Asia File: Japan Coast Guard uses water cannon to repel 40 Taiwanese fishing vessels, 12 patrol ships near disputed islets; Red China commissions first-ever aircraft carrier, refitted Soviet ship named after province liberated from Japanese Empire in 1945; Tokyo, Beijing hold consultations
September 25, 2012
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Earlier today, the Japan Coast Guard used water cannon to repel 40 Taiwanese fishing vessels and send a message to 12 Taiwanese patrol ships sailing in waters around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
Hideaki Takase, an official of the Japan Coast Guard, acknowledged that his colleagues purposely did not fire their water cannon at the Republic of China’s patrol ships since this could be construed as an act of war. “Japanese patrol boats only fired at fishing vessels,” Takase explained, “Shooting water cannon at an official vessel is like waging a war against its country.”
Three countries claim the islets in the East China Sea: Japan, the Republic of China, and the People’s Republic of China. This is the first time that a confrontation has erupted between Tokyo and Taipei over the tiny islands since the former nationalized the rocks earlier this month.
In consultations held today in Beijing between Red China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai, the former objected to Japan’s administration of the islands:
These acts constitute a gross violation of China’ s territory. They are highly offensive to the 1.3 billion Chinese people, and gravely trample on historical facts and international law. It is an outright denial of the outcomes of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War [Second World War] and poses a grave challenge to the post-war international order. Historical verdict can never be overturned; consensus must not be rejected; and flouting people’s aspiration will not be tolerated.
Meanwhile, in the wake of week-long, violent anti-Japan protests throughout Red China, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has commissioned its first aircraft carrier, a refitted Soviet-built vessel renamed after Liaoning, a Chinese province liberated from the Japanese Empire in 1945. Communist China plans to build a blue-water navy that will include more carrier groups capable of challenging the world’s most powerful navy in the Western Pacific, i.e., the US Navy. If Beijing is successful in this endeavor, then Washington’s allies in East Asia–Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines–will have much to fear.