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Japan tells China to stop violating territory in East China Sea
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 24, 2016


Philippines' Duterte warns China of 'reckoning'
Manila (AFP) Aug 24, 2016 - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday of a "reckoning" with China if there was no resolution to a tense dispute over rival claims to the South China Sea.

An international tribunal ruled last month that China's claims to most of the strategically vital waters had no legal basis, in what was seen as a sweeping victory for the Philippines, which filed the case.

Duterte repeatedly had said he did not want to anger China with an aggressive response, and sent an envoy to ease tensions, but on Wednesday signalled he was prepared to adopt a more confrontational approach.

"We will not raise hell now because of the judgement but there will come a time that we will have to do some reckoning about this," Duterte said in a speech to soldiers at a military camp.

China, which has in recent years undertaken giant land reclamation works in disputed parts of the sea, has vowed to ignore the ruling.

It has called for direct talks with the Philippines, but insisted it will not compromise on its claims.

Duterte said the Philippines had not "insisted" on the judgement, but signalled that stance would change.

"They (China) better come up with what they really want. Because whether we like it or not, that arbitral judgement would be insisted (on) not only by the Philippines but by the whole countries here in Southeast Asia," he said.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast gas reserves and through which more than $5 trillion in annual shipping trade passes.

Duterte also warned China, which has a vastly superior armed forces, against attacking the Philippines.

"I guarantee to them, if you are the ones who enter here, it will be bloody and we will not give it to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers and even my own," said Duterte.

In his first cabinet meeting after being sworn into office on June 30, Duterte said he would not "taunt or flaunt" a successful verdict, which was handed down about a fortnight later.

Duterte sent ex-president Fidel Ramos to Hong Kong for an ice-breaking meeting this month with Fu Ying, chair of the foreign affairs committee of the National People's Congress, China's communist-controlled legislature.

Duterte said on Tuesday he hoped to have formal talks with China this year.

Japan told China on Wednesday its ships must stop violating Japanese territory in the East China Sea after a long-standing maritime row intensified this month.

The admonition came in a meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

The two countries are locked in a dispute over uninhabited islands controlled by Japan as the Senkakus but claimed by China as the Diaoyus.

Tensions have waxed and waned though rose this month as Japan grew angry over what it said were numerous incursions into waters around the islets by Chinese ships.

Tokyo has lodged more than two dozen protests through diplomatic channels since August 5, saying there have been repeated "intrusions" by Chinese coastguard vessels.

"I strongly asked him to completely quieten the situation, prevent it from occurring again and improve the overall environment in the East China Sea," Kishida told reporters after meeting Wang.

At one point Japan reported more than 200 Chinese fishing boats operating near the islands and said there was cooperation between some of them and coastguard vessels.

Kishida quoted Wang as saying that China would control the situation.

Wang, however, in separate remarks to reporters, said he and Kishida had extensive talks but suggested the issue had been blown out of proportion.

"It is related both to the fishing season, but also hyped by the media," said Wang, a former Chinese ambassador to Japan.

"The situation has now returned to normal."

He added that the two sides agreed to "make efforts to resolve our maritime dispute" as well as launch "as soon as possible" a previously discussed mechanism to prevent accidents at sea and air.

Increased patrols by ships and aircraft from the two sides around the rocky islets have periodically raised fears of accidental armed clashes.

Tokyo and Beijing in November 2014 agreed on a four-point accord to improve their relationship, which had soured to its worst in years over the island dispute and other issues.

Contacts have increased but relations remain marked largely by tension and distrust.

Kishida also said that if the situation in the East China Sea improves, Japan would like to step up dialogue with China -- including at next month's G20 summit in Hangzhou to be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Wang's visit is the first by a Chinese foreign minister to Japan since Xi became president in March 2013.

"We have to work to improve the Sino-Japanese relationship," he said upon arrival.

Earlier on Wednesday, Wang, Kishida and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se held trilateral talks at which they discussed regional issues such as North Korea.

They also reaffirmed a leaders' summit would be held later this year in Japan, though no date was announced.


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Previous Report
SUPERPOWERS
Philippines' Duterte warns China of 'reckoning'
Manila (AFP) Aug 24, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday of a "reckoning" with China if there was no resolution to a tense dispute over rival claims to the South China Sea. An international tribunal ruled last month that China's claims to most of the strategically vital waters had no legal basis, in what was seen as a sweeping victory for the Philippines, which filed the case. Duterte repea ... read more


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