Diaoyu Island Dispute

Japanese call the island group near as Senkaku Islands whereas Chinese call these islands as Diaoyu Islands. For many years, the two countries have been arguing who the sovereignty of the islands is, but so far, they do not have any conclusion who should possess the islands. This year, at April, the governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara organizes a event to refund in order to buy the Diaoyu Islands of japan. Later on the government take over the event, they try to nationalize the Islands.
The above action course some Hongkongers went to the islands and wanted to tell the world that Diaoyu Island belongs to China. After the incident, many Chinese, including those who live in China and Taiwan, came out and had mass demonstration. Due to this unexpected event, this sensitive topic becomes the major discussion between the government of Chinese and Japan. When we want to discuss this issue, we should insight into the history of the islands. Diaoyu island was first recorded on the Chinese book: Voyage with a Tail Wind. Since then, the Ming and Qing Dynasty were controlling the islands until 1895.
After the First Sino-Japanese War, according to the ‘Treaty of Shimonoseki’ in 1895, the Taiwan islands and its islands group were ceded to Japan, but the treaty didn’t include Diaoyu Islands. However, Diaoyu islands were still being controlled by the Imperial Japan and became a part of Ryukyu Islands. After WWII, according to the ‘Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers Instruction Note, No. 677’: ‘For the purpose of this directive, Japan is defined to include the four main islands of Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku) and the approximately 1,000 smaller adjacent islands’.

The territories of Japan will only be the 4 main islands and 1,000 small islands, which were not included Diaoyu Island. However, after the WWII both the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China did not specify Diaoyu islands as a part of the Chinese territory. In 1972, when the Unites States handover Ryukyu Islands came back to Japan, they also handovered the administrative jurisdiction of Diaoyu Island to the Japan government. Owing to the above historical background, both countries, China and Japan, believe in their own version about the sovereignty of the islands and refuse the other’s version.
To understand political as power in the Diaoyu islands dispute, Countries that involved: Chinese, Japan and Unites States has demonstrated different faces of power. In the face of ‘Power as decision-making’: This face of power consists of conscious actions that in some way influence the content of decisions. , use Chinese as an example, when every time japan wants to do anything related to the sovereign of Diaoyu Island, like setting up a lighthouse, sending some scientist to Islands, or even recently, nationalize the islands, Chinese government will use there power to affect the Japanese government.
Look the action that takes in this time, Chinese tightening customs inspections from Japan as a kind of economic sanctions towards japan. And also many of Chinese traveler cancelled their trip to Japan, will give a big hit to the Japan tourism. With these actions, the Chinese government showed their power to influence the content of decisions. The other face of power is ‘Power as agenda setting’, the ability to set to set or controls the political agenda. Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the Unites States and Japan’ make sure that if some countries have conflict or at war with Japan, the Unites States will help to protect the Japan. So it makes that the Chinese can’t have a very strong action to fight for the Diaoyu islands. The protection promised by the Unites States to the Japanese, actually set up a line that stop Chinese government to take a further action on fighting back there right. What makes the Chinese or the Japanese believe in their own version about the sovereignty of the islands in dispute and reject that of the Japanese or the Chinese?
As the sociologist Max Weber defined that, sovereignty is a community’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force. From the Chinese’s viewpoint, Chinese always restate that Diaoyu islands belong to China since the ancient time. They believe their own version because since 1403, the book Voyage with a Tail Wind, and the book: Record of the Imperial Envoy’s Visit to Ryukyu in 1534 is the very first record of the islands. Since then, the Chinese Imperial Map of Ming identified Island group name as Diaoyu, which mean fishing is Chinese and these advance prove that Diaoyu islands should be a part of China.
Also as even it is not a part of ceded lands of Treaty of Shimonoseki but according to Potsdam Declaration japan should give up the control of all islands except for “the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine”. The Chinese government believes that Japan is now illegally to control the island, so Diaoyu Islands should be handovered back to China. On the other hand, In the Japanese point of view, although Diaoyu islands were found by Chinese, the islands were not effectively governed by the Chinese government.
Also after the sign of ‘Treaty of Shimonoseki’ in 1895, even though the control of Diaoyu islands wasn’t covered in the treaty, the Japanese has already effectively governed the islands. Moreover, after WWII, according to the ‘Treaty of Peace with Japan’, The Unites States temporarily take the control of the Ryukyu Islands. As Diaoyu islands are a part of the Ryukyu Islands, when Unites States handovered Ryukyu Islands to japan, Chinese government didn’t disagree, so Diaoyu Islands should be remain as a part of Japanese.
However, the reason I think that why Japanese/Chinese reject others version, is mainly because the Diaoyu islands problem is not just simply the sovereign of a land. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Exclusive economic zones (EEZs) extend from the edge of the territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles from the baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. Base on this law, if Diaoyu islands are really a part of japan, the EEZ of Japan will be very close to the coast of Taiwan and Mainland.
This will definitely affect the economic interest of China. Furthermore, in 1969, the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) identified a huge among of potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the Diaoyu Islands. If who control there, that country will have the long-term energy source. As Japan itself doesn’t have enough resources for it own use, that huge amount of resources should be very attractive to Japan. So the dispute is not just the sovereign or nationalism. I believe the dispute will be resolved politically instead of militarily.
First, if Japan and Chinese use there military power to resolved the dispute, the economic and both county will be damaged. War is an event that consumes a lot of recourses, money, fuel, food etc. A country has to put itself to prepare the war; as a result the country will put lack affect on other area of event. The economic of Japan was in a downturn of many years; a war for Japan may give them a big hit which they can’t handle. As the effect of globalization, on the other hand, if Japan economic collapse, the Chinese economic will also be damage.
On the other hand, although ECAFE identified a huge among of potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the Diaoyu Islands, military action, or war take a lot of resources. Even we know that there may be so much potential oil and gas under Diaoyu islands, but it may actually not deserve to put money on the unknowable resources. In the side of global relation, Chinese will not indicate a war to Japan, as the Unites States will involve in the war. In 1960, Japan signed ‘Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the Unites States and Japan’ with Unites States.
The treaty stated that: Either side get military attack on the territory of Japan controls will be deemed to endanger the safety of the other. In the dispute of Diaoyu Islands the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs restated that Diaoyu Islands were under the Japan’s effective control, the treaty will protect it. It means that, if the PLA attack or occupied the islands, according to the treaty, Unites States have it right to send there troops and participate the war. Chinese government may not have power to fight the country with strongest military power.
As the result, Chinese also will resolve the problem militarily. In this dispute, we can see the nationalism demonstrated in both countries. On China, after those Hongkongers landed on the Diaoyu Islands, and captured by the Japan Coast Guard. Many different cities in China started to many demonstrate to oppose Japanese’s action. How every these huge demonstrate soon became Irrational violence, people damage cars that made from japan, rob restaurants or stores that related to Japanese, even it was owned by Chinese. Some of these thugs even tried to damage or even enter the Embassy of Japan.
Also I this time of demonstrate, the slogans that used were no longer just about ‘Not to buy’, but something’s like: ‘War with Japan! ’ ‘Step in to Tokyo! ’ But the strangest thing is that, these slogans were seen at different cities, but not one. All these were like planned to happen. The above cases can be seen as some kind of expansionist nationalism, as these actions tend to project another nation/race as an enemy. On Japan, after the landing of Hongkongers, 50 members of the Japanese Right-wing politics group included 8 member of National Die landed Diaoyu Island again to restates the Japan sovereign of there.
On the other hand, these Japanese Right-wing politics group also organize a demonstrate to oppose Chinese’s action, similar to the one in China, they all clam that the Islands are their land, and they are not welcome the Chinese. Also on both countries’ Internet forum, we can see a lot of post or comments about the dispute. Many of those incite the hatred between two races, this also one of example that we can see the expansionist nationalism.
Reference:

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