Explaining the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands “dispute”

8 Comments
Distractions

Senkaku / Daiyu Islands MapIf you’re wondering why Japanese business in your neighbourhood have broken windows, or why that mob just marched by shouting anti-Japan slogans and you’ve not got the foggiest idea what the hell the “Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands” dispute is all about, Kyle, aka The Manchurian Candidate, does a damn fine job of laying it all out here.

Kyle goes into a lot more detail, but the gist is:

  • In 1894, during the first Sino-Japanese war, Japan surveyed and incorporated into Okinawa Prefecture an uninhabited and unclaimed set of islands between Okinawa and Taiwan.
  • Japan got their ass handed to them in WWII and had to give back all war-gained lands from the previous 50 years of expansionism. They didn’t hand back the islands, as there was no one to hand them back to.
  • For 30 years post-war, despite massive propaganda of Western Imperialists banging at the door, nothing was mentioned about the Japanese sovereignty of the islands.
  • In fact, both the People’s Daily in ’58 and a PRC-produced map in ’69 both refer to the islands as “Senkaku Islands in Okinawa”.
  • In 1969 oil is discovered under the islands and suddenly ears perk up.


From the post:

To be fair, let me give the Chinese side of the issue:

They are ours

Yep, that is pretty much the only thing you will hear from people to support their argument.

However, there are a few more things that people sometimes point out:

In the 1400’s-1500’s, two major books were published in China that record the sighting and naming of the islands.  This, to me, is a pretty weak supporting argument for sovereignty.

And the main argument being used is the 琉球国全图, a group of maps from the 1600’s, in which the islands had the same color as Taiwan, thus (supposedly) supporting the argument that they were considered part of Chinese territory.

The only problem with this is that the same group of maps also contains maps that show China as being about half the size it is now.  The propaganda machine has also picked up on this and pretty much blocked access to images showing anything but the area in question.

The map shows China as being nearly half the size it is now, because… well… it was made several hundred years ago, and a lot of history has passed since then.  But what China is asking the rest of the world to do is to selectively forget and erase any history from that point.  They are asking us to forget the thousands of years of the islands being uninhabited… forget the 100+ years of Japanese sovereignty… forget any historical documents that the PRC itself has published, and simply accept that the islands are “Chinese”.

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8 Comments
  1. yeah, this is a nasty subject. when it comes to territory, kittens turn to tigers. i remember an article in a taiwan government sponsored illustrated from many years ago which gave an overview over early taiwanese history. it basically said, first a portuguese ship sailed by, then the dutch came and conquered, then the spanish did away with the dutch. then, Koxinga (國姓爺, 鄭成功) (interestingly, born in 1624 in japan, to a chinese father and a japanese mother) used taiwan (like the KMT later did) as a stronghold against the manchu (who would become the last dynasty to rule china as the Qing). therefore, the article concludes, taiwan is part of china. really, digging through these things, be it the middle east, taiwan, diaoyu/senkaku or whatever islands, is as much fun as sleeping with cobras.

  2. The only sensible option, then, as no one is going to be able to decide, would be to let Taiwan take the islands (as they are the nearest). That way in reality a third party gets them and China can pretend that they belong to Taiwan ‘province’.

    • Profile photo of

      Sort of skips over the entire “Japanese sovereignty” issue though. I say that China should just buy the islands off of Japan. Do some cursory value exploration, slap a pricetag on ‘em and call it a day. China gets to call ‘em theirs, Japan can dump the otherwise useless and cankerous islands for a profit and Taiwan … well, Taiwan can continue being happy with what they’ve got. ;-)

      • Maybe…but the whole buying and selling process implies that they belonged to Japan who therefore had the right to sell them to the Chinese. Anyway, the whole thing is typical of how the Chinese currently like to view their expansionism. After all, it’s not invasion, conquest or expansion if you claim that the territory has ‘always been a rightful part of China for ever and ever, amen!’

  3. Using such nationalist logic, Italy should get back all of the Mediterranean and other parts. Maybe Turkey should get whatever it had when it called itself the Ottoman Empire. Oh wait, they tried that at one point. My bad.

    Chengdu was one of the cities in China were protesters got their game on…
    http://www.chengduliving.com/anti-japan-demonstration-ignites-chengdu/

    And perhaps Okinawa is “on the radar” as well…

    “China scholars enter Okinawa fray
    The US put Okinawa under its control after World War II on the Potsdam Declaration without any legitimate basis in international law, Xu has said. He has claimed that the abolition of the kingdom by the Meiji government in 1879, US control over Okinawa even after the war and Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty from US occupation in 1972, were all illegitimate, which in return affirmed China’s right to claim Okinawa” (Takahashi, Asia Times).

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/LJ23Dh01.html

  4. If it right for the Chinese to say in 1600 Ming dynasty discovered Senkaku then they should return the inner Mongolia back to the Mongo and Tibet back to the Tibet and it’s northern part to the Quin before they have a say on these Senkaku island, I reckon

    • Yep. Mongolia. For years ROC-Taiwan’s official map still included “Outer Mongolia” (the rough area of Mongolian People’s Republic) as part of China, claiming that the “begonia leaf” should not be missing an upper part.

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