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Posts tagged ‘Taiwan’

Kerry: China Willing to Pressure NKorea on Nukes.

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday China is willing to exert more pressure to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

He told reporters in Beijing he was pleased that China “could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.

The reclusive Asian state has defied international warnings not to build atomic bombs and long-range missiles. It is believed to have enough fissile material to build up to 10 nuclear bombs, but most intelligence analysts say it has yet to master the technology to deploy such weapons.

“I encouraged the Chinese to use every tool at their disposal, all of the means of persuasion that they have, building on the depths of their long and historic and cultural and common history (with North Korea),” he said.

“They made it very clear that if the North doesn’t comply and come to the table and be serious about talks and stop its program … they are prepared to take additional steps in order to make sure their policy is implemented,” Kerry said, adding the United States and China were now discussing “the specifics of how you do that”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry China would work with all parties concerned, including the United States, to play a constructive role for the region’s peace and stability.

“China will never allow chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula,” Wang said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

North Korea was raised during Kerry’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Foreign Ministry said, with Xi “setting forth China’s stance”. It gave no other details.

The East and South China Seas featured prominently on Kerry’s agenda too, with him calling for a “more rule of law based, less confrontational regime”.

The United States is uneasy about what it sees as China’s effort to gain creeping control over waters in the Asia-Pacific region, including its Nov. 23 declaration of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in an area of the East China Sea that includes islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan.

China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square km (1.35 million square mile) South China Sea, depicting what it sees as its area on maps with a so-called nine-dash line, looping far out over the sea from south China.

China and the Association of South East Asian Nations have been discussing a code of conduct for the South China Sea, and Kerry said he believed China was ready to achieve that goal.

“That would help reduce tensions that stem from the territorial and maritime disputes and, in the meantime, it’s very important that everybody build crisis management tools and refrain from coercive or unilateral measures to assert whatever claims any country in the region may have,” he said.

Wang said China was committed to a peaceful resolution for both the East and South China Seas disputes, but urged the United States not take sides and said China had an “unshakable resolve” to protect its sovereignty.

The United States should “respect historical facts and China’s sovereign interests, adhere to an objective and impartial stance and take tangible actions to promote mutual trust in the region so as to safeguard regional peace and stability”, Wang said.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims over the South China Sea, or parts of it.

Kerry said he told China it would be a bad idea to establish an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea, similar to the one it set up over the East China Sea late last year, which prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo and Seoul.

“We have made it very clear that a unilateral, unannounced, unprocessed initiative like that can be very challenging to certain people in the region, and therefore to regional stability,” he said.

Wang said China was confident it could maintain peace in the South China Sea by working with ASEAN, and denounced efforts by “certain people internationally” to hype up tensions and “spread untruths”. “China is resolutely opposed to this,” Wang said, without elaborating.

Climate change was also on the agenda of Kerry’s talks.

“We need to see if working together we could identify any further steps that we may be able to take, specifically with respect to arrival at meaningful targets with respect to the 2015 climate change conference that will take place in Paris in December of next year,” Kerry said.


© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Why China Is Practicing for an Invasion of Taiwan.

Image: Why China Is Practicing for an Invasion of Taiwan

Supply trucks cross a river during China’s Mission 2013B last month, practice for an invasion of Taiwan. (China Online)

The perception that U.S. leadership in the world is flagging likely inspired China to conduct a large-scale military drill using 20,000 troops this month in what experts say was a mock invasion of Taiwan. The danger lies not in how the United States reacts to the drill, which was broadcast to the world, but in not reacting at all and continuing to take great pains not to describe China as an enemy.

Click here to read the full analysis from top intelligence experts at

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


6 Simple Secrets to Success in Ministry.

Ignite-CrowdIgnite crowd

What a week it was! Deborah and I attended Ignite 2013 along with over 9000 Filipino students plus hundreds of students andEvery Nation campus missionaries from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and others. Rather than writing a long wordy blog about the conference, here are some photos that are worth a thousand words each. Click and enjoy.

Every time we have international guests visit us in Manila, someone will eventually ask me about the “secret” or the “keys” or the “secret keys” to our success and growth.  Here’s my current answer.

1. Calling. Figure out what God wants you to do with your life. Not what your friends, parents, and culture want you to do. God has a unique calling for you. Some people figure that out. Some don’t. Success starts when we find out what God wants us to do.

2. Commitment. Work hard. Go all in. No holds barred. Be obsessed. Burn the candle at both ends, and the middle. My Dad taught me hard work, and the Bible confirmed it. Some people can’t spell work ethic. They are lazy and they will never succeed until they embrace hard work. And for those who are working hard with little to show for it: after you have worked hard for several years, keep working and continue believing. Refuse to quit. Don’t quit when it gets tough. Don’t quit when it gets costly. Don’t quit when everyone tells you it is not worth it. Those who quit do not succeed. Those who refuse to quit eventually succeed. In summary: work hard and keep working hard for a long time.

3. Community. Your calling is bigger than you. What God wants you to do cannot be done alone. You will need a team to be successful. (I am forever grateful that God lets me work with the best team on the planet!)

4.  Concentration. Stay focused on what God called and gifted you to do. Do not diversify. Do not multitask. Do not attempt to do everything that can be done in the name of God. You cannot meet every need. Find the needs God wants you to meet, and concentrate on doing that the best you possibly can. We have been successful because we stuck with the “same ole boring strokes” for three decades. We have never jumped on the “get-big-quick” flavor of the month. We know what we are called to do (see #5 and #6 below), and we simply concentrate on that and nothing else.

5. Honor God. This is the ultimate motive for all we do, and the ultimate measure of real success.

6. Make Disciples. Period.

In summary, find out what God wants you to do and keep doing that and nothing else—for a long, long, long time.

Written by Steve Murrell

Steve and Deborah Murrell went to the Philippines in 1984 for a one-month summer mission trip that never ended. They are the founding pastors of Victory Manila, one church that meets in 14 locations in Metro Manila and has planted churches in 60 Philippine cities and 20 nations. Currently, Victory has more than 6,000 discipleship groups that meet in coffee shops, offices, dormitories and homes in Metro Manila. Steve is co-founder and president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a family of churches focused on church planting, campus ministry and world missions.

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Frustrated Taiwan Vents Anger at Philippines.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Sitting in Taipei’s main commercial center as office workers filed out for lunch, Y.S. Liu mourned the collapse of her import business. Her president, she said, had failed to deliver.

The 60-year-old blamed Ma Ying-jeou, whose approval rating is 14 percent, for an economy that grew at one of the slowest rates in Asia last year, sparking January protests that helped trigger the resignation of Premier Sean Chen. When a Philippine patrol boat crew killed a Taiwanese fisherman a week ago, Liu and others found an outlet for their fear of being bypassed in Asia’s recovery.

“We’ve been frustrated for so long,” Liu said, adding Ma should be even tougher on the Philippines. “We’re so full of anger, so disappointed and dissatisfied with our government.”

Ma is seizing the moment to press President Benigno Aquino for a formal apology as Taiwan grocers pull Philippine goods from stores and travel agencies cancel trips, an approach that risks denting efforts to boost trade ties in Asia. His reaction may say more about Taiwan’s feeling of weakness in a region of emerging powers that don’t officially recognize its government.

“The whole world is bullying us, so we have to bully someone weaker than us,” said George Tsai, a political scientist at Chinese Culture University in Taipei. “Taiwanese have accumulated so much frustration and anger. Collectively, we’re trying to find an outlet. At such a moment, the Ma administration can only be tough.”

The diplomatic spat started on May 9, when a Philippine patrol boat fired at least 32 bullets at a Taiwanese boat in waters claimed by both sides, killing a 65-year-old fisherman. Ma threatened economic retaliation if Aquino didn’t meet four demands: apologize, compensate the family, agree to talks on disputed fishing zones and start an investigation.

The Philippines, which doesn’t formally recognize Taiwan under its one-China policy, agreed to all the demands except a government apology. Aquino offered to apologize on behalf of the Filipino people.

Ma rejected it outright. Within 24 hours, his government began military exercises off its southern coast, told people to stop traveling to the Philippines and froze the hiring of Filipino workers. State-run Taiwan Sugar, with 12 outlets stocking snacks and other products made in the Philippines, took items off its shelves.

“People want justice, and our voice to be heard by the international community,” Wei Huang, manager at a Taiwan Sugar store in Taipei, said after removing more than 100 products. “We should use whatever leverage we have.”

Taiwan also moved to halt already-limited diplomatic engagement, including ministerial meetings under the World Health Assembly, a body of the World Health Organization. Sixteen Taiwan-based exhibitors withdrew from the International Food Expo in Manila.

Taiwan’s media has fueled the public outcry, with front- page headlines declaring “Philippine Government, Rotten to the Core.” Groups congregated outside the house of the dead fisherman.

“This is something very unusual,” said Samuel C.Y. Ku, a professor at the Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies in Taiwan. “We haven’t seen this kind of social outrage from a specific event.”

The U.S., which is a treaty ally to the Philippines and helps maintain Taiwan’s defense, urged both sides to avoid an escalation.

China condemned the killing and demanded the Philippines begin an investigation. Taiwan has been ruled separately since Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang party fled China in 1949 after a civil war, and the Communist Party deems the island a renegade province.

Ma improved ties with China after he was first elected in 2008, ending a six-decade ban on direct transport links. Since his re-election in January 2012, his popularity has plummeted as the economy slowed compared to others in the region, which are moving ahead on trade agreements that exclude Taiwan.

Taiwan’s gross domestic product grew 1.3 percent last year, according to the Asian Development Bank, slower than South Korea, China and most Southeast Asian nations. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party led the January protest in Taipei over Ma’s economic management that drew tens of thousands of people.

When it comes to the dispute with the Philippines, however, Ma’s opponents are with him. DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang said Taiwan needed to present a united front despite Ma’s other shortcomings.

“This is a matter of dignity,” said J.J. Tsai, a 40-year- old housewife, as she shopped in one of Taiwan Sugar’s stores today. “We are willing to pay the economic price.”

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Taiwan lawmakers approve reduced budget.

Taiwan legislature approves 2013 government budget after 2 percent cut to spending

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s legislature approved the 2013 government budget after cutting proposed spending by 2 percent amid an expected tax shortfall in the lackluster economy.

In the budget approved late Tuesday, total government spending will be limited to 1.9 trillion New Taiwan dollars ($65.5 billion), incurring a deficit of NT$174 billion.

Premier Sean Chen says the Cabinet will implement the required austerity measures while trying to reduce their negative impact on the economy.

Lawmakers froze the annual bonus payment of NT$290,000 for Economics Minister Shih Yen-hsiang, saying he can receive it only if the first two quarters of economic growth reach the targeted 3 percent.

Taiwan’s economy grew only 1.1 percent last year because of weak global demand for the island’s electronics exports.

Growth of 3 percent is projected for this year.


Associated Press

Taiwan undersea oil plans raise neighbors’ eyebrows.

The island’s exploration efforts in the South China Sea could fuel tensions with China and other nations with territorial claims there. Heated rhetoric last year prompted the US to intervene.

Taiwan, a normally quiet claimant to portions of the disputed South China Sea, plans to explore for undersea oil there, a move likely to test fragile relations with China and upset major Southeast Asian nations.

Ringed by China, Vietnamthe PhilippinesIndonesia and others, the waters are believed to hold as many as 213 billion barrels of oil but competing claims from the six bordering nations have fueled tensions, prompting US officials to step in last year to urge calm.

Taiwan’s Bureau of Mines and its top energy company plan to explore this year for some of that oil near an islet that the government holds in the Spratly archipelago, a spokesman for the company said.

Taiwan’s search for oil would remind five competing nations that it still has clout, despite old foe China. The more powerful Beijing forbids its allies around Asia from talking to Taipei and has its own ambitions in the disputed 3.5 million-square-kilometer (1.4 million-square-mile) sea.

“Taiwan seems to be seeking ways to remind other nations of its sovereignty claims,” says Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia adviser with the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Taiwan doesn’t want to be ignored or forgotten.”

Recommended: How much do you know about China? Take our quiz.

China has considered self-ruled Taiwan part of its territory since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, chilling ties until 2008 when the two sides put aside political differences to discuss trade and economic links.

But new incidents have challenged the fragile détente, and Taiwan is already angry about last year’s Chinese passports that claim two Taiwanese landmarks. Oil could be next, as Taiwan says it has no plans to share its search with China.

Vietnam and the Philippines also staked claims in the sea. Vessels from China and the Philippines were locked in a standoff last year, and 70 Vietnamese sailors died in a clash in 1988.

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But even as both countries periodically make what’s thought of as aggressive moves in the region, both would stop short of forcing Taiwan out from the waters near Spratly where it already has an airstrip, analysts say. Too much bluster might push Taiwan closer to China, which wants more economic ties with Taiwan and which Southeast Asian claimants see as a bigger threat to their maritime interests.

“Lacking much naval power, Manila would have a hard time actually physically preventing any oil exploration by Taiwan,” says Scott Harold, associate political scientist at the RAND Corp., a policy research nonprofit in the United States.

Hanoi would have a better prospect of reacting militarily, but any stand-off would potentially put them on the wrong side of both Washington and Beijing,” he says.

But much of the oil is already spoken for. China’s state-owned CNOOC Ltd. began drilling undersea last year, and its peer in Hanoi, PetroVietnam, has started surveying. The Philippines is also contracting out other exploration tracts.

Fellow claimant Malaysia currently produces about half the South China Sea’s oil, which is estimated at 1.3 million barrels per day. Brunei also claims parts of the ocean.

Taiwan’s Bureau of Mines will draw up a budget this year and hire CPC Corp. Taiwan to look for oil, CPC spokesman Chen Ming-hui says. Officials told parliament that exploration would cost at least $562,000.

Taiwan needs the oil as 99 percent of energy sources are now imported, Mr. Chen says. “The South China Sea is a place where Vietnam and others have sighted oil, so we think the opportunities there are good,” he says.


By Ralph Jennings | Christian Science Monitor

US expert says NKorea rocket launches satellite.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — An American space expert said North Korea has succeeded in launching a satellite into space.

Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said late Tuesday fromCambridge, Massachusetts, that the three-stage Unha-3 rocket launched early Wednesday morning delivered the satellite into orbit and constituted “a perfect success for North Korea.”

He said that based on his own calculations, an object identified by the U.S. space command as “39026, 2012-072A” was from the North Korean satellite.

The apparent North Korean success comes after a rocket launch failure in April that flamed out after only 90 seconds.


By PETER ENAV | Associated Press

‘God Day’ Calls on Remnant to Spark Orlando, Fla., Revival.

Shoes 4 Kids
One of the goals for God Day in Orlando in December is giving away 12,000 pairs of shoes to fatherless children. (Tyrone Macfarland)

Joshua Fowler is a firm believer that there once again will be a Great Awakening in the United States and around the globe. The apostle and senior minister of Legacy Life Church in Orlando, Fla., is helping to spark the revival movement in December with a special event called God Day—Awakening a City to Awaken Nations.

Slated for December 12, God Day’s purpose is to give the city of Orlando back to the heavenly Father and to expand that agenda outward toward other cities, states and nations. Expected to draw thousands, the event will include 12 hours of prayer, praise and proclamation.

It also will include a congress of five-fold leaders, a solemn assembly of fasting, prayer, interceding and a rally of a mighty army with one vision, one mind and one goal—to evangelize and to bring in the greatest harvest of souls the city has ever known.

More than 100 churches as well as businesses and community organizations have joined together in promoting the event.

“During turbulent times when hopelessness is all around us, God is calling forth a remnant in the earth to cry out to heaven on behalf of whole cities, generations and nations,” Fowler said. “When the church intercessors or watchmen reach a boiling point of dissatisfaction with the things of the world, they will cry out for an awakening and revival in the land.

“This gathering is a movement of people that are looking to restore honor to God and to father the fatherless. I received this mandate long ago from the Lord and we are seeing in through to its fruition. We want show our love for him and to throw God a God-sized party.”

Fowler’s hope is to strategically partner with local and global leaders to “change our city and the nations,” and to bring about a major harvest of souls in the upcoming year.

“When you read Luke 5:6-7, it says, ‘And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their net was breaking, so they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.’ We want others to partner with us and share in this great catch.”

During God Day, Fowler’s plan is to distribute 12,000 or more pair of shoes to fatherless children. That idea came to him after he and his wife, Deborah, went to Taiwan a few years back to adopt a child. When they received the child, the shoes he had on were tattered and torn.

They immediately got their new son, Ben, a new pair, and the Lord spoke to Fowler about the shoe drive.

As of late October, nearly 9,000 pairs of shoes had been donated to the cause.

“When we put the shoes on the children’s feet, we want to release the Father’s blessing,” Fowler said. “I believe from that, a move of God, a blessing will be released. It is all done to honor Him.”



The world’s silliest territorial dispute.


Why are China and Japan threatening to go to war over a few uninhabited islands in the East China Sea?

Are the islands important?
Only in a symbolic way. The eight tiny islands and outcroppings — known as the Senkaku islands in Japan, which administers them, as the Diaoyu in China, and as the Tiaoyutai in Taiwan — have a total area of less than three square miles, and are home only to a band of feral goats. Located about 100 miles northeast of Taiwan and 265 miles west of the Japanese island of Okinawa, they do sit in prime fishing territory, and there are natural gas deposits and possibly large oil reserves nearby. But it is national pride, honed by centuries of bitter rivalry and war between Japan and China, that provides the prime motivation for the contesting ownership claims. As a growing world power, China is eager to assert its authority over Asian waters, while Japan doesn’t want to be seen as yielding an inch. “We must draw the line with the Chinese here,” said Hissho Yanai, head of a Japanese nationalist group. “If we let them have the Senkaku islands, they’ll come after all of Okinawa next.”

To whom did they first belong?
China says it has records from the Ming Dynasty in the 1300s that refer to the islands as part of its maritime territory. Chinese fishermen used the islands as a fishing platform for centuries, the government claims, before they were ceded to Japan along with Taiwan in 1895 in the wake of the Sino-Japanese War. After World War II, a defeated Japan renounced its claim to Taiwan under the terms of the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco; China, which was not represented in those negotiations, says the disputed islands should have been included in that renunciation. For its part, Japan says that after surveying the islands in 1895, it incorporated them into Okinawa Prefecture and put down a marker to make it official. For several decades the Japanese operated a small factory on one of the islands, making dried fish flakes, and up to 200 people lived there. The U.S. held the islands under a trusteeship after World War II, but in 1972 they were returned to Japan.

Why has this flared up now?
Largely because of Shintaro Ishihara, the nationalist governor of Tokyo. Early this year, he announced that he would buy three of the islands from their private Japanese owner because he felt their sovereignty wasn’t being adequately defended. That compelled first Chinese nationalists, and then Japanese nationalists, to make pilgrimages to the rocks to film themselves waving their respective flags, stirring up patriotic sentiment back home. Last month, the Japanese government bought the three islands and nationalized them — ostensibly to prevent them from falling into the hands of radicals. But even assuming that rationale was sincere, the timing was especially poor, coming just a week before the anniversary of one of the darkest episodes in the two countries’ history — Japan’s 1931 invasion of Manchuria.

How did China react?
Chinese nationalists viewed the purchase as an outrageous land grab and a deliberate provocation. They turned the events marking the anniversary of the invasion into a week of anti-Japanese rioting across China. Japanese-owned shops were smashed up, Japanese factories were burned, and Japanese citizens in China were harassed. More than 40 Japanese cars were destroyed, and a mob in Xian beat up a Chinese man for driving a Toyota. Damage from the riots is likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and trade between the two countries has suffered. To make its continued claim clear, the Chinese military sent naval ships to the islands for training exercises three weeks after Japan nationalized them.

Could war break out?
Chinese media have warned that it might. Politics is fanning the flames: With the once-a-decade leadership transition coming up, China’s Communist Party wants to project strength and national pride, while the Japanese opposition is exploiting the crisis to paint Japan’s unpopular government as weak on national sovereignty. Still, it’s unlikely that China would actually invade the Senkaku — not least because the U.S. could get dragged in under the terms of its defense treaty with Japan. It’s probably no coincidence that the U.S. recently deployed some of its most advanced aircraft to Okinawa, not far from the islands.

So will it all blow over?
Maybe for now, but the issue won’t go away permanently. The dispute is just one element in a Japanese-Chinese power struggle over a string of archipelagos from the Kuril Islands near Russia down to Indonesia. Nearly all of Japanese and Chinese oil and gas is shipped through those waters. June Teufel Dreyer, a China and Japan specialist at the University of Miami, says the Chinese military considers the Senkaku islands to be part of a chain fencing China in. “They say, ‘If we get these islands, we can break out into the open Pacific.'” China won’t give up that dream.

A long history of conflict and war
As East Asia’s two major powers, Japan and China have been at each other’s throats for centuries. The Beijing-based Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan, tried and failed to invade Japan in the 13th century. For centuries thereafter, marauding Japanese pirates harassed the Chinese coast, and the two countries fought a bloody and extended war over control of the Korean peninsula in the late 16th century — and another in 1895, which Japan won. In the 1930s, the rise of imperial Japan brought the two nations into direct conflict again — this time, with unprecedented brutality. Japanese troops marched into Manchuria in 1931, and then into Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanking in 1937, raping and slaughtering civilians. China claims that 35 million people died during the Japanese occupation, and that at least 300,000 civilians lost their lives to atrocities committed in Nanking alone. Those horrific events, which some Japanese politicians and school textbooks have periodically downplayed, have haunted Sino-Japanese relations ever since.

 Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By The Week’s Editorial Staff | The Week

Dispute escalates between China and Japan.


TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – China sent its first aircraft carrier into formal service on Tuesday amid a tense maritime dispute with Japan in a show of force that could worry its neighbors.

China’s Ministry of Defence said the newly named Liaoning aircraft carrier would “raise the overall operational strength of the Chinese navy” and help Beijing to “effectively protect national sovereignty, security and development interests”.

In fact, the aircraft carrier, refitted from a ship bought from Ukraine, will have a limited role, mostly for training and testing ahead of the possible launch of China’s first domestically built carriers after 2015, analysts say.

The Pentagon played down the event, with spokesman George Little telling a briefing that the United States was monitoring China’s development of its military but noted, “This wasn’t a particular surprise.”

China cast the formal handing over of the carrier to its navy — attended by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao — as a triumphant show of national strength at a time of tensions with Japan over islands claimed by both sides.

“The smooth commissioning of the first aircraft carrier has important and profound meaning for modernizing our navy and for enhancing national defensive power and the country’s overall strength,” Xinhua news agency cited Wen as saying at the commissioning ceremony in the northern port of Dalian.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply this month after Japan bought the East China Sea islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from their private owner, sparking anti-Japan protests across China.

“China will never tolerate any bilateral actions by Japan that harm Chinese territorial sovereignty,” Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told his Japanese counterpart on Tuesday as the two met in a bid to ease tensions.

“Japan must banish illusions, undertake searching reflection and use concrete actions to amend its errors, returning to the consensus and understandings reached between our two countries’ leaders.”

Japanese diplomats gathered in New York for the U.N. General Assembly said their government’s purchase of the islands from its private owners was designed to contain the controversy.

“The Japanese government has communicated and explained this intention to the PRC. However, we have the current situation,” said Naoki Saiki, deputy press secretary of Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

Saiki did not indicate whether Tuesday’s vice-ministerial talks with China made concrete progress, but she said, “The important thing is that both sides did agree on the continuation of contacts and communications with each other.”

In a sign of the tensions, China has postponed a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic ties with Japan. But an official at the Japan-China Economic Association said Toyota Motor Corp Chairman Fujio Cho and Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Japanese business lobby Keidanren, and other representatives of Japan-China friendship groups would attend an event on Thursday in Beijing.

The risks of military confrontation are scant, but political tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies could fester and worries persist about an unintended incident at sea.

“If blood is shed, people would become irrational,” Koichi Kato, an opposition lawmaker who heads the Japan-China Friendship Association and will travel to Beijing, told Reuters.


For the Chinese navy, the addition of carriers has been a priority as it builds a force capable of deploying far from the Chinese mainland.

China this month warned the United States, with President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, not to get involved in separate territorial disputes in the South China Sea between China and U.S. allies such as the Philippines.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in turn urged China and its Southeast Asian neighbors to resolve disputes “without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force”.

Narushige Michishita, a security expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, said he thought the timing of the launch was unrelated to the islands dispute.

Rather, experts said it might be associated with China’s efforts to build up patriotic unity ahead of a Communist Party congress that will install a new generation of top leaders as early as next month.

“China is taking another step to boost its strategic naval capability,” Michishita said. “If they come to have an operational aircraft carrier, for the time being we are not super-concerned about the direct implications for the military balance between the U.S. and Japan on the one hand, and China on the other. This is still not cutting edge.”

The East China Sea tensions with Japan were complicated on Tuesday by the entry of Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing calls an illegitimate breakaway, which also lays claim to the islands.

Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannon to turn away about 40 Taiwan fishing boats and 12 Taiwan Coast Guard vessels. Six Chinese patrol ships were also near the islands but four left, leaving two nearby but not in waters Japan considers its own.

Japan protested to Taiwan, a day after lodging a complaint with China over what it called a similar intrusion by Chinese vessels.

Taiwan has friendly ties with Japan, but the two sides have long squabbled over fishing rights in the area. China and Taiwan both argue they have inherited China’s historic sovereignty over the islands.

The flare-up in tension comes at a time when both China and Japan confront domestic political pressures. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China. China’s Communist Party is preoccupied with the leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down.

(Additional reporting by Linda Sieg in Tokyo, Sui-Lee Wee, Ben Blanchard and Chris Buckley in Beijing, Paul Eckert in New York, and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie, Jeremy Laurence and Cynthia Osterman)


By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Terril Yue Jones | Reuters

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