Japan envoy to China recalled following ongoing islands dispute
(18 July 2012)
Renewed tensions relating to disputed islands in the East China Sea have resulted in Japan recalling its ambassador to China this week. The Senakaku (Japan) or Diaoyu (China) islands are at the centre of this most recent diplomatic stand-off. The islands, controlled by Japan, are claimed also by China and Taiwan.
On 11 July it was reported that three Chinese fishery patrol boats had briefly entered into waters surrounding the disputed islands, which were asked to leave by a Japanese Coast Guard vessel. While China reported this as routine patrols, Japan lodged a complaint regarding the presence of the boats; this however was rejected by China. Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has further inflamed the dispute following recent plans for the central government to purchase three of the islands, currently owned by a Japanese citizen. A similar plan had also been raised by Tokyo’s governor in April 2012, drawing angered response from China.
Source: ‘Under diplomatic strain, Japan recalls envoy in dispute with China over islands’, Martin Fackler, New York Times, 15 July 2012; ‘China morning round-up: China-Japan islands dispute’, BBC News, 12 July 2012