Beijing launches In­ter­net claim to Diaoyu­tais in dis­pute with Tokyo

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Beijing on Tues­day launched a web­site for an un­in­hab­ited is­land chain in the East China Sea, in its lat­est bid to as­sert sovereignty over an ar­chi­pel­ago con­trolled by Ja­pan.

The new web­site, www.diaoyu­dao.org.cn, was un­veiled by China's Na­tional Marine Data and In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice.

It came as a trio of Chi­nese coast­guard ves­sels made their lat­est pa­trol of the wa­ters sur­round­ing the ar­chi­pel­ago, ac­cord­ing to a no­tice posted on the web­site of the State Oceanic Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Fea­tur­ing a Chi­nese flag on its front page, the new web­site dis­plays le­gal doc­u­ments, maps and a time­line dat­ing back to 1403, the year Beijing claims the is­lands' Man­darin name first ap­peared in writ­ings.

The doc­u­ments on the web­site "pro­vide strong ev­i­dence, from both a his­tor­i­cal and le­gal per­spec­tive, that the Diaoyu Is­lands are China's in­her­ent ter­ri­tory since an­cient times," the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency wrote.

It added that the site, which is cur­rently avail­able only in Chi­nese, will soon be launched in at least seven other lan­guages, in­clud­ing Ja­panese.

Beijing and Tokyo have been en­gaged in a bit­ter and long­stand­ing bat­tle over own­er­ship of the is­land chain, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Ja­pan.

The dis­pute was ex­ac­er­bated when Ja­pan na­tion­al­ized some of the ar­chi­pel­ago nearly two years ago, and the sea and air around the con­tested isles have seen in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous stand­offs since then.

Tokyo sought to fur­ther its claim to the ter­ri­tory in Au­gust by nam­ing five of the is­lands, an act de­cried by Beijing as "il­le­gal and in­valid."

In Novem­ber, a meet­ing be­tween Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe raised hopes of a de­tente.

But two weeks later, Chi­nese ships re­turned to the ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters around the is­lands in their first pa­trol since the sum­mit, with both sides warn­ing the other to leave the area.

Ja­pan's for­eign min­istry web­site al­ready has a sec­tion on the is­lands, avail­able in 12 lan­guages.

"There is no doubt that the Senkaku Is­lands are clearly an in­her­ent part of the ter­ri­tory of Ja­pan, in light of his­tor­i­cal facts and based upon in­ter­na­tional law," it says.

The dis­puted ar­chi­pel­ago is not the only un­in­hab­ited ter­ri­tory to have a pres­ence on the world­wide web.

Oth­ers in­clude Rock­all, the 25-me­ter-wide (80-foot-wide) re­mains of an eroded vol­cano nearly 500 kilo­me­ters ( 300 miles) off the coast of Scot­land, and Surt­sey, one of the world's new­est is­lands, which be­longs to Ice­land and was formed by a se­ries of vol­canic erup­tions in the 1960s.

Norway's Bou­vet Is­land, deep in the South At­lantic Ocean, has an en­tire top level do­main de­voted to it, .bv, but no web­sites cur­rently use it.

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