Diaoyu Islands

Diaoyu activists want aircraft carrier built

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 February, 2005, 12:00am

An activist group plans to urge Beijing to take a tougher stance over the hotly contested Diaoyu Islands, and to build an aircraft carrier to protect the nation's waters.

Yesterday's pledge by the China Federation for Defending the Diaoyu Islands came after Japan's coastguard published a chart showing the location on one of the islands of a lighthouse the Japanese government has vowed to maintain.

The chart, released on Friday, shows a lighthouse on the western edge of Uotsuri Island, the largest of the Diaoyus.

The beam from the lighthouse can be seen for about 9km, according to the Beijing News.

Beijing, Tokyo and Taipei all claim the uninhabited, but oil-rich, islands in the South China Sea.

'The Japanese government has been plotting for a long time to gain sovereignty over the islands and the resources in the area,' said federation chairman Tong Zeng.

Mr Tong said he and other activists would soon protest against Japan's 'latest provocation'.

He said he would also use sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and National People's Congress to ask delegates - including those from Hong Kong - to press Beijing into taking more action to safeguard China's sovereignty over the islands.

The federation is collecting signatures through its website to push Beijing to build an aircraft carrier.

'The 21st century is a time when all nations of the world are ensuring they can protect their own waters,' said Mr Tong.

'And China needs an aircraft carrier to ensure its rights are protected.'

He said Beijing should not be overly sensitive about criticism from other nations when it came to developing China's military.