Huanqiu / China News Service: Japanese Ambassador’s Trip to Tokyo reflects Greater Japanese Awareness of China’s Position on Senkaku Islands

NHK Radio Japan reports that

Japan’s ambassador to China has left Beijing for a brief return to Tokyo. The diplomat will report on China’s recent actions concerning the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Ambassador Uichiro Niwa left the Chinese capital on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told reporters in Vietnam on Saturday that he wants to discuss with Niwa in person recent developments in China.

China has sharply reacted to the Japanese government’s plan to nationalize some of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

The foreign ministers of Japan and China met in Cambodia, but failed to narrow differences on the issue.

Niwa told reporters at Beijing airport that his briefing will also include the recent intrusion of Chinese patrol ships into Japanese territorial waters. He added that no schedule has been set for his return to Beijing.

The Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily warned of the possibility that the territorial issue could get out of control.

China’s state media last night broke the news of Niwa’s departure, highlighting its keen interest in the issue.

Jul. 15, 2012 – Updated 02:15 UTC (11:15 JST)

235 Huanqiu Shibao readers are angry now

235 Huanqiu Shibao readers are now angry now feel that this article is ridiculous – compare with results a few minutes earlier (last para of this post)

Niwa had warned in an interview with the Financial Times in June that plans by the Tokyo municipal government to buy the Senkaku islands from their private Japanese owner could spark an “extremely grave crisis” between Japan and China. The Japanese government distanced itself from Niwa’s statement, referring to it as the ambassador’s personal opinions.

The New York Times takes stock of Japan’s more general diplomatic status, and adds the issue of sex slaves to the picture. Not only South Korea, but the U.S., too, objected to Japanese euphemisms, and disagreements over history and territory continued to isolate Japan from the rest of Asia. One of Niwa’s colleagues, Japan’s ambassador to America, had only added to tensions by trying to have a monument to the sex slaves removed from a public park in New Jersey.

Huanqiu Shibao republishes an article from China’s second-largest newsagency, China News Service (中国新闻网 / 中国新闻社), which draws a rather optimistic picture of Niwa’s trip to Tokyo.

According to reports, Japanese ambassador Uichiro Niwa left Beijing on Sunday morning. Experts*) believe that Japan’s main objective is to gather information on the latest Chinese developments concerning the Diaoyutai [Senkaku] Islands, and that Japan begins to attach importance to China’s reactions.

另据报道,15日上午,日本驻华大使丹羽宇一郎已乘机离开北京飞往东京。专家称,日本此举主要是为搜集了解中国在钓鱼岛问题的最新动态,也表明日本开始重视中方的反应。

Huanqiu also refers to Niwa’s Financial-Times interview in June:

Uichiro Niwa said at the airport on Sunday that he was going to Tokyo to report on the latest trends in Sino-Japanese relations. When asked when he would return to Beijing, he said that this hadn’t yet been decided.

丹羽宇一郎15日在机场说,他将前往东京对日中关系最近的形势做报告。当被问及何时返京的问题时,他表示还没有决定。

Last month, in an interview with the British “Financial Times”, Niwa said that Japan’s [planned] nationalization of the Diaoyu Islands would “damage Sino-Japanese relations”, which led to domestic criticism. Japan’s foreign minister issued a warning to Niwa, and Niwa made a public apology.

上月,丹羽在接受英国《金融时报》采访时曾表示,“日本将钓鱼岛国有化对中日关系有损害”,引起日本国内政界的批评。日本外务省对他提出警告,丹羽宇一郎也进行了公开道歉。

According to Foreign Affairs University professor Zhou Yongsheng’s analysis, this time’s summoning of the ambassador back to Beijing isn’t punitive, and won’t result in replacing him, but is meant to gain first-hand information about China’s attitude concerning the Diaoyu Islands. [Japanese foreign minister] Gemba also stated clearly that he would let Niwa travel back to Beijing as soon as the reporting on the situation in China was completed.

外交学院教授周永生分析,此次日本暂召驻华大使回国,并非“兴师问罪”,也不会更换大使,主要还是想从他那了解中国在钓鱼岛问题上态度的第一手消息。玄叶也明确表示,汇报完中国情况后就迅速让丹羽返回北京。

“Japan’s summoning of its ambassador shows the sensitive side of Japan’s policies on China. The Japanese government has become aware of the trend of ever-stronger Chinese reactions concerning the Diaoyu Islands, and the need to attach importance to Chinese reactions and trends.” Professor Zhou believes that the Japanese step could spel a new trend in Japan’s policies on the Diaoyu Islands, from the previous insensitive isolated actions to a beginning attention to Chinese trends and reactions.

“日本在此时召大使大国,说明了日本对华政策敏感的一面。日本政府察觉到中方在钓鱼岛问题上出现强烈反应的苗头,不得不重视中国的反应和动向。”周永生表示,此举可能意味着日本在钓鱼岛问题上的一种新动向,即从此前的盲目一意孤行到开始重视中方动态和反应。

[…]

Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi reiterated China’s principled position concerning the Diaoyu Islands, during a meeting with Gemba on July 11, and urged the Japanese side to conscientiously abide by the consensus and understanding the two sides had achieved so far, to return to the correct path of managing and controlling the differences by dialog and consultations, and to protect the overall picture of relations between the two countries by conscientious actions.

中国外长杨洁篪11日在与玄叶光一郎举行会晤时,重申了中方在钓鱼岛问题上的原则立场,敦促日方切实信守双边迄今达成的有关共识和谅解,回到与中方通过对话协商管控分歧的正确道路上来,以切实行动维护两国关系大局。

Facing the recent provocative Japanese moves, China expressed its firm position on many occasions, emphasized that the Diaoyu Islands and pertaining islands had been inherent Chinese territory since ancient times, and that China had an indisputable historic and legal basis [for this]. China’s sacred territory would never be allowed to be taken away by anyone to be bought or sold. China’s government would continue to take all measures necessary to protect its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and pertaining islands.

针对日方近期的一系列挑衅举动,中国多次表明坚定立场,强调钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿自古以来就是中国的固有领土,中方对此拥有无可争辩的历史和法理依据。中国的神圣领土决不允许任何人拿来买卖。中国政府将继续采取必要措施坚决维护对钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿的主权。

[…]

Experts say that in this year of the 40th anniversary of normalizations of relations with Japan, China had always made efforts to improving the two countries’ relations, but Japan, despite Chinese opposition, had made frequent moves on the purchasing [nationalization] issue and created “serious damage” to Sino-Japanese relations.

专家称,今年恰逢中日邦交正常化40周年之际,中国始终致力于持续改善两国关系,然而日方却不顾中方反对,在购买钓鱼岛问题上动作频频,对中日关系造成“严重伤害”。

Huanqiu quotes Zhou as saying that the Japanese government had made a “big fuss” (wrote an essay, 做文章) of foreign issues, and particularly the Senkaku Islands issue.

He [Zhou] also said that there are now three likely scenarios of how Japan will handle the existing problems with the Diaoyu Islands. One is that they will hear from their ambassador to China that China will take strong countermeasures against the “nationalization” of the islands, and that there will be big impacts on Sino-Japanese relations. The Japanese government may therefore delay its “nationalization” strategy. The second possibility is that, a weak Noda government, under pressure from the domestic right-wing forces, will continue “nationalization”. The third possibility would be that the Japanese government completely abandons said plan, but that likelihood is extremely small.

他还说,未来日方在处理钓鱼岛问题上存在三种可能性。第一种是日本政府从驻华大使那里了解到中方可能会对钓鱼岛“国有化”采取的强烈反制措施,以及对中日关系带来的重大冲击,从而拖延其“国有化”策略。第二种可能是,在国内右派的持续施压下,软弱的野田政府强行推行钓鱼岛“国有化”。最后一种可能是日本政府完全放弃该计划,但这种可能性极小。

On many occasions, Huanqiu Shibao is fond of stirring shit, i. e. publishing rather mortified or combative articles. This article’s goal appears to be to educate the paper’s comparatively nationalist and angry readership into a direction of patience and perseverance – as shown by the Chinese government in its – ulimately fruitful – dealings with Japan. Probably to make sure that the lesson won’t get spoiled by reactions from the readership who demand “tougher action”, the article comes without a commenting thread.

There is, however, a menu of expressions readers may choose from – which was apparently done by 283 readers at the time of this translation. 162 of them find the news “ridiculous”, 78 are “angered”, and 19 are “bored”.
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Note

*) The article refers to Zhou Yongsheng throughout, and “expert”, rather than “experts”, may therefore be the more accurate translation.

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Related

» Naval Exercises, Little Tricks, July 12, 2012
» A Nefarious Turn, September 25, 2012

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Updates/Related

» China’s Brinkmanship, The Diplomat (JM Cole), July 13, 2012

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