China slams Japan in island lighthouse claims furore

Agence France Presse

Beijing, February 12:

China today ratcheted up its rhetoric over a move by Japan on a group of disputed islands, slamming it as a “provocation” and a “violation of Chinese territorial sovereignty.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said it had made “solemn representations” to Tokyo after it had taken over a lighthouse built by Japanese nationalists on the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.

“China has undisputable sovereignty over these islands,” the ministry said in a statement, quoting an unnamed official from its Asian Affairs Department. “This move by Japan is a serious provocation and violation of Chinese territorial sovereignty, which is firmly opposed by the Chinese government and people,” the unnamed official said.

The official also echoed remarks made by a ministry spokesman earlier this week, saying “any unilateral step by the Japanese side is illegal.” Japan said this week it had placed under state control and protection a lighthouse erected on the largest of the Diaoyu islands. China and Taiwan also claim the islands.