Home

[South China Morning Post] Declassified email to Clinton reveals how US urged Japan to consult with Beijing about 2012 purchase of Diaoyu Islands that sparked wave of protests

Kyodo in Tokyo
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 January, 2016, 6:05pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 January, 2016, 6:05pm

 

Resource

5b1bb59a-c7fd-11e5-bbaf-0bb83de8b470_1280x720.jpg

 

A double page advertisement in the New York Times states Beijing’s position on the uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea after Tokyo purchased them from a private owner. File photo: Reuters

The United States urged Japan to consult with China prior to Tokyo’s 2012 purchase of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea from a private owner, a declassified email forwarded to then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed.

In the e-mail dated September 3, 2012, about a week before Japan’s purchase of the Senkakus claimed by China and Taiwan, then US Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said he had urged Japan’s then Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae and the Japanese government to “consult and advise Beijing on their plans.”

China and Taiwan call the islands Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively, while Japan calls them the Senkakus.

The tiny islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, are a major source of friction between the two neighbours. Photo: Kyodo
The tiny islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, are a major source of friction between the two neighbours. Photo: Kyodo

Campbell said he had requested Japan’s prior consultation with China when he met with Sasae on August 7, 2012, in Tokyo. At that time, the Japanese government “has just concluded a round of deliberations and apparently their PRC (People’s Republic of China) counterparts were irate,” according to the email.

“Sasae however believes that China actually understands the necessity of these actions and will accept them. (I’m not so sure.),” Campbell said in the message sent to senior State Department officials.

The email was part of an ongoing release of Clinton correspondence from her years as secretary of state. Photo: EPA
The email was part of an ongoing release of Clinton correspondence from her years as secretary of state. Photo: EPA

The Japanese government purchased three of the five main Senkaku islands from a private landowner on September 11, 2012, to bring them under its control. The action enraged China and sparked a wave of anti-Japanese protests in the country.

The email titled “Sasae call” was written shortly after Sasae conveyed to Washington by phone Tokyo’s intention to put the Senkakus under state control. It was declassified Friday by the State Department in connection with Clinton’s use of a private email server for her work as secretary of state, which has been highlighted in her current presidential campaign.

In the message, Campbell also said although the Japanese government and the private owner have agreed on a purchase price, then Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who had been raising funds at the metropolitan government to buy the uninhabited islands, was “unlikely to consent” to the central government’s action.

Resource

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s