The tussle between China and Japan over the ownership of islands in the East China Sea spilled over into America’s newspapers today, as the China Daily newspaper took out a double-page ad about the dispute.

A centrefold display in the New York Times — among the most expensive real estate in all of journalism —— was devoted to the standoff, which has heightened bilateral tensions and reopened old wounds over World War II.

“Diaoyu Islands... have been an inherent territory of China since ancient times, and China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands,” read the text of the newspaper advertisement purchased by the China Daily newspaper.

The ad pressed Beijing’s position that Japan had “grabbed” the islands and that they are the rightful property of China.

“China has opposed the backroom deals between the US” over the islands, read the text of the oversized advertisement, which also appeared in today’s Washington Post.

China for decades has demanded the return of the uninhabited islands — known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku in Japanese. Taiwan also claims the islands.

Beijing claims that Japan tricked China into signing a treaty ceding the islands in 1895.

Tokyo says its Government began surveying the islands in 1885 and found them unoccupied with “no trace of having been under the control of China.”

(This article was published on September 29, 2012)
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