Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Japan threatens China over disputed islands landings

© AFP

Video by Solange MOUGIN

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-04-23

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed on Tuesday to "expel by force" any attempt by China to land on a disputed island chain after eight state-owned Chinese ships sailed into the territorial waters surrounding the archipelago.

Japan's prime minister Tuesday vowed to "expel by force" any Chinese landing on islands at the centre of a territorial row, after eight government vessels from China sailed into the disputed waters.

The latest clash over the islands came as 168 Japanese lawmakers visited the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in central Tokyo, seen as a potent symbol of Japan's imperialist past, riling its neighbours China and South Korea.

Tokyo summoned the Chinese ambassador to Japan on Tuesday after the eight state-owned Chinese ships sailed into its territorial waters. The flotilla is the biggest to sail into the disputed waters in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago in September.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to "expel by force" any Chinese landing on the archipelago in the East China Sea.

"We would take decisive action against any attempt to enter territorial waters and to land" on the islands, Shinzo Abe told parliament in response to questions from lawmakers, adding: "We would never allow" a landing.

"It would be natural for us to expel by force if (the Chinese) were to make a landing," he said.

Chinese ships have frequently sailed around the five Tokyo-controlled islands in recent months sparking diplomatic clashes.

The Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the islands, which China calls Diaoyu and Japan calls the Senkaku, around 8:00 am (2300 GMT Monday), the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.

"It is extremely deplorable and unacceptable that Chinese government ships are repeatedly entering Japanese territorial waters," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Map of the disputed islands in the East China Sea

A group of Japanese nationalists said it had sent nine ships to the area around the islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan.

The islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are believed to harbour vast natural resources below the seabed.

In a separate territorial row, relations between Tokyo and South Korea have also been strained by a dispute over a Seoul-controlled chain of islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Seoul on Monday shelved a proposed trip by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se to Tokyo in protest at the trips made over the weekend by Japanese cabinet ministers to the Yasukuni war shrine.

Beijing also protested Monday about the weekend visits to the shrine, which is seen by Japan's Asian neighbours as a symbol of its wartime aggression as it honours 2.5 million war dead, including 14 leading war criminals.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that Japan must atone for its past behaviour.

"Only by facing up to and repenting for its history of aggression can Japan create the future, and truly develop friendly and cooperative relations with its neighbours," Hua said.

But the protests did not deter more legislators visiting Yasukuni on Tuesday.

Upper house member of parliament Toshiei Mizuochi confirmed that 168 Japanese lawmakers visited the shrine on Tuesday morning -- the annual visit usually draws a far smaller number of legislators.

Suga, who is the Japanese government's top spokesman, brushed off anger over the shrine visits, saying on Tuesday it was a personal matter for lawmakers.

"A visit to the Yasukuni is the matter of beliefs, and Japan ensures freedom of faith," he said.

"Therefore, the government should not interfere with visits if they are made by cabinet members or by parliament members."

Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Keiji Furuya, the chief of the National Public Safety Commission, separately visited the Yasukuni shrine on Sunday.

Internal Affairs Minister Yoshitaka Shindo also visited at the weekend.

Japan's premier did not make a pilgrimage but paid for equipment made of wood and fabric, bearing his name and title, which was used to decorate an altar.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-04-23

  • JAPAN - CHINA

    Japan to buy disputed Senkaku islands

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    Patriot missiles installed in Tokyo on N. Korea threat

    Read more

  • Japan

    Japan honours tsunami victims two years on

    Read more

COMMENT(S)