Historical findings on the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands dispute
This chronicle is an extension of Island disputes in Southeast Asia (2012)
focusing on the Senkaku-Diaoyu island dispute
||RELATED INFORMATION FOR READERS
SOME FINDINGS FINALLY
- "Diaoyu Dao, an inherent territory of China" (135KB) (see original link) - history of the Diaoyu islands since as early as 1372 and long before 1885, the year the Japanese claimed they first annexed the island - State Council Information Office, The People's Republic of China (2012/09/29)
I would say this is one carefully written piece of a historical account of the background of the Diaoyu Islands - a must read indeed.
No doubt the Diaoyu belonged once to the Chinese.
See also "The inconvenient truth behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands" by Taiwanese scholar, Han-Yi Shaw - New York Times (2012/09/19)
- "Basic view on the sovereignty over the Senkaku islands" (152KB) (see original link) - Japan's rebuttal against the Chinese white paper; issue no longer domestic but a matter of national stability - MOFA (2012/09/30)
MOFA's (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) document also included four pieces of more recent evidence, including:
Image: Letter of appreciation from the consul of the Republic of China in Nagasaki, dated May 20, 1919. Retrieved from MOFA statement on the Senkakus. Readers should note that Taiwan was colonized by Japan during 1895-1945.
- "Letter of appreciation from the consul of the Republic of China in Nagasaki 1919" (162KB) - addressing the Senkaku islands as part of the Okinawa Prefecture
- "Battle of people in the Ryukyu Islands against U.S. occupation" (200KB), an article published in China's People's Daily 1953, addressing the island as Senkaku
- Republic of China (Nationalist China before 1949) map in 1933 (380KB) - showing the Senkakus as part of Japan
- People's Republic of China (Communist China after 1949) map in 1960 (169KB) - still showing the Senkakus as part of Japan
Japan's MOFA, in my opinion, took advantage of the carelessness of the Chinese atlas makers and the ignorance of the Imperial Qing Chinese (as well as the Nationalists and later the Communists) in international law to their own benefits.
The Chinese, quite obviously, did not effectively exercise or have not even officially alleged their claim over their rightful ownership of the islands after WWII (some skeptics say they did it on purpose).
But given Japan's prolonged occupation of and control over the islands, would it eventually be taken for granted as rightful ownership? I do sympathize with China's situation but I honestly doubt if the Chinese could ever take the islands back.
- And while the Chinese is right focusing on Japan's right-wing, they are still lurking on the 'profound sufferings' Japan's last generation right-wing forces once brought. Can Beijing not come up with something more constructive and stop blaming on the dead?
- Japanese government must stop conniving at rightist provocations - Xinhua News (2012/10/04)
- More historical proof (ironically, published by the China Communists Party) goes to the side of Japan, in "The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands: A Japanese scholar responds" by Takayuki Nishi - New York Times (2012/10/04)
- see "The struggle of the people of the Ryukyu Islands against U.S. occupation" (279KB), published January 8, 1953 (in simplified Chinese)
- Burden of proof now goes to China, as in "Japan's Senkaku claim the strongest" - none of the Chinese Nationalist (Taiwanese) maps that were examined indicate that the Senkaku ocean area is within China's boundaries, and Red Guard atlas, which was published in 1966 by the Communists also indicated that the islands were Senkakus - Japan Times (2012/10/05)
The best defense the Chinese holds, IMHO, is a letter from the "Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers" (SCAP) to the Imperial Japanese Government dated January 20, 1946.
The document clearly defined what's within the national boundaries of Japan, namely, the four main islands (i.e. Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku), and approximately 1,000 smaller adjacent islands, including Tsushima Islands and the Ryukyu Islands north of 30° North Latitude.
There was also a list of excluded islands as well, yet the Senkakus (or Diaoyus), even though is in the waters between 123°20'-124°40'E (East Longitude) and 25°40'-26°00'N (North Latitude),
were not explicitly listed in the exclusion list. The document also reads that Japan has no right over places
they had occupied since the beginning of WWI in 1914. This is also why Japan reiterated that they had done 'survey work' on the Senkakus (or Diaoyus) as early as in the 1800s.
In fact, the Senkaku (or Diaoyu) Islands fell into the hands of the Japanese after the Jiawu Battle (between the Imperial Qing and the Empire of Japan) in 1894,
see a background analysis written by Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou back in September 1996.
If you read Chinese, I strongly recommend you read Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou's paper on "Straits Relations 1996" (435KB)
Illustration: Treaty after the Jiawu Battle between the Imperial Qing and the Japanese governments in 1895.
Retrieved from Juan Ramón Jiménez de León's "Mexileaks"
Illustration: Letter from the "Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers" (SCAP) to the Imperial Japanese Government, dated January 20, 1946.
Source: Wikipedia Commons
Yet, with all the information clearly spelt out, the following appeared on the Chinese Communists Party's paper in 1953.
The news report (in the first paragraph) addressed the Senkakus (and not the Diaoyus) as part of the Ryukyu Islands (which was later annexed by Japan).
Illustration: Article from People's Daily, "The struggle of the people of the Ryukyu Islands against U.S. occupation" (in traditional Chinese), dated January 8, 1953.
Source: Wikipedia Commons. For those not in the know, character simplification in China began in 1956 and this is why the above People's Daily article was written in traditional Chinese.
NO CLEAN STRIKE
- Both the Chinese and the Japanese governments seem to be unwilling to take the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague, claiming that there is no such need
- probably because for China, winning means they'll have to accept their own fault in the articles they have published (in the party-controlled newspaper) and the Red Guard maps they made (and Communists usually do not apologise for they never err)
- and for Japan, winning such an ICJ case means they acknowledge that they manipulated and played with the rules of the international law in order to seize control (or I should say strip China of its islands) through questionable means (a truth too inconvenient to accept for the Japanese)
– in particular, because their intent to occupy the islands was proved to date back to as early as 1885 (ironically, evidence sited by the Chinese proved this point), so even if the Japanese did steal, they will not have to return the islands to the Chinese because this is way before the start of WWI (as per the 1946 document)
Photo © China Review. Document written by the Japan foreign minister Inoue Kaoru in 1885 showing Japan's intention to occupy the Diaoyus.
This was reported in Shanghai Xin News on September 6, 1885.
- So who's the winner? No doubt, Taiwan – Republic of China. In 1952, Japan and the Republic of China (i.e. Taiwan) signed the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (also known as "The Treaty of Taipei"). This 1952 treaty voided all previously signed treaties and formally returned the Penghu Islands (along with the Diaoyus) to the Nationalist government.
The Chinese Communists made their claim over the Senkakus (or Diaoyus) based only on the claim that Taiwan was an integral part of China.
Photo © Rong Yi, VOA News. "The Treaty of Taipei", between the Republic of China (i.e. Taiwan) and Japan, dated April 28, 1952.
- Meanwhile, let's forget about the possible crude deposit there in the Senkakus (or Diaoyus), which was said to be discovered in 1968.
My final conclusion – The Senkaku (or Diaoyu) Islands (or now should I call it the Tiaoyutai Islands?) belongs to the Nationalist Taiwan (i.e. Republic of China), and neither the Communist China nor Japan has a more reasonable or logically compelling claim.
No wonder why both China and Japan want the dispute to stay out of the ICJ.
But why is Taiwan not submitting to the ICJ then? Simple, Taiwan lost its seat in the United Nations to Communist China in 1971 and only members of the U.N. can file complaints with the ICJ.
After all, the old enemies across the Taiwan Straits are, just as the Global Post article puts, becoming frenemies,
see: "China and Taiwan: from enemies to frenemies" - would Taiwan be increasingly willing to indirectly work with Beijing against Washington's interests? - Global Post (2012/09/29)
That, we shall see.
Meanwhile, Professor Gregory Clark, Emeritus President of Tama University, Tokyo, mentioned in another article: "Japan's case for territory also has weaknesses" - and Japan seemed to have been unfairly forced by the U.S. and Commonwealth nations into this dispute - Financial Times (2012/11/08)
- BTW readers may also wish to check out The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague, Netherlands