Historical evidence shows that Diaoyu Islands belong to China, the Chinese ambassador to France said in an article published Wednesday, while expressing the hope that Japan would correct its wrongdoings over the issue as soon as possible.
In the essay, published on French daily Le Monde, Kong Quan noted that the China-Japan relationship, already shadowed by Japan’s unacceptable attitude towards its past, has recently been jolted again by the Diaoyu Islands dispute.
Plenty of historical records, including a number of ancient maps stored in the National Library of France, demonstrate that the group of uninhabited islets are part of Chinese territory, he said.
Returning the islands back to China is a legal obligation Japan must follow after its defeat in WWII, Kong said, noting that the bilateral agreement reached by former leaders of the two countries to shelve the dispute was an important foundation for the normalization of China-Japan relations.
China, said the ambassador, needs a peaceful and stable environment to develop its economy and improve people’s living standards, an undertaking that requires the efforts of generations.
However, from building lighthouses in the past to “nationalizing” the islands today, Japan has kept making provocations over the Diaoyu Islands issue, Kong added.
China and Japan are not only geologically close but closely connected both in economy and in culture, he said, noting that the two sides have also developed a strong interdependence in economy and trade.
Especially, against the backdrop of the current global economic gloom, the two neighbors should join hands to strengthen cooperation, he added.
China does not want the current difficult situation in China-Japan relations to persist, and hopes that Japan would correct its mistakes as soon as possible, Kong said.
The ball is now in Japan’s court, he said.
The ambassador also recalled that during his tenure as a foreign ministry spokesman, the China-Japan relationship was one of the most frequently asked subjects, and related questions mainly fell into two categories: historical issues and territorial ones.
On historical issues, Kong, citing former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine and former German Chancellor Willy Brandt’s 1970 visit to Poland, said that Japan’s attitude towards its past contrasts sharply with Germany’s.
A nation that is brave to admit and correct its mistakes is a nation with confidence, he said, adding that Germany’s attitude towards its past laid the foundation of the peace and prosperity of today’s Europe.