Chinese activists have protested against Japan’s recent purchase of a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea from their private owners. Tens of Chinese protesters have gathered in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing, chanting anti-Tokyo slogans. The protesters accused Washington of fueling the row. They also called on the world to boycott Japanese products.
The protests follow reports from Japan’s public broadcaster NHK announcing that the country had purchased the islands claimed by both sides, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.China dispatched patrol ships to the area following the move by Japan. Tokyo and Beijing have long been competing over the sovereignty of the islands, which would give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in surrounding waters. China, however, does not recognize the ownership of the Japanese Kurihara family. In August, tensions heightened after Japan arrested 14 Chinese nationals when they landed on one of the islands to voice their opposition against Japan’s ownership of the islands. Analysts say Tokyo has been enjoying Washington’s support in its island dispute with China, because Japan represents the regional interests of the United States. SZH/JR/AZ