One week after violent Galwan Valley clash, Japan-China island dispute takes centre stage


NEW DELHI | JUNE 22, 2020:

One week after Chinese troops initiated a violent attack on Indian soldiers in Eastern Ladakh, Japan began the legal process of complete integration of an island chain that has been the longtime focus of a territorial dispute between Japan and China.

The Ishigaki city council in Okinawa prefecture approved a bill that strengthened Japan's control over the island group called Senkakus.

Though the Senkakus, which China calls the Diaoyus, have been administered by Japan since 1972, their legal status remained a dispute between the two countries until now.

Beijing had also warned Tokyo against any change in the status quo of the island chain before it passed the bill.

China claims the discovery and ownership of the islands from the 14th century, while Japan maintained ownership of the islands from 1895 until its surrender at the end of World War II.

China's Foreign Ministry stated that the islands are its 'inherent territories' and urged Japan to abide by the spirit of the four-principle consensus, avoid creating new incidents on the Diaoyu Islands issue, and to maintain the stability of the East China Sea situation.

However, the city council in Japan responded by stating that that the bill was necessary to improve the efficiency of administrative procedures.

Earlier, Japan's cabinet secretary had reiterated that the Senkakus are under Tokyo's control.

"It is extremely serious that these activities continue. We will respond to the Chinese side firmly and calmly," he said.