China Expands ‘Core Interests’ to Include Senkakus (Diaoyu) Islands – Currently Owned by Japan

On Jan. 17, the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s primary mouthpiece, published an angry opinion article, headlined “Don’t dare to test china’s resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.” The commentary called Japan’s attempt to name the islets “a blatant effort to harm China’s core interest.”

The comment sent Japanese government officials into a flurry of high-level meetings because “core interest” had never before been used by China regarding the islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus and China calls the Diaoyu. The  words in the past had been reserved for vital areas such as Taiwan and Tibet. The Chinese also began using “core interest” to describe disputed claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.

Coinciding with the heightened rhetoric, the Chinese government announced Jan. 21 that it soon will begin routine air patrols over its exclusive economic zone along the coast and, the Xinhua report empathetically mentioned, “areas that are being disputed with other countries” in the East China Sea.

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Inside China – Washington Times

What are China’s ‘core interests’, and what does core interest mean?

A clear signal of ‘core interests’ to the world

The phrase “core interests” has hit media headlines recently. Chinese government officials have been declaring on different occasions that Taiwan, Tibet, South China Sea and Yellow Sea are China’s national core interests. In July last year during the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, State Councilor Dai Bingguo said the core national interests of China composed of defending its fundamental systems and national security, preserving national sovereignty and unification, and maintaining the steady and sustainable development of its economy and society.

By declaring a specific issue as a core national interest, country sends a clear signal to other countries that there is no possibility and tendency to compromise the issue, which is of great importance for the country. Such a declaration, on some occasions, is a sign of defense without a route of retreat; it also can be a sign of a strategic offensive. For instance, if a country’s identity changes as its power grows, it may cease to accept another party’s policies and behavior, although the country may have swallowed the bitter fruit in the past

A clear signal of ‘core interests’to the world