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Diaoyu Dao Belongs to China, And Here Is Why
2012-10-24 22:07

On 24th October, the Belgian Newspaper L’Echo published an article titled “Diaoyu Dao Belongs to China, And Here Is Why” by Chinese Ambassador in Belgium Liao Liqiang. The following is the full text of the article:

Last weekend, I was strolling down the Galerie Bortier Street in Brussels when I made an interesting discovery in a bookstore called Schwilden. It was a map drawn by French Colonel Mr. Pierre Lapie and his son in 1832. On the map, the Diaoyu Dao was clearly marked as "Diaoyu Isle” (a term used by the Chinese people to refer to Diaoyu Dao during Ming and Qing Dynasty). If you think this is just a coincidence, then you should take a closer look into the history. In fact, by the early 1400s, China had discovered Diaoyu Dao and placed them under its jurisdiction as affiliated to Taiwan. A number of Chinese and foreign literatures prove that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China since ancient times. Even in Japan’s earliest literature to mention Diaoyu Dao, the Illustrated Outline of the Three Countries, which was written in 1785, the map in the book depicted Diaoyu Dao in the same color as the mainland of China, indicating that Diaoyu Dao was part of China. But now Japan clings on its claim of sovereignty over the Diaoyu Dao, denying any dispute on the issue. So how exactly does the Diaoyu Dao issue came into existence?

It all dates back to 1895, when Japan grabbed Diaoyu Dao during the Sino-Japanese War and forced the Qing government to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan “the island of Formosa (Taiwan), together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa”. That included Diaoyu Dao. In December 1941, the Chinese government officially declared war against Japan, together with the abrogation of all treaties between China and Japan. In December 1943, the Cairo Declaration stated in explicit terms that “all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.” Less than two years later the Potsdam Proclamation, released on 26 July 1945, reaffirmed that: “The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.” The Japanese government accepted the Potsdam Proclamation in the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, and pledged to faithfully fulfill its obligations stipulated in the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation. All of these facts show that in accordance with the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, Diaoyu Dao, as affiliated islands of Taiwan, should be returned, together with Taiwan, to China. In 1972 China-Japan relations normalised. In 1978 China and Japan signed the treaty of peace and friendship. Chinese and Japanese leaders agreed on shelving the Diaoyu Dao issue and waiting for a future settlement. Without such understanding and consensus, progress of China-Japan relations in the four decades that followed would have been impossible.

History shall be remembered in order to create the future. In history, Japan repeatedly invaded China. In 1895, Japan launched Sino-Japanese war and stole Diaoyu Dao from China. In the first World War, it grabbed China’s Shandong Province. In 1931, it invaded Northeast China and in 1937 it launched an all-out war of aggression against China, committing the massacre of 35 million Chinese people, causing untold sufferings to the people of China and other Asian countries. Over the past 60 odd years, the Japanese right-wing forces have showed no remorse for its war crimes, and instead repeatedly stirred up trouble on historical and territorial issues, arousing great indignation of people in China and other Asian countries. On September 10, the Japanese government announced its decision to “purchase” China’s Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands in a bid to “nationalize” these islands. On October 17, President of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, followed by several Japanese cabinet ministers and a group of Japanese lawmakers once again paid tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates Hideki Tojo and 13 other “class A” Japanese war criminals convicted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) for launching war of aggression during the World War II. In stark contrast, after the World War II, Germany examined its conscience and expressed profound repentance and apology, and thus won trust and respect of people in Europe. Just think about it, if the government of a certain country in Europe attempts to deny history and the outcome of World War II, and its politicians pay tribute to Hitler and his key accomplice, how would people of Europe feel? It is the erroneous words and deeds of the Japanese side that led to the escalating situation over Diaoyu Dao issue. Japan is the only one to blame.

China and Belgium have both experienced the two world wars. The two peoples had helped each other during the warfare, and forged profound friendship. During World War I, the Chinese laborers, totaling over 140 thousands, worked here in Europe. Around 50 thousand are believed to have served in Ieper and surrounding areas. Today, we may find tombs belonging to 1874 Chinese laborers in 69 cemeteries in Belgium and Northern France. In order to commemorate these laborers, on April 23, 2010, In Flanders Fields Museum of Ieper held a Special Exhibition on Chinese Labor Corps to honor the indispensable role the Chinese laborers played in bringing about peace and helping rebuild war-ravaged nations.

There’s another moving story. During World War II, when Belgium was invaded by German troops, Qian Xiuling, a Chinese lady who was living in Belgium, with great courage and wisdom, managed to save the lives of 96 Belgian hostages in Ecaussinnes City. The citizens of Ecaussinnes named a downtown street in her honor "rue Perlinghi" (Perlinghi is the French name of Ms. Qian) to express their thanks to the Chinese lady. The city mayor said: "Had father not been rescued by Ms. Qian, I would never have come to this world. In that sense, I am a grandson of Ms. Qian. The Chinese people are proud of her, and Belgian people are grateful to her. "

China, as a peace-loving country, has always been committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world. Facing the challenge of the current international financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, China is working together with countries of EU and the world to overcome the difficulties with a positive and responsible attitude. It is simply justifiable that China takes necessary measures to uphold its sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity. China is dedicated to peaceful resolution through friendly negotiations with its neighboring countries over disputes involving territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. It is hoped that Japan face up to history and reality, come to a clear understanding of the situation,correct its wrongdoings and come back to the right track of resolving the Diaoyu Dao issue through negotiation.

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