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    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    China offended by Japan's plans to defend Japanese territory

    01 February 2005

    Taiwan is not the only country that has to worry about the effects of China's anti-secession law. If passed, this law would make it illegal for regions that the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims control over to declare independence from the government in Beijing. This is a problem for Taiwan which, though an independent state, the PRC claim is a rogue province. This is also a problem for Japan. You see, the PRC has somehow gotten the idea that the Senkaku Islands, part of Japanese territory since the 19th century and unclaimed before that, are a Chinese territory called the Diaoyu islands. This idea has no merit and, aside from China having a huge military and nuclear weapons, I can't understand why anyone takes their claims seriously. "Japan first claimed the uninhabited and unclaimed islets in question in 1895 to use their rocky outcroppings for maritime navigation aids. From that time through the end of World War II, they were administered as part of Japan's Okinawa prefecture. Upon the Japanese surrender, the United States administered the islets under a military occupation authority. In 1972, when the United States returned Okinawa to Japanese administration, the Senkakus were included in the reversion." The first recorded claim by China that I have seen reference to is from 1968. I fail to see where the confusion as to the title comes from. China claims (I guess they forgot to tell anyone before now) that the Senkakus "have been part of Chinese territory since ancient times." Fine. In that case, the Florida Keys have been considered by my family to be part of our holdings since colonial times. May I have them back, please? Sure I didn't tell anyone until now, but that's okay. You can take my word for it.

    Anyhow, back to the subject at hand. What has the PRC upset is Japan's new defense plan which includes the mobilization of no less than 55,000 troops and destroyers, submarines, and warplanes in response to any attack on Okinawa and other outlying islands, including the Senkakus. The reaction from Beijing is not rational, it is more akin to that of a schoolyard bully upset that things aren't going his way. Remember that the PRC has promised to use military force to conquer territory that it claims. The PRC has claimed a piece of Japanese territory. How on earth did these bullies expect Japan to react?

    Now, for those of you who are inclined to believe the PRC's claims that those 'sneaky Japanese' are using these disputed islands as an excuse for a military build up, I have a few facts for you to consider. Neither the Empire of China, nor the Republic of China, nor the People's Republic of China ever expressed an interest in the Senkakus until a UN survey in 1968 revealed that "there may be petroleum deposits in the seabed near the islets." In the 19th century, Japan claimed the islands simply to help with their maritime navigation. When Japan claimed the islands at that time, China could have lodged a formal protest. They didn't -- unless it was lost in the mail.

    To America's shame, we are actually part of the problem. "As recently as March 2004, the State Department accepted [the PRC's] claims over the Senkakus as being equally valid as Japan's title." Thank you President Bush and Colin Powell. I'm sure the Japanese appreciate that knife you left in their back. This is not how you treat an ally.
    ---------Spokesman: China, Japan should resolve island dispute via negotiation (please note that the original, deliberately misleading, headline read China, Japan to resolve island dispute via negotiation)
    ---------China warns Japan against 'unilateral action' following new defense plan
    ---------China's New Challenge to the U.S.-Japan Alliance


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