reports that the document can be found in the archives of the Foreign Ministry, Beijing has decided to take a closer look at the documents in the archives. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said on Monday that the facility is upgrading its computer systems for technical reasons. The archives are still open but public access has been limited to 27 documents since January this year.
The archives were opened in 2004 to give the public access to government records ranging from when the People’s Republic of China was formed in 1949 until 1965. A supposed copy of the 1950 document shows that China considered the disputed islands as part of Ryukyu islands, what is now known as Okinawa, invalidating China’s position. China’s claim to sovereignty over the islands is based on the premise that the islands are historically part of Taiwan, which China has strongly been asserting as also part of its territory.