Activists from the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US are joining forces in an effort to wrest control of the disputed Diaoyu islands from Japan - and with them a resource-rich slice of the Pacific Ocean. Thirty delegates attending a forum in Xiamen, Fujian province, agreed to set up a union of organisations to defend the islands, over which the mainland, Taiwan and Japan claim sovereignty. Beijing-based campaigner Feng Jinhua, who is best-known for vandalising the Yasukuni war shrine in Japan in 2001, said applications had been submitted to government bureaus on the mainland to set up the union. The forum, co-sponsored by the Patriotic Coalition website and www.china918.net , considered ways to gain control of the islands. 'Some proposals such as landing on the islands were discussed,' Mr Feng said. 'We also discussed the feasibility of bringing the Japanese government to an international court over the dispute.' In a declaration at the end of the forum on Sunday, the activists restated China's claim over the Diaoyu islands and vowed to unite all Chinese in defending the contested territory. Japan has banned Chinese and Taiwanese fisherman from the seas around the islands. The activists say they are not trying to sour Sino-Japanese relations, just expose the Japanese government as an occupying force on the islands. In 1971 overseas Chinese in New York first started moves to reclaim sovereignty over the Daioyu islands. Since then the movement has grown, exceeding 200 groups around the world. 'With the proposed union and the declaration, we can co-ordinate all these groups and make it easier for the government to supervise the campaign and keep malicious separatists out of our team,' Mr Feng said. He said the mainland's diplomatic efforts on the dispute had had little effect on the Japanese government. 'We are facing a difficult situation,' Mr Feng said. 'As the Japanese are currently occupying the islands, it is possible that if the case goes to an international court, the Chinese might lose the islands.' Chu Xiaobo, an expert on Sino-Japanese relations at Peking University's Japan Studies Centre, applauded the declaration and the proposed union. 'The campaign could unite all Chinese; it could be helpful and important for China to safeguard sovereignty over the islands.'