Both countries currently have similar territorial headaches courtesy of China. While Japan is at a standoff with China over the Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu as the Chinese would have it, the Philippines is desperately trying to keep its Scarborough Shoal, or Huangyan Island as the Chinese would prefer. It would seem that both Japan and the Philippines are trying unconventional ways to deal with the country.
According to the Associate Press, Japan has sent an envoy to China who is not a member of its government. Natsuo Yamaguchi delivered a letter from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Chinese would-be leader Xi Jinping. According to sources, the move was described as a sort of “quiet diplomacy” that would provide for “a franker exchange of views that official talks might.” Chinese media was said to have welcomed Yamaguchi, a sign that it is willing to lessen its verbal attacks on Japan.
In Southeast Asia, meanwhile, the Philippines is taking its battle internationally by making a case of the dispute under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. According to Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, they have already “exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime disputes with China.” The Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, however, responded simply by making a statement laying claim over all the islands and the adjacent waters of what it calls the South China Sea.[via Yahoo]