As if this situation needed any more tension, the state-run China National Radio website reports that there are plans to send a survey team to the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands as part of their plans to publish a new map. The intention to step on the islands will surely further exacerbate already heated relations between the two countries over the Japanese-controlled territory that is being claimed by both China and Taipei.
The website reports that Li Pengde, deputy head of the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, said that they will send a survey team at an “appropriate time” and if their safety can be guaranteed. He said that aerial images are inadequate for properly mapping out the area. The plans to publish a new map were first announced by China in January, and it planned to include not just the Senkakus but other disputed areas in the East and South China Seas as well. A mapping administration official however said there were some difficulties landing on certain islands, alluding to Japan’s “occupation” of Diaoyu, without necessarily naming the country or island.
Japan’s Coast Guard zealously guards the islands, forbidding anyone, including Japanese nationals, from landing there to plant flags or otherwise. But the waters around the area are seemingly fair game as both Chinese and Japanese marine vessels have played cat and mouse in the past few months. Japan even accused China of locking its weapons radar on one of its ships. China vehemently denied the claims and accused them of trying to ratchet up the tension with slander.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry cautioned China to “exercise restraint” and claimed that China does not need to conduct a land survey because “the islands are undoubtedly Japanese territory.”[ via Rappler ]