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Fight over island heats up, China on offensive

Fight over island heats up, China on offensive
China has withdrawn all its badminton players from this week’s Japan Open, citing safety fears as ties between Beijing and Tokyo worsen over a territorial row, officials said on Tuesday.

The withdrawal leaves the Tokyo-based tournament bereft of some of the sport’s biggest names and is the latest piece of collateral damage in a dispute that has dominated regional headlines in recent weeks.

‘The BWF can confirm the Chinese contingent has withdrawn from the Japan Open,’ Thomas Lund, the Badminton World Federation’s chief operating officer, said. ‘It is unfortunate but the tournament will go on,’ he added.

An official of the Table Tennis and Badminton Centre of China’s central sporting administration said: ‘We’ve quit the Japan Open.The decision was to ensure players’ safety... so considering the intense China-Japan relations these days, we quit.’

The decision was taken last Friday, he added.

A Japanese spokesman for the tournament said China informed the BWF on 14 September that 22 players would not be competing.

The Japan Open began on Tuesday and ends on Sunday with the BWF re-drawing the men’s singles, women’s singles and men’s doubles ties after the announcement.

The Chinese Badminton Association sent a letter to the BWF saying that its players would not be competing in the eighth leg of the Super Series event, S Selvam, BWF’s Superseries marketing manager, said.

China and Japan are involved in an escalating territorial dispute over a small island chain in the East China Sea administered by Tokyo under the name Senkaku, but vehemently claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.

The withdrawal from the badminton tournament is not the first time this year that politics have infringed on sport for Japan.

A South Korean football player was barred from the medals ceremony after his team beat Japan to the bronze at the London Olympics for holding up a sign proclaiming Seoul’s sovereignty over a different set of disputed islands.

And Chinese anger towards Japan also bubbled over after the 2004 Asian Cup football final, when angry protests erupted following Japan’s 3-1 win over the hosts in Beijing.


A group of Taiwanese fishermen are planning to sail this week to a disputed archipelago in the East China Sea at the centre of a territorial row among Taiwan, China and Japan. About 60 fishing boats are expected to head for the islands Saturday. Tensions mounted after Japan announced it had purchased some of the islands


Two Japanese activists landed on the island, the government in Tokyo said. The landing came as a Chinese fisheries patrol boat sailed to waters near the islands, although it did not enter Japanese territory. The landing, the fourth by Japanese this year, came after coastguards warned away a Chinese fisheries patrol boat spotted near the islands


Eleven Chinese government ships entered waters around Japanese-administered islands on Tuesday, Japan’s coastguard said, hours after two Japanese activists swam to one of the disputed islets. None of the vessels had entered territorial waters, but all had gone into an area known under international maritime law as the contiguous zone


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