As China and Japan set meeting to ease island dispute, Taiwan steps into fray
Japan is sending a top diplomat to China for talks. But Taiwan is now sending ships to patrol the disputed region, threatening to further complicate things.
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Reuters reports that a Taiwanese flotilla of up to 100 fishing vessels, escorted by 10 Taiwan Coast Guard vessels are set to arrive at the disputed islands on Monday. The fleet, "sporting banners and large Taiwan flags," plans to sail around the islands to assert Taiwan's right to fish in the area. Reuters adds that the fishing group organizing the fleet did not rule out trying to land on the islands.Skip to next paragraph
Arthur Bright is the Europe Editor at The Christian Science Monitor. He has worked for the Monitor in various capacities since 2004, including as the Online News Editor and a regular contributor to the Monitor's Terrorism & Security blog. He is also a licensed Massachusetts attorney.
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The BBC adds that hundreds of Taiwanese from right-wing parties protested in Taipei on Sunday, calling for a boycott of Japanese goods. Some called for cooperation with the mainland to resolve the dispute, even despite the long tension between China and Taiwan over Taiwan's political status. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province.
The Asahi Shimbun's Tomoyoshi Isogawa, the former chief of the paper's Chinese General Bureau, writes in a commentary that at root, the problem between Japan and China is the two countries' "inability to understand each other." Citing a recent Asahi Shimbun survey taken before the Japanese government's purchase of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, he writes:
The only way to maintain stability in bilateral relations is to promote mutual understanding and heighten a sense of trust toward one another. However, the survey results show that this will be extremely difficult to do. ...
The gap in perception is a potential factor for friction that has the possibility to inflame passions anew.
In addition, a considerable number of Chinese respondents regard Japan as an authoritarian country. That sentiment is strong even among young people, who get much of their information on world affairs from the Internet. This is surprising.
The distorted impression of Japan seems to be directly related to the patriotic style of education that took hold of China in the 1990s.
ZDNet notes that the impasse over the islands has produced problems outside the diplomatic sphere, specifically with mapmakers like Apple, which just released a proprietary Maps app for iOS6. ZDNet and blog "The Amazing iOS6 Maps" write that as a result, Apple has offered a novel, if impractical, solution to the territorial dispute: Duplicate the islands. The Apple application shows two sets of islands located next to each other, one of which it identifies as the Diaoyu islands, the other as the Senkaku islands.
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