In a move that might be seen as another sign of potential aggression, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said that China is planning to map out territorial islands and reefs to protect their “maritime rights and interests.”
Of course a geographical survey would entail actually going to those islands and reefs, and a bunch of Chinese state officials landing on the uninhabited and contested islands of Senkaku/Diaoyu will definitely not go over well with Japan. We all know the story by now: China claims the islands (marked Diaoyu on their maps) are theirs for hundreds of years. Japan says Beijing only started to claim them in the 70s when natural resources were discovered in its surrounding waters. The Japanese bought some of the islands from a family that “owns” them in a bid to protect its territory. And so the conflict goes on and on, affecting ties between the two countries, and even Japanese brands in China have been boycotted and affected.
Zhang Huifeng, an official of the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, admits that there might be a bit of difficulty in mapping out those territories “because some countries have infringed and occupied these islands of China”. Chinese media have also reported that the armed forces are being prepared for “potential conflict”.
You can bet that during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state visits to Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, China’s territorial disputes with several Asian countries will be part of the agenda. Vietnam is another country that is currently embroiled in a dispute with China, together with the Philippines and Taiwan. But Japan is treading carefully on this matter, to avoid further deteriorating the situation and former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama is currently holding talks with senior government officials in Beijing.[ via The Telegraph ]