September 11th, 2012
01:19 PM GMT
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Japan (CNN) - They are called Senkaku by Japan, and Diaoyu by China, and these East China Sea islands are the topic of an increasingly bitter dispute between the two countries.

Both Japan and China claim the uninhabited islands, which lie between Taiwan and Okinawa and are rich in natural resources.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told CNN’s Paula Hancocks a deal is almost done to buy them from the Japanese family who owns them, and to nationalize them. The deal is reportedly worth $26 million.

“The purpose of acquiring these islands is to maintain them in a peaceful and stable manner," Noda said.

"So we would like to explain this stance to the Chinese side. Of course the Chinese side might have their own assertions, but we have a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests and we need to deepen those relations."

China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday called any unilateral moves by Japan “illegal and invalid”.

Hong Kong activists added fuel to the fire with an unauthorised visit recently, followed by Japanese politicians who also landed on the island without permission to make a political point.

Head north to the sea between Japan and South Korea and another cluster of rocky islands is souring diplomatic relations. Tokyo calls them Takeshima, Seoul calls them Dokdo.

A decades long dispute brought into recent focus by President Lee Myung-bak when he became the first South Korean president to ever visit the islands. Photographed standing next to a Korean flag, the claim of ownership could not have been clearer.

Mr Lee also said that Japan’s emperor must apologise for the country’s past colonisation of Korea if he ever wants to visit.

Mr Noda said that offended the Japanese people and it is Mr Lee who must apologise.

South Korea’s president declined CNN’s requests for interview, but both countries insist their claims of sovereignty go back for centuries.

These disputes are not just about land but what is around the land. The waters are rich fishing grounds and there is a potential for untapped gas reserves, which means these disputes go far beyond any national pride.

Filed under: AsiaBusinessGlobal Exchange

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Sophist

    For christ's sake, they're all just barren, isolated strips of land floating on the seas. Why care in the first place? It makes me angry because countries are preparing to go to war in order to defend those useless isles.

    September 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  2. Realist

    This has been going on for years though (check your bible) "War over land"

    September 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  3. Guo

    its about Chinese territory, not only some useless isles.

    September 12, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  4. leiyonghui137

    Diaoyu island is belong to China,it belong to Yilan Taiwan of China

    September 12, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  5. Drinking Coca cola.

    China knows they are wrong but they need a nationalist drama to keep people supressed.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:05 am |
  6. Drinking Coca cola.

    By the way, these Chinese commenters need to get the **** out, this isn't Xinhua and we don't care what you think. We are here to discuss how to sabotage your piece of crap country. Not whether you are right and we are wrong. So get out of the conversation.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  7. Athlan

    Chinese people say these islands are theirs, but they rarely provide evidence–they just say "historically so." But the Chinese government considered that these islands belong to Ryukyu or Okinawa several decades ago, didn't it? Why did it change its mind?

    September 12, 2012 at 3:09 am |
  8. Re Athlan

    Chinese rarely provide evidence? That is funny, you don't know the history doesn't mean there is not evidence.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:26 am |
  9. Athlan

    I am sorry, I cannot understand you, and it is not funny at all.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:33 am |
  10. xiahouwuji

    钓鱼岛是中国的,老美别插手,否则后果自负。Diao yu islands is belong to China ,Americans do not intervene,or Peril

    September 12, 2012 at 3:50 am |
  11. 胡阿龙


    September 12, 2012 at 5:22 am |
  12. Damon jun

    Those who said Chinese should be out of this conversation should think about your country clearly. If we talk about your country on XinHua, can any of you get there to defend? We are here because we care about our country, do you? No, you don't care about your country, just care about how to calumniate other country. If we don't have evidence, can you provide as you calumniate first?

    September 12, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  13. Jimmy

    The story is A took B's car; A gave the car to C; Then, C sold it back to A. At last, A owned the car.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  14. Ekong


    September 12, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  15. yarlong

    Please, our fellowchinese, cursing and yelling do not solve any problems but only force people to think the truth is holding in the opponent's side

    September 12, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  16. yarlong

    Putin is right: if you are not ready for a war, don't pick up a weapon!

    September 12, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  17. steven

    شاهد بالفيديو عروسة البحر مش خيال بجد

    September 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  18. Pandaria

    how ignorant you are as you say diaoyu is useless...
    even the us gov takes it as part of their first island chain to block chinese from entering the pacific ocean, so the us gov actually has been helping jp commit such shameless crime in many ways since 1960.
    chinese gov has never stated that diaoyu island belongs to Ryukyu. and Ryukyu was an independent state in history (also not belonging to jp). Ryukyu and diaoyu are two different islets placed on different continental shelves. as early in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), diaoyu island had been included into chinese territory.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  19. dark matter


    September 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  20. Pandaria

    exactly as what jimmy had described, J robbed a car and sold it to K(urihara) and then purchased the car back from K, and finally owned the car.
    what a ridiculous farce!

    September 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  21. Gina

    The land is not barren, people. It has natural resource such as OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  22. Taiwan's bee


    September 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  23. D.I.E Ignorance!

    @ dark matter
    @ Drinking Coca cola.

    Your ignorance and prejudice of the world around you, especially at China/ Chinese people will have retributions. Karma will find you and we'll see who's left standing. =P

    September 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  24. Water lily


    September 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  25. Water lily


    September 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  26. Grace

    For those don't know the history, you should hold your voice. It is not you to decide which country this island belongs to. This is about sovereignties. And Americans don't have a word in it.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  27. Eason

    JP occupied this island from china from beginning of 20th to the end of 2rd world war. it was under trusteeship of US gov until 1970's, US gov gave the island to Jan without agreement of china because US and China were enemy to each other. ‘Potsdam Declaration’ in 2rd world war states all lands occupied by Axis are invalid and must be returned. If you google map this island, you will find it is far away from Jan and too closed to Taiwan and Chinese mainland. If Jan takes the island plus the 12 admiralty mile towards China, there will be offshore of china. How do you think if this happened in American? I don't believe Americans agree another country to do that on themselves.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  28. Trista

    If two countries have war, the final winner will be American, they will sell many many weapons to JP and earn lot of money. American will create many job opportunities, manufacturing will move from china back to US, US Dollars will be more valuable, US gov can print more USD as well.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  29. Perry LV

    If anyone constantly pee at your house gate, for good is to cut its stuff out

    September 13, 2012 at 5:09 am |
  30. simon

    Being a Chinee, I would, at first, support peaceful resolution if JP choose not to claim it as their territory. Though if JP does not take their claim back, there is no other way but fight for our own benefit with the Chinese around the world. I would say there is no need to get US involved in this discussion.

    September 13, 2012 at 5:37 am |
  31. 人—中年

    America, brands itself as a fair gov, play a most inglorious part in this events.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  32. Lee

    So many people discuss this issue without basic knowlege of the fact. The history is something you can't ignore, but JP tried and is trying to ignore it.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  33. 陈寒


    September 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  34. Hwang He

    Keep the peace, forget the history, especially the bad. Under heaven we are all one family. By doing these things, China will become the world leader that deserves the respect and admiration of the world.

    September 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  35. Yun liu


    September 14, 2012 at 3:19 am |
  36. Chi

    American monkey likes war. Look, all the wars after world war II were caused by US's greed.

    September 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  37. ahmed

    Stronger online games full, free
    اقوى مواقع الالعاب الكاملة والمجانية

    September 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
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    October 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
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    onestamente,i resident evil vhccei li ho provati tutti sul gamecube, e posso dire ke l unica cosa che odiavo di questi giochi erano quei ***** di enigmi, per me soppravivere agli zombi vuol dire essere in citta o in una villa infestata da zombi e sparare per soppravivere ,non trovare una chiave con uno stemma e capire quale porta apre, comunque sono daccordo sul fatto che invece di fare uno sparatutto sui binari potevano essere dei remake dal n 0 al CODE VERONICA ,se poi riescono a darci un RESIDENT EVIL 5 per wii meglio ancora anke a costo di cambiare qualcosa sia a livello grafica e giocabilita

    October 7, 2012 at 2:46 am |
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