Thursday, November 28, 2013

Brief introduction to Daioyu Islands (Senkaku) dispute

The 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, signed after China was defeated by Japan in a war.

The agreement ceded Taiwan and parts of the Liaodong peninsula to Japan, and China paid a fine and renounced Korea’s tributary status to China. 

The scholars argued that the treaty was nullified with Japan’s defeat in World War II, and that this called into question Japan’s claim to the Ryukyus and not just Daioyu Islands. 

See Also:

Independence  for the Ryukyu Islands

Victor Gao, Director of the China National Association of International Studies on Daioyu Islands

Japan seems to ignore the fact that it has demarcated a similar identification zone in the East China Sea for years, and has expanded this zone over the years. In fact, the western-most line of Japan's zone stretches all the way to China and is only about 135km (84 miles) from China's coast at the closest point.

China's position

  • Islands have been part of its territory since ancient times, serving as important fishing grounds administered by the province of Taiwan
  • Taiwan was ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, after the Sino-Japanese war
  • When Taiwan was returned in the Treaty of San Francisco, China says the islands - as part of it - came with it
  • China also cites the Cairo and Potsdam declarations, under which Japan was ordered to return territory taken from China

In recent years, Japan has on many occasions scrambled fighter planes to warn off Chinese planes when they entered the Japanese zone, as if the zone were Japan's territorial space. In a sense, China's announcement of an identification zone is in response to Japan's abusive use of its zone to start with.

It is important to note that the Chinese and Japanese zones overlap to a large extent. Therefore, both nations need to handle themselves carefully and prudently to avoid any miscalculations or unintended consequences.

However, the fundamental reason for the deterioration of relations between Japan and its two important neighbours, China and South Korea, is because Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and many Japanese politicians still refuse to acknowledge war atrocities.

They deny the existence of the Nanjing Massacre, they claim the Korean sex slaves worked voluntarily, they continue to worship at the Yasukuni Shrine. They also want to abandon the peace commitment set out in the Japanese constitution, and rearm.

Although Japan is doing its utmost to tie the United States to its bandwagon, China and the US are significantly increasing their military co-operation and strategic dialogue.

 After all, China and the US shed blood together to defeat Japan in WWII, and, with increasing dialogue and confidence-building measures between Beijing and Washington, it is highly unlikely that the US will shed blood to encourage or even to protect a militarising Japan.

China is urging Japan to unequivocally renounce the war atrocities and come back to the negotiating table regarding the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.

China and Japan can only resolve this dispute through peaceful negotiations. Recognising the territorial dispute and coming back to the negotiating table is the only sensible choice for Japan.

Note :

Victor Gao  is Director of the China National Association of International Studies, linked to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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