By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer

As has been reported in the news, there is a controversy over a chain of uninhabited islands that is being claimed by China, Japan and the Republic of China (Taiwan). These islands are reputed to have vast oil deposits and are surrounded by rich fishing grounds.

But the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, have a long history of straining relations and inspiring nationalist resentment between the two Asian neighbors, long before the issue of oil resources in the area came up.

China says the islands have been considered part of its territory since the 14th century, when it says they first appeared on Chinese maps during the Ming Dynasty. Beijing says Chinese fishermen have used the islands since ancient times.

​But Japan disputes that claim, saying it discovered the islands in 1884. After determining the islands were uninhabited, Japan annexed them in 1895 after winning the First Sino-Japanese War. China objects, saying it was forced to sign the post-war treaty that effectively handed the islands over to Japan.

To provide an independent analysis of this situation, the following excerpt from Wikipedia is being provided.

“The Senkaku Islands dispute concerns a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and as the Diaoyu (in China) or Tiaoyutai Islands (in Taiwan). Aside from a 1945 to 1972 period of administration by the United States, the archipelago has been controlled by Japan since 1895. The People's Republic of China (PRC) disputed the proposed U.S. handover of authority to Japan in 1971 and has asserted its claims to the islands since that time. The Republic of China (Taiwan) also claims the islands. The territory is close to key shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds, and there may be oil reserves in the area.

“Japan argues that it surveyed the islands in the late 19th century and found them to be Terra nullius (Latin: land belonging to no one); subsequently China acquiesced to Japanese sovereignty until the 1970s. The PRC and the ROC argue that documentary evidence prior to the First Sino-Japanese War indicates Chinese possession and that the territory is accordingly a Japanese seizure that should be returned as the rest of Imperial Japan's conquests were returned in 1945.

“Although the United States does not have an official position on the merits of the competing sovereignty claims, the islands are included within the U.S. Japan Security Treaty meaning that a defense of the islands by Japan may compel support from the United States military.

“In September 11, 2012, the Japanese government purchased the remaining three of the disputed islands that it did not already own from their private owner, prompting large-scale protests in China.”

Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senkaku_Islands_dispute for the complete article that is maintained by the Wikipedia website according to its standards.

For a more thorough discussion of this dispute, we suggest you view a video at the China Insight website at www.chinainsight.info.

Terms Of Use

Terms of Use All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher. For permission requests, contact [email protected] with subject line “Permission request.”

About

CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

CHINAINSIGHT is the only English-language American newspaper to focus exclusively on connections between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Our goal is to develop a mutual understanding of each other’s cultures and business environments and to foster U.S.-China cultural and business harmony.