China And Japan: Bickering Over The Uninhabited Islands In The East China Sea

1391 words - 6 pages

Tensions have risen drastically between China and Japan, both claiming ownership of the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. These two states, both want control of the islands, since the discovery of undersea oil reserves which the islands possess. The dispute intensified once the United States transferred administrative control of the islands to Japan in 1971, this sovereignty widely contested by China. This dispute is current but is best understood by looking at the history of Chinese foreign policy and the behavior of these actions through the use of state level analysis and the concept of nationalism.
Although the dispute between China and Japan is a current topic it is imperative to understand the background of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The first known documentation of the islands dates back to the 15th century Chinese literature, where the Chinese used these islands as a marker for their voyages to Ryukyus and then later named the maritime boundary surrounding the islands as the “Black Water Trench”. Japan arguably states the uninhabited island was never formally claimed by China or occupied by any known power during this period of time. The disagreement over who possessed power of the islands had been debated widely between the two states, however after the United States granted administrative sovereignty to Japan in 1971 the dispute gained attention from the Chinese oppositionist who claimed, the Chinese have had power over the islands for centuries. Leading up to current day when the topic had gained attention once again after a Chinese fishing craft collided with two Japanese coastguard patrol boats near these uninhabited islands. The Japanese coastguard entered the Chinese ship and arrested all crew members causing anti-Japanese protests throughout China, once again igniting the flames of the original conflict. “Tensions rose yet again when China angered Japan last November when it claimed an air defense identification zone over a chain of islands in the East China Sea” (Sorkin 2). In response to this issue,General Chang of China commented about the issue in a recent speech which said “China has indisputable Sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands and China would make no compromise, no concession, no treaty.” (Cooper 1). This is showing the world that China is not going to settle for anything less than total sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands and goes to show just how important this issue is in today’s world.
Looking further into the issue at the state level, the Chinese government has made it known to the world and especially Japan that they are ready to fight at any moment to gain control of the disputed islands. The statecraft of China can be looked at to understand why the state is expressing its dominance in gaining control over the Islands, in this manner. China’s statecraft can be best understood by looking briefly at the history, a state which had many rulers and dynasties controlling its...

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