The Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them Senkaku Islands. Both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands.
China Daily takes out ads in US newspapers to highlight Diaoyu claims
The tussle between China and Japan over ownership of islands in the East China Sea has spilled over into American newspapers, with the China Daily taking out a double-page ad about the dispute for Friday editions.
A centre spread display in The New York Times - among the most expensive real estate in all of journalism - was devoted to the stand-off, which has heightened tensions between Japan and China and reopened old wounds over the second world war.
"[The] Diaoyu Islands … have been an inherent territory of China since ancient times, and China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands," read the text of the advertisement paid for by the China Daily. The ad pressed Beijing's position that Japan had "grabbed" the islands and that they are the rightful property of China. "China has opposed the backroom deals between the United States" over the islands, read the text of the oversized advertisement in Friday's Washington Post.
Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday touched on the territorial dispute in a speech at a reception ahead of National Day on October 1.
"We will firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Wen said.
Beijing has for decades demanded the return of the uninhabited islands - known as the Diaoyus in Chinese and the Senkakus in Japanese. Taiwan also claims the islands.
Beijing says that Japan tricked China into signing a treaty ceding the islands in 1895.
Tokyo says its government began surveying the islands in 1885 and found them unoccupied with "no trace of [them] having been under the control of China".
Ten years later, on January 14, 1895, its cabinet decided to erect a marker to formally incorporate the Senkaku Islands into Japanese territory, the foreign ministry says.
Tokyo maintains that Beijing and Taipei only began claiming the islands after 1970, once it became known that there are possibly energy reserves in the sea bed nearby.