TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japan's Ishigaki City Council passed the proposal to change the administrative designation of the Diaoyutai Islands from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku on Monday (June 22), despite a torrent of protests from Taiwan and China in recent weeks.
The name change proposed by the Ishigaki City Government on June 6 was aimed to streamline the administrative divisions since the name Tonoshiro was used both for the Diaoyutai Islands and certain regions on Ishigaki Island. In reality, the proposal has had the effect of increasing tensions in the East China Sea, as both Taiwan and China also claim sovereignty over the islets.
According to The Sankei News, the proposed name change signifies that Japan has de facto control over the disputed territories. However, some city councilors in Ishigaki rejected the move, worrying it would worsen Japan's relations with Taiwan and China.
The city council committee had reached a tie during the vote on June 11 before its chairman decided to push the proposal forward.
To counteract Japan's unilateral decision, Taiwan's Yilan County Council passed a motion on June 11, which called for the name of the Diaoyutai Islands to be changed to the Toucheng Diaoyutai Islands.
Meanwhile, China's top legislators on June 20 passed an amendment to the Law on the People's Armed Police Force, which tasks the Chinese People's Armed Police Force (PAP) with conducting patrols and maritime law enforcement. The Chinese Coast Guard, as part of the PAP, will drill with the marines from now on and cooperate with them in the event of war to beef up China's presence in the East China Sea, CNA said.
Until June 20, ships from the China Coast Guard had been sailing in the vicinity of the Diaoyutai Islands for more than 65 days.