Monday, October 25, 2010

The Senkaku Islands - 钓鱼台群岛 or 尖閣諸島?

The Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島), also known as the Diaoyu Islands or Diaoyutai Islands (钓鱼台群岛;釣魚台群島) or the Pinnacle Islands, are a group of disputed uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. They are located roughly northeast of Taiwan, due west of Okinawa, and due north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands.

Japan controlled these islands from 1895 until her surrender at the end of World War II. The United States administered them as part of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands from 1945 until 1972, when they were reverted to Japan. Since 1971, they have been claimed by both the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China. China has claimed discovery and administration between 16th century or earlier until 1895.

The islands are a major issue in foreign relations between Japan and the PRC and between Japan and the ROC. Despite the complexity of relations between the two states, both the governments of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and People's Republic of China agree that the islands are part of Taiwan as part of Toucheng Township in Yilan County. The Japanese government regards these islands as a part of Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture.

(source: wikipedia)

Chinese views on Diaoyu Islands or Diaoyutai Islands (钓鱼台群岛)

The first recorded name of the islands, Diaoyu, used in books such as Voyage with a Tail Wind ( 顺风相送; 順風相送) and Record of the Imperial Envoy's Visit to Ryūkyū (使琉球录;使琉球錄) date to 1403 and 1534, respectively. Adopted by the Chinese Imperial Map of the Ming Dynasty, both the Chinese name for the island group (Diaoyu) and the Japanese name for the main island (Uotsuri) both literally mean "angling".

According to China, Chinese historical records detailing the discovery and geographical feature of these islands date back to the year 1403. For several centuries they have been administered as part of Taiwan and have always been used exclusively by Chinese fishermen as an operational base. In 1874, Japan took Liu Chiu Islands from China by force. Diaoyutai, however, remained under the administration Taiwan, a part of China. Taiwan (including Diaoyutai) was ceded to Japan in 1895 after the first Sino-Japanese War. Originally, during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, the Diaoyutai Archipelago came under the jurisdiction of Taipei Prefecture. After the close of the Second World War, when U.S. troops were stationed on the Ryukyu and Diaoyutai Archipelagoes, the KMT government which had received Taiwan did not immediately demand that that the US give them sovereignty. Diaoyutai was returned to China at the end of World War II in 1945 based upon the 1943 agreement of the Big Three in Cairo. Diaoyutai was part of Taiwan hence was included in that package.

China argues that Okinotorishima island, the southernmost island in the Japanese archipelago, is merely a rock, not an island, in an attempt to nullify Japan's claim of an exclusive economic zone around the small island, which is under Tokyo jurisdiction. The Chinese said they had "differences of opinion," citing Okinotorishima and the Senkaku Islands. While Beijing acknowledges that Okinotorishima belongs to Japan, it stressed that it did not fall under the classification of an island as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, but is instead a rock, which cannot be used to designate an exclusive economic zone, as the Japanese government has done.


Japan's view on The Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島)

In the 1880’s, Japan conducted surveys of the Senkaku Islands and determined that they were uninhabited and officially claimed by no nation. They were formally annexed in 1895. The above photo shows a small katsuobushi factory that was built on on one of the islands and used from 1895 to 1940. During that period, a small number of Japanese lived and worked in the Senkakus.

Japan claims the islands as official Japanese territory in 1895. From 1885 on, surveys of the Senkaku Islands had been thoroughly made by the Government of Japan through the agencies of Okinawa Prefecture and by way of other methods. Through these surveys, it was confirmed that the Senkaku Islands had been uninhabited and showed no trace of having been under the control of China. Based on this confirmation, the Government of Japan made a Cabinet Decision on 14 January 1895 to erect a marker on the Islands to formally incorporate the Senkaku Islands into the territory of Japan. Since then, the Senkaku Islands have continuously remained as an integral part of the Nansei Shoto Islands which are the territory of Japan. These islands were neither part of Taiwan nor part of the Pescadores Islands which were ceded to Japan from the Qing Dynasty of China in accordance with Article II of the Treaty of Shimonoseki which came into effect in May of 1895. Accordingly, the Senkaku Islands are not included in the territory which Japan renounced under Article II of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. They came under US control after World War II. The United States kept that group of small islets for occasional bombing practice targets, largely for its Liu Chiu based Air Force. Japan claimed that the Diaoyutai Islands are part of Liu Chiu. The Senkaku Islands have been placed under the administration of the United States of America as part of the Nansei Shoto Islands, in accordance with Article III of the said treaty, and are included in the area, the administrative rights over which were reverted to Japan in accordance with the Agreement Between Japan and the United States of America Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands signed on 17 June 1971. The facts outlined herein clearly indicate the status of the Senkaku Islands being part of the territory of Japan. According to Japan, the fact that China expressed no objection to the status of the Islands being under the administration of the United States under Article III of the San Francisco Peace Treaty clearly indicates that China did not consider the Senkaku Islands as part of Taiwan. It was not until the latter half of 1970, when the question of the development of petroleum resources on the continental shelf of the East China Sea came to the surface, that the Government of China and Taiwan authorities began to raise questions regarding the Senkaku Islands.


In 1900, when Tsune Kuroiwa, a teacher at the Okinawa Prefecture Normal School, visited the islands, he adopted the name Senkaku Retto (尖阁列岛; 尖閣列島;), literally Pinnacle Islands, to refer the whole island group, based on the British name. The first official document recording the name Senkaku Retto was by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nihon Gaiko Monjo (日本外交文書, Documents on Japanese Foreign Relations) in the 1950s. In Japanese, Sentō Shosho (尖頭諸嶼?) and Senkaku Shosho (尖閣諸嶼?) were translations used for these "Pinnacle Islands" by various Japanese sources. Subsequently, the entire island group (including Uotsuri Jima/Diaoyu Dao and all the others) came to be called Senkaku Rettō, which later evolved into Senkaku Shotō.

In 1920, a Chinese boat was shipwrecked in the area. They were rescued and returned to China by the Japanese. In an official letter from the Chinese government’s Nagasaki consulate thanking the Japanese, the islands are referred to as “the Senkaku Islands, Yaeyama district, Okinawa Prefecture, in the Empire of Japan.” The letter uses the official Japanese name for the islands directly states that they are Japanese territory.

A dispute on Senkakus Islands between China and Japan; what do you think? Is it Diaoyu Islands or Diaoyutai Islands(钓鱼台群岛)owned by China/Taiwan? or Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島) owned by Japan? It was an uninhabited island, but why now there is a dispute?

In 1969, a report by the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) indicated the possibility of large reserves of oil in the vicinity of the Diaoyutai Archipelago. This report set off a political dispute between Taiwan, China and Japan which has been going on now for over thirty years.

In 1969, when the Okinawa Reversion Treaty was signed between the US and Japan, it included the Diaoyutai Islands. Since then Japan insists repeatedly that the islet group is part of Japan's territory. The Senkaku Islands have been under the administrative control of the Government of Japan since, having been returned as part of the reversion of Okinawa. On April 9, 1971, the U.S. State Department issued a statement that President Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Sato Eisaku had reached an agreement, by which the US would return Okinawa and the "South-western islands" which included the Senkaku, to Japan, in 1972.

Japan has objected to Chinese development of natural gas resources in the East China Sea in an area where the two countries Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims overlap. Japan claims a division of the EEZ on the median line between the countries' coastlines. About 40,000 square kilometers of EEZ are in dispute. China and Japan both claim 200 nautical miles EEZ rights, but the East China Sea width is only 360 nautical miles. China claims an EEZ extending to the eastern end of the Chinese continental shelf which goes deep into the Japanese EEZ beyond the median line.

According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea the stipulation, should act according to the fair principle development negotiations, seeks means which both sides both can accept. When there is disagreement on the demarcation of EEZs between any countries, the law stipulates that the parties concerned should avoid anything that could undermine an eventual agreement. China's gas field drilling near the median line between the two countries is regarded by Japan as an obvious infringement of the spirit of this law. Tokyo's proposal, which has not been accepted by Beijing, has been to divide the sea equally between the two countries, which would put China's Chunxiao claim only three miles from Japanese territory. China's offers to jointly develop the oil field have been rebuffed.

The specific development in dispute is China's drilling in the Chunxiao field, which is three miles west of the median line, but which Japan contends may be tapping natural gas reserves which extend past the median line. The Chunxiao gas field in Xihu Sag in the East China Sea is estimated to hold reserves of more than 1.6 tcf of natural gas and is expected to become a major producer in the next ten years. Commercial operation was expected to begin in mid-2005 at a production rate of 70 bcf per year, rising to 282 bcf by 2010. Sinopec Star has reserves of 7 tcf of gas, 1.9 tcf of which is held in the Chunxiao area. China has proven reserves of natural gas of about 53.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf). Most of China's gas fields are in the the western and north-central parts of the country, though offshore basins are becoming increasingly important.


Another question, if The Senkaku Islands is part of Ryukyu Kingdom; did Japan has legal ownership on Ryukyu Kingdom, an independent kingdom, which was only a vassal state of both Japan and China. Is the return of Ryukyu Islands(now Okinawa) and Senkaku islands by USA, which ruled the islands as trustee or custodian for Ryukyu people or international communities after the WW2, is the return legally correct? Why Japan controlled these islands "only from 1895" until her surrender at the end of World War II, what happen before 1895?...Before 1895, Japan was not the owner of Ryukyu and Sekaku Islands?.... In 1879 Japan replaces the Ryūkyū han with Okinawa Prefecture, formally annexing the islands. King Shō Tai (尚泰?) is given the title of marquis (侯爵?) and removed to Tokyo. Before 1879, Ryukyu Islands was owned by Ryukyu Kingdom,a political independent country which was a tributary of Imperial China's Qing Dynasty.If Senkaku Islands were part of Ryukyu Kingdom, it cannot be part of Japan before 1879, otherwise the King Sho Tai of Ryukyu Kingdom cannot be imprisoned in Tokyo,Japan..... if Senkaku islands is owned by Ryukyu kingdom, it is not owned by Japan. Then historian need to check on ancient documents, did Senkaku Islands owned by Ryukyu kingdom to find the clue.....

If it is part of Taiwan, it is owned by China(either Republic of China or People Republic of China). Japan had sought to control Taiwan since 1592, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi began extending Japanese influence overseas. The Qing Dynasty was defeated in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and Taiwan and Penghu were ceded in full sovereignty to the Empire of Japan. Inhabitants wishing to remain Qing subjects were given a two-year grace period to sell their property and move to mainland China. Japan ocupied Taiwan and Sekaku Islands from the victory of First Sino-Japanese War, this reflected that Taiwan and Sekaku was part of territories of Qing Dynasty, otherwise there was no necessity for Japan to sent military forces since 1592 to conquer Taiwan and Sekaku Islands......In 1616, Murayama Toan led an unsuccessful invasion of the island. Historian will tell us what is the meaning of "invasion"?

"An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by "another such entity", generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory, forcing the partition of a country, altering the established government or gaining concessions from said government, or a combination thereof".

Then who owned the Taiwan and Senkaku Islands, another such entity, another geopolitical entity called Qing Kingdom, or Imperial China......

The Treaty of Shimonoseki (下関条約, "Shimonoseki Jōyaku"), known as the Treaty of Maguan ( 马关条约;馬關條約) in China, was signed at the Shunpanrō hall on April 17, 1895, between the Empire of Japan and Qing Empire of China, ending the First Sino-Japanese War. The peace conference took place from March 20 to April 17, 1895.Japanese Soldiers Entering Taipei City in 1895 after the Treaty of Shimonoseki, and began the era of Japanese occupation of Taiwan. The Cairo Conference from 22 to 26 November 1943 in Cairo, Egypt was held to address the Allied position against Japan during World War II, and to make decisions about postwar Asia. One of the three main clauses of the Cairo Declaration was that "all the territories Japan has stolen from China, including Manchuria, Taiwan and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China'. On 25 October 1945, the US Navy ferried ROC troops to Taiwan in order to accept the formal surrender of Japanese military forces in Taipei (then called Taihoku). General Rikichi Andō, governor-general of Taiwan and commander-in-chief of all Japanese forces on the island, signed the instrument of surrender and handed it over to General Chen Yi of the RoC military to complete the official turnover. Chen Yi proclaimed that day to be "Retrocession Day of Taiwan".

If Senkaku Islands is part of Taiwan, it is legally owned by China(Republic of China/People Republic of China).

Can Japan be rightful owner that USA(not the owner and had no legal right to act unilaterally) need to return the islands under their trustee to them???? Did the islands include Senkaku Islands?...The United States administered them as part of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands from 1945, it was the agreement after WW2 of all victor nations, which included China, which represented the world institution or international communities. USA was only an agent or trustee or custodian. Did USA consulted with the world institution or international community on the action as she was only an agent/trustee for the principal(is it Ryukyu people or the former owner of the islands before 1895?) under the act or agreement?; where is the human right of Ryukyu people? only international law expert will provide the answer. Obviously, there is no logic.....

Some critic was argued on the wording of the surrender declaration or written order,or General Order No. 1, issued on of Sept. 2, 1945, or whatever written documents. Being an English speaking nation, when the Surrender of Japanese was taken place in 1945, whatever agreement, treaty, articles, orders or any written documents were all in English, like an experienced lawyer the wordings can be used for intended hidden political agenda of the interest party who know English well; any party not aware of the actual wordings will suffered from later legal complication, and in international law. The document must be drafted by USA within a short span of time, where there was no chance for deep study by other countries. But under the law of equity, Taiwan was part of China, it was forcefully occupied by Japan under the unfair treaty after the war, an act of military invasion of territory, as evidenced by The Treaty of Shimonoseki, rightfully the territory should be returned to the rightful owner, not to the agent or any party, whatsoever was written or silence in the surrender agreement or treaty.....If Senkaku Islands is part of Taiwan, it is part of China. It is a undeniable historical fact.

The worst argument is some claimed that Taiwan's "territorial sovereignty is held by the US Military Government" because the US, as Japan's "conqueror" in World War II, was the "principal occupying power" of Taiwan. That may be the ultimate hidden agenda of some party.....Based on this argument, Senkaku Islands is USA's post war territory?.... what a joke...

The ultimate reason, of course is because of oil discovery, and the territories of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).....otherwise an win-win agreement can easily reached by both parties for a deserted islets.

Finally, historically who was having past records of aggressors, occupiers and frequently having wars to acquire other geopolitical entity until WW2, and specifically so for land far from the home ....not only neighboring countries. There was a strategic war plan to expand their territories. Ironically, Japan is also having territory dispute with Korea(The Liancourt Rocks, called Dokdo), Russia(The Kuril Islands dispute),not only China and Taiwan.

The issue is further complicated by the involvement of outside party. What is USA to do with the dispute, a country far away?......there is a military pact with Japan, a country far from her interest party who return Ryukyu Islands to Japan, the country which is still having air force base at Okinawa...USA is far from Japan and China, what is the role she played in the dispute, historically and politically after WW2 and during the cold war?....????....Are we still in the cold war era?...that is still the perception of the USA. The current domestic political situation in the USA will further activate the foreign policy and military strategy of the US in East Asia, and Senkaku Islands issue. Ironically, the issue of Taiwan would have been settled as domestic affairs like Germany, Vietnam; if there is no external party involvement during the cold war and even today. The new cold war era may have developed by USA as their perception strategy....

Senkaku Island issue is not a simple territorial issue, it involves history, economy, politic, militarism, armament industry, petrol money, global military and political power, and image of a nation.

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