World Bulletin/News Desk
China's Foreign Ministry said it would continue to take "necessary measures" to safeguard its sovereignty over a number of disputed islands in the East China Sea after Japan said it was considering a plan to "buy" them from private landowners.
The uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, have long been the centre of maritime territorial disputes between China and its neighbours, all of which cite historical and other claims over fishing areas and potentially rich gas deposits.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Saturday that the government was considering buying the islands, situated in potentially gas rich territory claimed by both Japan and China, in a move likely to anger Beijing.
"No one will ever be permitted to buy and sell China's sacred territory," Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement issued late on Saturday on the ministry's website, www.mfa.gov.cn.
"China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly uphold its sovereignty over the Diaoyu island and its affiliated islands,"
Liu reiterated the islands had been part of Chinese territory since ancient times and China's sovereignty over them was grounded in an indisputable historical and legal basis.
Earlier this year, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara proposed using public funds to buy the islands from private owners, prompting Beijing to denounce the plan as illegal and reassert its sovereignty.
Diplomatic ties between Beijing and Tokyo hit a low point in 2010 after Japan's arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain.
In 2008, Beijing and Tokyo agreed in principle to jointly develop gas fields near the islands, but progress has been slow and Japan has accused China of drilling for gas in violation of the deal.
Since mid-October, Peshmerga have withdrawn from vast majority of ‘disputed’ parts of Iraq, Kurdish official says
Final Istanbul communique calls on world to recognize East Jerusalem ( Al-Quds) as occupied capital of Palestinian state
Nearly 63 percent of 2,000 American participants oppose moving US Embassy to Jerusalem, survey indicates
Tensions continue to mount in occupied territories following US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Defeat leaves Republicans with razor thin 51-49 majority in Senate
President Donald Trump has not changed his position on North Korea but does not oppose efforts to initiate talks
'Trump you failed to protect your nation,' Akayed Ullah allegedly wrote on Facebook
Vast areas have been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated and thousands of firefighters are working around the clock.
Trade dispute ends Boeing’s CAN$19 billion bid to replace aging CF-18s fighters
One third of those detained are minors, Palestinian activists say
ISIL has recently suffered a string of defeats in Iraq and Syria
Turkish deputy premier says some leading Greek Cypriots say they would prefer to 'drink poison' than use Turkish water
'I want to shoot a movie in Jerusalem when it is liberated,' says Nawras Abu Saleh
After meeting in Ottawa with officials from the nation's 10 provinces and three territories, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he has agreed to give the provinces 75 percent of the monies.
Maduro's ruling socialists triumphed as expected in mayoral polls Sunday, taking 300 of the country's 335 mayorships after a boycott by the main opposition parties.
US president revises space agency’s policy, undoing Obama’s concentration on Mars