Taiwan diplomat fears China-Japan ‘explosive’ incident


China’s territorial dispute with Japan over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea could lead to an “explosive” confrontation, Taiwan’s top diplomat in the United States warned Wednesday.

“These little islands could trigger something,” Lyushun Shen, ambassador of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, said in an interview with USA TODAY. “A small collision of patrol boats could trigger a major incident. It could be explosive.”

Both countries claim a group of tiny, remote islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Taiwan calls them Diaoyutai. The United States has not taken sides as to which country owns the islands, but it recently reiterated its mutual defense pact with Japan and has criticized China’s aggressive efforts to protect the waters.

Shen said the dispute has roots in the deep animosity China still feels from the Japanese brutality and occupation it suffered during the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945. China used Monday’s anniversary of the start of the war to raise nationalistic feelings and arouse public opinion against Japan, Shen said. “There is a ‘Hate Japan’ campaign going on,” he said.

China has provoked conflicts with several nations in the South China Sea, including Vietnam and the Philippines, over territorial rights to islands there. Shen noted Taiwan originally categorized and named the disputed islands.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/07/09/china-japan-taiwan-east-china-sea-maritime-dispute/12409753/