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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

US offer to mediate islands dispute is rejected by China

(2 November 2010)

China has rejected offers from the United States to mediate three-way negotiations with Japan concerning the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands located between Taiwan and the Japanese island of Okinawa in the East China Sea. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the offer in late October 2010 after meeting with the Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi at a summit in Vietnam. China's foreign ministry later released a statement rejecting the offer stating that this was strictly a bilateral issue. The statement also called on the US to back down from its position that security treaties with Japan apply to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Although extremely small and remote, the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands could generate a sizeable area of maritime jurisdiction in the East China Sea depending on the methodology of maritime boundary delimitation. The seas around the islands are popular fishing grounds and there could be offshore oil and gas deposits, although these have not yet been explored. In the most recent of numerous incidents around the islands, the Japanese coast guard detained a Chinese fishing vessel in September that attempted to ram pursuing patrol boats. The captain of the fishing vessel was released by Japanese officials several days later after a heated diplomatic exchange with China.

Source: 'China rejects US involvement in China-Japan island row' BBC News Asia-Pacific, 1 November 2010.