The Hindu

Japan to rename islands disputed with China

Local council votes for the move

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A local council in southern Japan voted on Monday to rename an area, including islands disputed with China and Taiwan, a move Beijing denounced as illegal and a “serious provocatio­n”. The local assembly of Ishigaki city approved a plan to change the name of the area covering the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands — known by Taiwan and China as the Diaoyus — from “Tonoshiro” to “Tonoshiro Senkaku”. Local media said another part of Ishigaki is also known as Tonoshiro, and the name change was cast as a bid to avoid confusion.

But the uninhabite­d islands are at the centre of a festering row between Tokyo and Beijing and the move sparked anger in both Taiwan and mainland China. “The passing of the socalled administra­tion designatio­n bill by Japan is a serious provocatio­n to China’s territoria­l sovereignt­y,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

Taiwan says the islands are part of its territory, and also protested the move. “The sovereignt­y of Diaoyu islands belongs to our country and any move attempting to alter this fact is invalid,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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