China launches website on disputed islands

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SHAFAQNA- Beijing has launched a website for an uninhabited island chain in the East China Sea, in its latest bid to assert sovereignty over an archipelago controlled by Japan.

The new website, www.diaoyudao.org.cn, was unveiled Tuesday by China’s National Marine Data and Information Service.

Featuring a Chinese flag on its front page, the site displays legal documents, maps and a timeline dating back to 1403, the year Beijing claims the islands’ Mandarin name first appeared in writings.

The documents on the website “provide strong evidence, from both a historical and legal perspective, that the Diaoyu Islands are China’s inherent territory since ancient times”, the official Xinhua news agency wrote.

It added that the site, which is currently available only in Chinese, will soon be launched in at least seven other languages, including Japanese.

Beijing and Tokyo have been engaged in a bitter and longstanding battle over ownership of the island chain, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

The dispute was exacerbated when Japan nationalised some of the archipelago nearly two years ago, and the sea and air around the contested isles have seen increasingly dangerous standoffs since then.

Tokyo sought to further its claim to the territory in August by naming five of the islands, an act decried by Beijing as “illegal and invalid”.

Japan’s foreign ministry website already has a section on the islands, available in 12 languages.

“There is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law,” it says.

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