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China's lines around islands on map could make more conflict with Japan

China Japan Mapping T_Angu.jpg

Sept. 19, 2012: In this photo, a costumer picks copies of newly-published maps of disputed islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, at a state-owned book store in Beijing, China. (AP)

One of the hottest items in bookstores across China is a map for a place that is closed to visitors, home only to animals such as goats and crabs, and the reason China's relations with Japan are at their lowest point in years.

China calls them the Diaoyus; Japan, the Senkakus. The map shows a kidney-shaped main island with splotches of green, and a list of 70 affiliated "islands" that are really half-submerged rocks.

China published the map amid outrage over Japan's purchase of some of the islands, and has engaged in another type of mapmaking that may escalate the conflict.

It has drawn territorial markers around the islands and submitted them to the U.N. That could generate more serious attempts to claim the islands and valuable ocean around them.