Beijing on Monday warned Tokyo against any further sovereignty infringement, as Tokyo confirmed its final plan to "nationalize" China's Diaoyu Islands within the month.
Analysts sounded alarm over Japan's accelerating pace of fanning bilateral spats over territorial issues, saying Tokyo's recent messages to Beijing about cooling tensions may be regard as just a "cover" for its true intentions.
Japanese Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Monday confirmed that Tokyo is now "in the final stages" of reaching a deal to "buy" part of the Diaoyu Islands from a so-called private owner by the end of September, Kyodo News Agency reported.
Tokyo on Sunday said it has entered the final phase of negotiations, and it will cost Japan 2.05 billion yen ($26.18 million), yet the date of the deal remains unknown.
Fujimura's remark came one day after a survey group arrived in waters near the islands in the East China Sea on Monday morning to conduct an illegal survey.
The survey has prompted a solemn protest from Beijing. "Any unilateral move of the Japanese side over the Diaoyu Islands is illegal and invalid," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday at a daily news conference.
Hong warned that Tokyo's actions, which aim to enhance its illegal rival claim over the islands by "nationalizing" them, will be "in vain".
Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Japanese studies and vice-dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, said the Japanese government has turned a blind eye to the so-called survey on Sunday, which was an intrusion in China's territorial waters and seriously infringed China's sovereignty.
"Tokyo is trying to beef up its reach to the islands by any possible and available approach while trying to avoid major damage to overall China-Japan ties," Liu warned.
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