China, Japan dispute on maritime issues heats up in social media

Published March 24, 2021, 1:32 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Social media platform Twitter has become the new battleground for the country’s richest and powerful neighbors as accusations fly between Japan and China stemming from Beijing’s latest incursions near Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef), an area located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). 

This undated handout photo taken by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and received from the Philippine Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on March 22, 2021 shows Chinese Maritime vessels anchored at the Whitsun Reef, around 320 kilometres (175 nautical miles) west of Bataraza in Palawan in the South China Sea.
(AFP PHOTO / Philippine Coast Guard via the Philippine Communications Operations Office / FILE PHOTO)

The tweet exchanges started on Tuesday when Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko posted a statement, saying that the South China Sea issues are “directly related to peace and stability and a concern for all.”

On Wednesday, the Chinese Embassy responded sharply to the Japanese envoy’s tweet, alleging that tensions in the region are rising “because some external countries are bent on playing fusty geopolitical games.”

“It is a pity that some Asian country, which has disputes with China in the East China Sea and is driven by the selfish aim to check China’s revitalization, willingly stoops to acting as a strategic vassal of the US,” the Chinese Embassy said in a tweet. 

The Chinese Embassy continued that Japan’s despicable behavior is “inviting the wolf into the house, betrays the collective interests of the whole region and doomed to fail.”

Japan has echoed the concerns raised by the United States regarding the gathering of ‘maritime militia vessels’ near the Julian Felipe or Whitsun Reef. 

“We call on Beijing to stop using its maritime militia to intimidate and provoke others, which undermines peace and security,” said US Department of State Spokesman Ned Price. 

China and Japan are also locked in a bitter dispute over the Senkaku Islands or Diaoyu Island (Chinese name) in the East China Sea.