WASHINGTON--Two of the world's leading newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, printed double-page opinion ads in Sept. 28 editions titled "Diaoyu Islands belong to China."
This was in reference to sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, a matter that is being hotly disputed by Japan and China.
The five uninhabited islands in the East China Sea are called Diaoyu by China. They are administered by Japan and claimed by both China and Taiwan.
China Daily, a China-based English-language newspaper, sponsored the ads, which both show a photo and a map of the Senkaku Islands to bolster China's position on the territorial dispute.
The ads argue that the name Diaoyu Island, the largest of the group--called Uotsurishima in Japan--is found in a book published in 1403, which shows that China had discovered and named it by the 14th and 15th centuries.
China asserts that Diaoyu Island was seized by Japan during the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 but returned to China after World War II.
"Japan's so-called 'nationalization' of Diaoyu Island severely infringes upon China's sovereignty and rejects and challenges the outcomes of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War," the ad text says.
Japan purchased three of the Senkaku Islands, including Uotsurishima, from a private landowner on Sept. 11.
Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the United States, criticized the U.S. dailies during a news conference Sept. 28.
"It is misleading to give a major focus to one-sided arguments of one of the contenders at a time when the issue is creating a major problem between the two countries," Fujisaki said. "It is inappropriate to print arguments of just one side that are not in line with the facts."
The Japanese Embassy in Washington and the Japanese Consulate General in New York filed protests with both newspapers, citing factual errors.
Washington Post officials denied that the newspaper supports the ad content and said they will take notice of the fact that the Japanese government filed a protest, sources said.
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