(AsiaNews/Agencies) - China yesterday called on the United States to stop
"stoking tension" over the disputed Diaoyu Islands as the US and
Japan began a month-long military drill. For Beijing, the war games were
designed with China in mind. Although Japanese and US officials have insisted the
drill is routine, for China they are aimed at containing the mainland.
The sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, known
in Japan as the Senkaku, has been dragging on for years. In the past few
months, provocations and tensions have increased.
At present, the five Islands and three atolls are
under Japanese control, part of Okinawa Prefecture. However, China continues to
claim sovereignty. The issue pitting Asia's two biggest economic powers has
alternated between hot and cold over the years.
is unclear how valuable the Islands are. Some believe it is essentially strategic
since they are located on one of the most important maritime routes. Others say
the waters around the island are rich fishing grounds and that the seabed contains
huge gas reserves.
In 2008, in a moment of détente, the two governments
signed an agreement to develop the islands' resources jointly. So far, nothing
has come of it.
official Xinhua news agency said in a
commentary yesterday that the drill in the western Pacific served no purpose. What
is more, it risked aggravating Sino-Japanese relations and jeopardising future
efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of territorial disputes.
move also gives the lie to Washington's alleged neutral stance towards
China-Japan disputes and gives birth to more suspicion over the true intentions
of the United States in the Asia-Pacific," the commentary said.