The Lighthouse as a Sovereignty Symbol

Philippine flag over Pantag Shoal

In the early days of exploration a flag of ownership was placed upon new-found-lands to claim ownership, even though on the other side of the island, or bay there may have been another flag from a different country.

One problem with a flag – it doesn’t last very long.

But build a lighthouse and claim ownership and that light is visible to all peoples for years into the future. Build it high enough and it is visible for 360 degrees. Put some men on it and it becomes your property. Hmmm!

A country's exclusive economic zone - Wiki

Right now in the news there are two island disputes in the South China Sea area that involve China and the Philippines – a stand-off over the Panatag Shoal (Huangyan Island; aka Scarborough Shoal) where China is contesting the Philippines’ internationally recognised exclusive economic zone, and China and Japan – an age-old dispute  surrounding the group of islands called Senkaku by the Japanese and Diaoyu by the Chinese.

Both of these island groups have had lighthouses built upon them.

Japan‘s Shintaro Ishihara once helped raise money to build a lighthouse on the main island of the Senkaku chain and later helped to have a later replacement lighthouse recorded on official navigation charts.China is now trying to claim them. – Wall Street Journal/Asia 

An 8.3 meter high flag pole flying a Philippine flag was raised in 1965. A small lighthouse was also built and operated the same year.[9] In 1992, the Philippine Navy rehabilitated the lighthouse and reported it to the International Maritime Organization for publication in the List of Lights. As of 2009, the military-maintained lighthouse is non-operational. – Wikipedia

Disputed zones in the South China Sea

“I built the first lighthouse on them. They are my islands!” Nice idea. I think i will try it on an isolated island. I might even be able to set up a new country, but one problem – most countries have water boundaries around them – not only for fishing, shipping and such, but also as territorial boundaries.

For example, Canada is in a dispute with the USA over Machias Island.(aka Machias Seal island) Canada built a lighthouse there in 1832 so it belongs to Canada right? Well, this is one lighthouse that will not be automated for a long time. It will remain manned by Canadians to hold onto their sovereignty of the island, but it is still in dispute.

I am not even going to mention the Spratly Islands. I think every country in Asia on the China Sea claims them, but it might be worthwhile building a lighthouse and staking a claim!

 So let’s all go build a lighthouse and claim some land – seems to work better than a flag.

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UPDATE:

Spratly Islands

The Spratly Islands are a group of more than 750 reefs,[2] islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea. The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines and Malaysia (Sabah), about one third of the way from there to southern Vietnam. They contain less than four square kilometers of land area spread over more than 425,000 square kilometers of sea. The Spratlys are one of three archipelagos of the South China Sea which comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs and which complicate governance and economics in that region of Southeast Asia. Such small and remote islands have little economic value in themselves, but are important in establishing international boundaries. There are no native islanders but there are, at least for now, rich fishing grounds; and initial surveys indicate the islands may contain significant reserves of oil and natural gas.

About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from Vietnam, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia and the Philippines. Brunei has also claimed an Exclusive Economic Zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys encompassing just one area of small islands above mean high water (on Louisa Reef). This has led to escalating tensions over the Islands’ disputed status.

December 28, 2012 – Aljazeera Asia-pacific Philippines claims South China Sea islands

Filipinos have settled on Thitu Island as a means to strengthen the country’s claim on the Spratlys.

[media url=”http://lighthousememories.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Thitu_Island.flv” width=”400″ height=”350″]

Thitu Island is at the centre of one of the biggest territorial disputes in the world.

It is part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which are believed to be sitting on billions of dollars’ worth of oil and gas reserves.

Six countries claim ownership of the tiny archipelago, including the Philippines, which has people living on Thitu Island as a means to strengthen its claim on the Spratlys.

Al Jazeera’s Jamela Alindogan reports from the Spratlys in the South China Sea.

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Huangyan Island/Scarborough Shoal – China, Philippines & Taiwan

October 08, 2012 – China has de facto control over Huangyan Island: Philippine official

A former Philippine foreign affairs official said Friday at a University of the Philippines forum that Panatag Shoal (Chinese Huangyan Island) is now under the de facto control of China, according to a GMA News report.
The senior official was identified as former Philippine foreign affairs undersecretary Lauro Baja Jr., who also served as former Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Remember, China roped off the area and no fishermen and no vessels from the Philippines can go in,” he was quoted as speaking on the topic “Challenges to Philippine Foreign Relations.
“The dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea] is the toughest challenge in foreign relations, diplomacy and foreign policy. We need a well thought-out, short to long-term foreign policy,” said Baja.
However, the Philippine government will not officially admit that it has lost control of the area.
The Philippine official called for stronger action to restore the Philippines’ presence in the area.
Baja also urges the Philippine government to explore a bilateral code of conduct with China over territorial issues. He said aside from the bilateral talks, a multilateral agreement should also be in place for overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

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Scarborough Shoal or Scarborough Reef, also known as Huangyan Island[2][3] (simplified Chinese: 黄岩岛; traditional Chinese:黃岩島; pinyinHuáng​yán​ Dǎo​) or Panatag Shoal[4] (FilipinoKulumpol ng Panatag), is located between the Macclesfield Bank and Luzon Island of the Philippines in the South China Sea. It is more correctly described as a group of rocks or very small islands plus reefs in an atoll shape, rather than as a shoal. The shoal was named after the East India Company tea-trade ship Scarborough which was wrecked on one of its rocks with everyone perished on board on 12 September 1784.[5][6]

Scarborough Shoal is a disputed territory claimed by the People’s Republic of ChinaRepublic of China (Taiwan) and Philippines – Wikipedia [/spoiler]

Diaoyu Islands/Senkaku Islands/Tiaoyutai Islands – China, Japan & Taiwan

October 31, 2012 – Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands?

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Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands?

 By: S M Hali | October 31, 2012
 
As neighbours, China and Japan have a chequered history mingled with periods of conflict and peace. Following the second Sino-Japanese war, China was occupied by Japan between 1937 and 1945. The war was a consequence of decades-long Japanese imperialist policy aiming to dominate China politically and militarily, and to secure its vast raw material reserves and other economic resources.

Before 1937, China and Japan fought in small, localised engagements. In 1931, however, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria by its Kwantung Army, followed by the Mukden Incident and other skirmishes, including the Marco Polo Bridge Affair, led to total war in 1937. In its wake, China’s occupation left a number of irritants in Sino-Japanese relations. The latest standoff is the issue of Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, whose ownership is claimed by both countries.

Perceiving the issue impartially, one comes across recorded legal documents indicating Chinese possession since ancient times. The islands were discovered and claimed by China, and its territorial waters have been exploited by Chinese fishermen since primeval era. Records of these islands date back to as early as the 15th century. They were referred as Diaoyu in books, such as Voyage with a Tail Wind; Shùnfēng Xiāngsòng (1403) and Record of the Imperial Envoy’s Visit to Ryūkyū; Shĭ Liúqiú Lù (1534). Adopted by the imperial map of Ming Dynasty, the Chinese name for the island group Diaoyu meant fishing; the documents showed that they were put under the navy’s jurisdiction as affiliated islands of Taiwan.

Japan, on the other hand, refers to them as Senkaku Islands, which comprise five uninhabited islets and three barren rocks. These minor features in the East China Sea are located approximately 120 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, 200 nautical miles east of the Chinese mainland and 200 nautical miles southwest of the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Japan gained possession of the Diaoyu Islands in 1895, when facing imminent defeat in the Sino-Japanese war, China’s Qing government was forced to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to it “the island of Formosa (Taiwan), together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the island of Formosa.“

At the end of World War II, following Japan’s defeat, the US laid claim to all Japanese territory. However, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration (which Japan accepted as part of the San Francisco Peace Treaty), Tokyo was forced to relinquish control of all islands, except for Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku that comprise modern Japan. Thus, China regained its ownership of the Diaoyu Islands.

Japan contested its ownership, but remained inactive till 1968. But when the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) identified potential undersea oil and gas reserves near the islands, it prompted Japan to lay stake over the Diaoyu Islands. In 1971, Tokyo and Washington signed the Okinawa Reversion Agreement that arbitrarily included the Diaoyu Islands in the territories and territorial waters to be reversed to Japan. From the very beginning, Beijing has firmly opposed and never acknowledged such backdoor deals between Japan and the US concerning Chinese territories.

During the negotiations on the normalisation of China-Japan relations in 1972, and the signing of the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, the then leaders of the two countries, acting in larger interest reached an important understanding and common ground on “leaving the issue of the Diaoyu Island to be resolved later.“ This normalised their relations and was followed by tremendous progress in the bilateral ties, and also stability and tranquillity in East Asia in the following 40 years.

Since the advent of 2012, Japan has stirred up the issue and things came to a head on August 18, when a flotilla of four boats carrying about 150 Japanese activists organised by the rightwing group, Ganbare Nippon, arrived at the islands under the plea of commemorating Japan’s World War II deaths in the area. Despite being denied permission, several activists swam to the islands, making an unauthorised landing on Uotsuri, where they raised Japanese flags.

On close scrutiny, Japan’s annexation of the Diaoyu Island, along with the affiliated Nan Xiaodao and Bei Xiaodao through its September 2012 illegal purchase and subsequent nationalisation of the islands, appears to be unlawful and contrary to historical facts. The standoff, however, can still be resolved peacefully through negotiations.

The writer is a political and defence analyst. Email: sultanm.hali@gmail.com

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[spoiler title=”” open=”0″ style=”1″]The Senkaku Islands ( Senkaku-shotō?, variants: 尖閣群島 Senkaku-guntō[1] and 尖閣列島 Senkaku-rettō[2]), also known as the Diaoyu Islands (Chinese钓鱼附属岛屿pinyinDiàoyúdǎo jí qí fùshǔ dǎoyǔ; also simply 钓鱼岛) in Mainland China or Tiaoyutai Islands (Chinese釣魚pinyinDiàoyútái liè yǔ) in Taiwan,[3] or the Pinnacle Islands, are a group of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. They are located roughly due east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. – Wikipedia [/spoiler]

Takeshima/Dokdo – Japan & Taiwan

October 24, 2012 – Restored Japanese gov’t map shows Dokdo as Korean territory

A deteriorated map created by the Japanese government has been restored in South Korea and shows the easternmost islets of Dokdo as Korean territory, officials said Wednesday, in what they say is yet more proof refuting Japan’s claims to the islets.

The back of the map, printed on both sides of the paper in 1936, was unreadable because it had been pasted over with a sheet of thick paper. After five months of efforts, the National Archives of Korea, an agency charged with preserving government records, restored the original version of the map.

The map is one of few copies in existence that played an important role for Allied forces to recognize Dokdo as Korean territory shortly after Japan’s World War II surrender, a scholar said.

Shin Yong-ha, a chair professor at the University of Ulsan and head of the Dokdo Institute, said the map “provided important grounds for Allied forces to recognize Dokdo as our territory on Aug. 15, 1945, when Japan surrendered.”

The map was donated in 1988 by bibliographer Lee Jong-hak to the Independence Hall of Korea.

Dokdo, which lies closer to Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, has long been a thorn in bilateral relations. Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them.

Koreans view Japan’s claim over Dokdo as tantamount to denying its rights because the country regained independence from the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, which includes Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

October 15, 2012 – 1902 Japanese Documents Say Dokdo Is Korean

An official Japanese document from 1902 records Dokdo as Korean territory. /Courtesy of Yuji Hosaka

An official Japanese document from 1902 recognizes Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo, three years before Japan’s Shimane Prefecture forcefully incorporated the islets. 

The document, which was submitted to the Japanese government by the Japanese Consulate in Busan in May 1902, refers to Dokdo as “Liancourt Rocks” and Ulleung Island as the “main island” of Dokdo. It was found in the diplomatic archives of the Japanese Foreign Ministry by Park Byung-sup, a Korean-Japanese expert in history. 

Yuji Hosaka, a Dokdo expert at Sejong University and a naturalized Korean citizen, received the document from Park and showed it to the Chosun Ilbo on Sunday. 

A section entitled “Fisheries Status” in the document states that there are “three small islands around 5 nautical miles directly east of” Ulleung. It says they are the so-called Liancourt Rocks, but “mainlanders (Japanese) refer to them as Pine Island.”

It adds that Japanese fishermen venture to Dokdo to catch abalone but cannot stay long due to a lack of potable water there. 

Japan has so far claimed that Shimane Prefecture incorporated Dokdo, which was no man’s land, in 1905. But Shin Yong-ha at University of Ulsan said, “In 1900, the Korean Empire officially proclaimed Ulleng Island, the main island, and Jukdo and Seokdo (Dokdo), small islets near it, as part of Korean territory.” Shin added the 1902 Japanese document also refers to Ulleung Island as main island and Dokdo as attached to it, demonstrating that Japan indirectly recognized them as part of Korea.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 15, 2012 10:50 KST

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The Liancourt Rocks, also known as Dokdo or Tokto (독도/獨島, literally “solitary island”) in Korean, and Takeshima (たけしま/竹島?, literally “bamboo island”) in Japanese,[1] are a group of small islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). Sovereignty over the islets isdisputed between Japan and South Korea. South Korea classifies the islets as Dokdo-ri,[2] Ulleung-eup, Ulleung CountyNorth Gyeongsang Province. Japan classifies them as part of OkinoshimaOki DistrictShimane Prefecture.

The Franco-English name of the islets derives from Le Liancourt, the name of a French whaling ship which came close to being wrecked on the rocks in 1849.[3]

The Liancourt Rocks consist of two main islets and 35 smaller rocks; the total surface area of the islets is 0.18745 square kilometres (46.32 acres), with the highest elevation of 169 metres (554 ft) found at an unnamed location on the west islet.[4]Wikipedia [/spoiler]

Socotra Rock – China & Taiwan

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Socotra Rock Coordinates32°07′22.63″N 125°10′56.81″Eis a submerged rock 4.6 metres (15 ft) below sea level (at low tide) located in the East China Sea.International maritime law stipulates that a submerged rock can’t be claimed as territory by any nation.[1] However, the rock is the subject of a territorial dispute between South Korea, which considers it to lie within its exclusive economic zone, referring to it as Ieodo (이어도/離於島; MR: Iŏdo) or Parangdo (파랑도/波浪島; MR: P’arangdo),[2] and China, which considers it to lie within its exclusive economic zone and refers to it as Suyan Rock (苏岩礁). The rock currently serves as the foundation for Korean Ieodo Ocean Research Station.[3] A helipad is also located there to allow the research station to be serviced.

The rock is located 149 kilometres (80 nmi; 93 mi) southwest of Marado (just off Jeju island), Korea. For Japan, the island ofTorishima, which is 275 km (148 nmi; 171 mi) away, is the closest territory to Socotra Rock; and for China, Yushan Islandof Zhejiang,[4] 287 km (178 mi) away, is nearest to Socotra Rock. – Wikipedia [/spoiler]

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Diaoyu Islands/Scarborough Shoal Conflict – China vs Philippines 

October 03, 2012 – Island plans by Tokyo’s nationalist governor may stoke fresh China tensions

(Reuters) – Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, a fiery nationalist whose failed bid to buy a group of disputed islands ignited a crisis with China, is pushing ahead with a plan to build structures there to hammer home Japan’s claim, officials involved told Reuters.

They claim that construction of a lighthouse, radio transmitter or basic harbor facilities would increase safety for Japanese fishermen. It was not clear how — or even whether — such private funds could be used for construction on government property.

October 01, 2012 – Phl denies mass deployment of troops in disputed territories

MANILA, Philippines – The military on Monday denied reports stating that 800 Marines have been deployed to the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) to protect the Philippines’ interests in the area.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said only less than 80 Marine soldiers have been sent to the area to administer two Marine battalions.

. . . On Sunday, China said it is speeding up the projects in Sansha City despite the protests by the Philippines, which claims that the establishment of the city violates its sovereignty.

China said Sansha authorities started crafting development plans for the city Saturday.

The infrastructure projects in the disputed area include road construction, water supply and drainage on Yongxing Island, the seat of the city government. –

Are they going to build a lighthouse too? – retlkpr

September 26, 2012 – Japan, Taiwan in disputed isle water cannon duel

Coastguard vessels from Japan and Taiwan duelled with water cannon after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around Tokyo-controlled islands.
Japanese coastguard ships sprayed water at the fishing vessels, footage on national broadcaster NHK showed on Tuesday, with the Taiwanese patrol boats directing their own high-pressure hoses at the Japanese ships.

The large-scale breach of what Japan considers sovereign territory — one of the biggest since WWII — is the latest escalation in a row over ownership of the islands that pits Tokyo against Beijing and Taipei.

The intrusion complicates an already volatile territorial dispute with China, which is also locked in a separate row over the strategic South China Sea against claims by several nations including the Philippines.

September 21, 2012 – Why doesn’t China just buy the Senkaku islands?

If the Japanese government can pay roughly $2 billion to buy the islands from a private family, why can’t China pay the same amount (or whatever the market will bear) to obtain them from Japan? After all, the PRC is pretty flush with cash these days, and Japan could use some extra money (although ~$2 billion isn’t really that much). Still, why not just view this as a simple matter of business?

September 21, 2012 – Noynoy Screws up the Scarborough Shoals Issue

Philippine president dispatches loose cannon to Beijing, gets wounded

President Benigno S. Aquino III is enjoying a surge of popularity at home, with a 78 percent approval rating against only 4 percent negatives, but his latest foray into foreign policy and relations with China has made the Philippines look silly abroad.

 September 14, 2012 – Philippines Stirs Tensions By Renaming Disputed Part Of South China Sea – EconomyWatch.com

On Thursday, the Philippines’ president Benigno Aquino announced that he had approved the name change so as “to clarify which of the areas we are claiming.”

Aquino added that under Administrative Order (AO) No. 29, the area surrounding the nation’s western sea board – including the Luzon Sea and the waters around the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo De Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal – would be henceforth referred to by the new name, with the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) ordered to “produce and publish charts and maps of the Philippines reflecting the West Philippine Sea [as part of the Philippines]”.

 

June 15, 2012 – Scarborough Shoal: It’s PH map vs China map

 

 

June 13, 2012 US military to help Philippines monitor coastal waters

 

 

June 08, 2012  – The US Will Open Massive Philippine Bases Not Occupied Since The Cold War

 

 

June 07, 2012 – Sea Tensions Deepen With China’s Rise

 

June 06, 2012Philippines says tensions ease in China Sea row

May 30, 2012 – China, Philippines Face Off Over Remote Islands

May 25, 2012 – Philippines urged to cease all provocations

May 24, 2012 – China Blames Philippines for More Ships in Disputed Sea

May 22, 2012 – Coast Guard cutter heading to Philippines

May 17, 2012 – Philippines to drill at China-claimed reef

May 12, 2012 – Philippines lacks legal ground to go to tribunal (this is a great article on International Law)

April 19, 2012 – Could disputed East China Sea islands be sold?

April 20, 2012 – Philippines says new China ship aggravates sea row

April 23, 2012 – Philippines warns neighbours about China

January 19, 2012 Japan Tsunami: Explorers Reveal New Information About Expected Debris

[media url=”http://youtu.be/Bhw9Z77YaE4″ width=”450″ height=”300″]

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Takeshima/Dokdo – Japan vs Taiwan

October 15, 2012 – 1902 Japanese Documents Say Dokdo Is Korean

An official Japanese document from 1902 records Dokdo as Korean territory. /Courtesy of Yuji Hosaka

An official Japanese document from 1902 recognizes Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo, three years before Japan’s Shimane Prefecture forcefully incorporated the islets.

The document, which was submitted to the Japanese government by the Japanese Consulate in Busan in May 1902, refers to Dokdo as “Liancourt Rocks” and Ulleung Island as the “main island” of Dokdo. It was found in the diplomatic archives of the Japanese Foreign Ministry by Park Byung-sup, a Korean-Japanese expert in history.

Yuji Hosaka, a Dokdo expert at Sejong University and a naturalized Korean citizen, received the document from Park and showed it to the Chosun Ilbo on Sunday.

A section entitled “Fisheries Status” in the document states that there are “three small islands around 5 nautical miles directly east of” Ulleung. It says they are the so-called Liancourt Rocks, but “mainlanders (Japanese) refer to them as Pine Island.”

It adds that Japanese fishermen venture to Dokdo to catch abalone but cannot stay long due to a lack of potable water there.

Japan has so far claimed that Shimane Prefecture incorporated Dokdo, which was no man’s land, in 1905. But Shin Yong-ha at University of Ulsan said, “In 1900, the Korean Empire officially proclaimed Ulleng Island, the main island, and Jukdo and Seokdo (Dokdo), small islets near it, as part of Korean territory.” Shin added the 1902 Japanese document also refers to Ulleung Island as main island and Dokdo as attached to it, demonstrating that Japan indirectly recognized them as part of Korea.

October 05, 2012 – South Korea, Japan spar over tiny islands

These islands, administered by South Korea but claimed by Japan, provide a window into Asia’s fastest-growing problem: the fight over small bits of land that have oversize and symbolic importance.

In the case of these islands, known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, the show of Korean control is pushed to extremes: Only two civilians live on these islands — a fisherman and his wife — but three South Korean telecommunications companies provide the islands with 3G cell phone service.

The stouter of the main islands has a helicopter pad, a lighthouse, a weight room, a small branch of the South Korean national library and a dormitory. Forty-five police live on this island, as do two civil servants and three lighthouse attendants. There are no women. There is one dog, named Seodo.

Diaoyu Islands (钓鱼岛 – diào yú dǎo – Fishing Islands)/Senkaku Islands Conflict – China vs Japan & Taiwan

Wikipedia article

October 14, 2012 – Negotiation best resolution for China-Japan islands row

By Wang Aihua (Xinhua)
08:30, October 16, 2012
BEIJING, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) — More than a month after Japan started a bitter territorial row with China over the Diaoyu Islands, Japan has let out signals that it is willing to sit down and talk things through. Negotiation, after all, is the best way to solve disputes in a modern world.

Last week, senior diplomats of the two countries exchanged visits and agreed to hold a new round of bilateral vice ministerial-level talks to seek a breakthrough regarding the Diaoyu dispute, which had already damaged economic relations between Asia’s two largest economies.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said an agreement was reached at a meeting in Tokyo between Shinsuke Sugiyama, head of the Japanese ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Luo Zhaohui, director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that China and Japan had launched vice ministerial-level talks over the Diaoyu Islands on Sept. 25, during which China reiterated its stance on the territory and demanded that Japan admit its mistakes.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Japan should sincerely correct its mistakes and take concrete action while contributing to upcoming talks.

The prospect of new vice ministerial-level talks, about the highest level of diplomatic exchange that could take place to resolve territorial disputes, brings hope to the current quagmire dragging the two countries down in the disheartening global economic outlook.

Fanned by the Diaoyu dispute, huge anti-Japan protests and voluntary boycotts of Japanese products caused trade between China and Japan in the January-September period to fall by 1.8 percent from a year earlier.

Widely canceled trips by Chinese tourists to Japan also dimmed its tourism industry, particularly during the just-concluded “Golden Week” national holiday that encompassed National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival.

Given the prospective economic losses to the two countries and the world at large, negotiating a pact that can protect each other’s territorial dignity and be acceptable to both sides would indeed be a “win-win solution.”

In fact, people still remember the guideline put up by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and described as “laying aside differences and engaging in joint exploitation.”

After all, under this guideline, the Diaoyu Islands had been well taken care of for decades and the two countries had been at peace.

Besides superficial satisfaction, nominal ownership of the uninhabited islands could do no real good to Japan, as China claims sovereignty over the waters and sends ships to patrol them.

The two sides now need to perform a sidestep to ease tensions. It is also important for the United States, a long-time ally of Japan, to honor its commitment of “not taking sides” on the Diaoyu issue.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is visiting Tokyo and meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba before starting a two-day visit to China on Tuesday.

In a meeting with Burns on Monday, Gemba sought U.S. understanding of Japan’s position on disputed islands in the East China Sea, according to Japanese media reports. Burns is also scheduled to meet with Chinese officials to “exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern,” spokesman Hong Lei said.

After an extravagant navy showcase on Sunday, Tokyo seems set to proceed in November with a joint drill with the United States that will simulate a “retaking of a remote island from foreign forces.”

With the pending outcome of the U.S. presidential election next month, Japan should realize that its over-dependence on the United States risks pushing itself to the edge of isolation from Asian neighbors.

Japanese politicians should be working to mend the holes they have created in bilateral relations with China rather than taking aggression one step further.

For Japan, healthy relations with its neighboring countries are just as important as one with the United States, both economically and strategically.

October 13, 2012 – Call It Senkakudiaoyu? China & Japan Agree To Share Vast Offshore Oil

China and Japan sat down for talks and agreed to jointly develop a natural gas field under the East China Sea, defusing a dispute between Asia’s biggest economies over who owns the reserves. That was in 2008.

The accord, hailed as a model for cooperation at the time, has yet to be carried out and the countries now face a new territorial dispute, also in the East China Sea. The quarrel over who owns the uninhabited islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan is again linked to a prize beneath the ocean that may hold enough oil to keep China running for 45 years.

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China and Japan sat down for talks and agreed to jointly develop a natural gas field under the East China Sea, defusing a dispute between Asia’s biggest economies over who owns the reserves. That was in 2008.

The accord, hailed as a model for cooperation at the time, has yet to be carried out and the countries now face a new territorial dispute, also in the East China Sea. The quarrel over who owns the uninhabited islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan is again linked to a prize beneath the ocean that may hold enough oil to keep China running for 45 years.

China is the world’s largest energy consumer and is running out of oil because its aging onshore fields cannot keep pace with near double-digit economic growth. By the end of this decade, the country will need to import more than 60 percent of its crude compared with about 50 percent now and one third of its natural gas, according to estimates from China Petroleum & Chemical Industry Federation.

“China has to look for offshore fields to deliver the energy supply it needs as onshore fields are exhausted,” said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University in Fujian province.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda yesterday called for talks to contain economic damage from the diplomatic dispute with China. He reiterated that the islands are “Japan’s inherent territory” in an interview with Bloomberg News.

Saudi-Sized Reserves?

The sea east of China may hold as much as 160 billion barrels of oil and the South China Sea213 billion, according to Chinese studies cited by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA says those figures are too high and has its own estimate for the East China Sea of as much as 100 million barrels.

While drilling will be needed to confirm the size of the resource and what is recoverable, China’s estimates are larger than the confirmed reserves in Saudi Arabia of 265 billion barrels and would be enough to meet the country’s needs for a century based on 2011 consumption data provided by BP Plc. (BP/)

Gaining control over the largely untapped areas in the South China and East China Seas would help China avoid Japan’s postwar energy model, where its security is largely staked on oil tanker supplies originating 7,700 kilometers (4,800 miles) from Tokyo in the Middle East.

“China is concerned about the long term,” said Hooman Peimani, principal fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Energy Institute. “Many of its suppliers are Arab countries and in North Africa, which are facing serious problems.”

Mideast Imports

The country is being forced to buy more from the Middle East, importing a record 35.5 million tons of crude from Saudi Arabia, its biggest supplier, in the first eight months of this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The amount was 10 percent higher than the same period last year and the bill came to $29 billion.

That’s gaining ground on Japan, Asia’s third-biggest energy consumer, which also gets most of its oil from Saudi Arabia. Japan spent $34.8 billion in January to August to buy 40.2 million tons of crude oil from the Middle Eastern country, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Finance.

The disputed area of the East China Sea is about 81,000 square miles, or almost the size of the U.S. state of Kansas, according to a Sept. 25 report by the Energy Information Administration in the U.S. The two nations have different measures of defining sea boundaries, both based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Japan defines its boundary as the exclusive economic zone extending westward from its southern Kyushu and Ryukyu islands while China uses the principle of the natural extension of its continental shelf.

Gas Field

Signing of the 2008 gas field development agreement seemed to offer a model for cooperation in the area. The field, known as Chunxiao in Chinese and Shirabaka in Japanese, is about 309 kilometers from the disputed islands.

The agreement “proves that Japan and China can solve difficulties together,” Masahiko Komura, Japan’s foreign minister at the time, told reporters in Tokyo on June 18, 2008.

China regards the agreement as “conducive to stability” and “in line with the fundamental interests of the two countries,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement on the ministry’s website the same day.

Even with the breakthrough on paper, joint development at the site never started.

“The attempt at co-production hasn’t been successful so far,” said Euan Graham, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “The encouraging thing for the future is that it’s very difficult for any one side to develop the fields by itself. It would make much more economic sense to go at it together.”

’Tipping Point’

China is projected to be the leading consumer of oil from the Middle East in the future,’’ Graham said. “That is kind of the tipping point. Owning resources is very important.”

Because of a lack of naval supremacy, China wants energy it can tap within its own territories instead of relying on oil tankers — that’s why they’re very serious about the South China Sea, Singapore University’s Peimani said. They don’t want to be dependent on imports as with Japan’s economy, he said.

China National Offshore Oil Corp. has been told not to comment on the issue, said an official at the company who declined to be named because of the order. China National is the parent of Cnooc Ltd. (883), the country’s biggest offshore oil producer that built a drilling platform at the East China Sea field. The company isn’t pumping gas from the field at the moment, the official said.

Liu Xiaobiao, a Cnooc spokesman, didn’t answer four calls to his office line and mobile phone seeking comment.

Inpex Partner

Oil explorer Inpex Corp. (1605) was Japan’s partner for Cnooc to develop the gas field under the 2008 deal. Inpex has no further information on the development, Keisuke Yano, a spokesman for the company, said Sept. 28 by phone. The company is awaiting a decision from the Japanese and Chinese governments to go ahead with the project based on the 2008 agreement, Yano said.

Discussions on joint development of the gas field are stalled, said an official at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, asking not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Japan has asked to restart the talks, and China has not responded, the official said.

Zeng Yachuan, a Beijing-based spokesman at the National Energy Administration, didn’t answer two calls to his office seeking a response to the METI comment.

Shi Qingfeng, a Beijing-based spokesman at State Oceanic Administration, was not available for comment, according to an official who answered his office phone on Oct. 10. The official refused to give his name. A fax sent to Shi’s office didn’t receive a response.

Oil Estimates

Estimates of oil and gas deposits in the East China Sea are based on a geological survey by the UN Economic Commission for Asia and Far East in 1969. The commission said the underwater shelf around the disputed islands may be “extremely rich” in oil reserves.

In the early 1970s, the finding brought to a head claims by China, Japan and Taiwan of sovereignty of the five islets and three barren rocks, largely ignored since the end of World War II.

“The geophysical structure suggests it’s a hotbed for oil’s formation, but more drilling is needed before definite conclusions can be made,” said Gordon Kwan, Hong Kong-based head of energy research at Mirae Asset Securities Ltd. “Personally I’m optimistic that oil and gas reserves in the region should be very rich.”

The above article was written by Aibing Guo in Hong Kong and Rakteem Katakey in New Delhi for Bloomberg News. The following historical information is provided by the US Department of Energy.

History Of The Daioyu/Senkaku Islands

The Daioyu/Senkaku Islands consist of five uninhabited islets and three barren rocks. Approximately 120 nautical miles southwest of Okinawa, the islands are situated on a continental shelf with the Xihu/Okinawa trough to the south separating them from the nearby Ryukyu Islands.

Japan assumed control of Taiwan and the Daioyu/Senkaku islands after the Sino-Japanese War in 1895. Upon Japan’s defeat in World War II, Japan returned Taiwan to China, but made no specific mention of the disputed islands in any subsequent document.

For several decades after 1945, the United States administered the islands as part of the post-war occupation of Okinawa. The islands generated little attention during this time, though U.S. oil companies conducted minimal exploration in the area. In 1969, a report by the UN Committee for Coordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in Asian Offshore Areas (CCOP) indicated possible large hydrocarbon deposits in the waters around the Daioyu/Senkaku islands, reigniting interest in the area. Although China had not previously disputed Japanese claims, the PRC claimed the islands in May 1970 after Japan and Taiwan held talks on joint exploration of energy resources in the East China Sea. When the United States and Japan signed the Okinawa Reversion Treaty returning the disputed islands to Japanese control as part of the Okinawa islands, both the PRC and Taiwan challenged the treaty.

China claims the disputed land based on historic use of the islands as navigational aids. In addition, the government links the territory to the 1895 Shimonoseki Peace Treaty that removed Japanese claims to Taiwan and Chinese lands after World War II.

Japan claims that it incorporated the islands as vacant territory (terra nullius) in 1895 and points to continuous administration of the islands since that time as part of the Nansei Shoto island group. According to the Japanese, this makes ownership of the islands a separate issue from Taiwan and the Shimonoseki treaty. Japan cites the lack of Chinese demands on the area prior to 1970 as further validation for its claim.  [/private]

Barely noticeable on a map, yet the cause of so much drama.(http://shaunworldronin.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/diaoyu-senkaku-islands-a-lot-of-noise-over-some-formerly-worthless-rocks/)

October 08, 2012 – A Big Fuss Over Small Islands

Covering an area of just 7 square kilomesters and composed of five uninhabited islands and three large rocks, they lie east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, and southwest of Okinawa, Japan. They are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japanese, and are called the “Fishing Islands” (钓鱼岛 – diào yú dǎo) in Chinese.

History

Way back in 1885, the Japanese Governor of Okinawa petitioned the Meiji government to incorporate the islands into Japanese territory. Higher-up officials didn’t want to do so, however, as they knew the islands had a Chinese name and were near the border of the Qing Empire. According to China, these islands have been known to and controlled by China for hundreds of years. They point to a book called Voyage With the Tail Wind (顺风相送 – shùn fēng xiāng sòng) written in 1403 which recorded the names of the islands. By 1534, another book titled Record of the Imperial Envoy’s Visit to Ryukyu (使琉球錄 – shǐ liú qiú lù) had identified and named them all.

[private]

A Big Fuss Over Small Islands

Posted on 08. Oct, 2012 by  in CulturehistoryUncategorized

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you’ve probably heard about the dispute between China and Japan concerning a small archipelago of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. So, what exactly is all of the fuss about? Here is a brief history and explanation for the current state of affairs:

The Islands in Question

Covering an area of just 7 square kilomesters and composed of five uninhabited islands and three large rocks, they lie east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, and southwest of Okinawa, Japan. They are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japanese, and are called the “Fishing Islands” (钓鱼岛 – diào yú dǎo) in Chinese.

Barely noticeable on a map, yet the cause of so much drama.(http://shaunworldronin.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/diaoyu-senkaku-islands-a-lot-of-noise-over-some-formerly-worthless-rocks/)

History

Way back in 1885, the Japanese Governor of Okinawa petitioned the Meiji government to incorporate the islands into Japanese territory. Higher-up officials didn’t want to do so, however, as they knew the islands had a Chinese name and were near the border of the Qing Empire. According to China, these islands have been known to and controlled by China for hundreds of years. They point to a book called Voyage With the Tail Wind (顺风相送 – shùn fēng xiāng sòng) written in 1403 which recorded the names of the islands. By 1534, another book titled Record of the Imperial Envoy’s Visit to Ryukyu (使琉球錄 – shǐ liú qiú lù) had identified and named them all.

Signing the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951.

Japan claims that after surveying the islands for about ten years in the late 19th century, they were declared to be terra nullius (“land belonging to no one”). After the First Sino-Japanese War – in which Japan was victorious – the islands were officially incorporated into Okinawa prefecture. This came as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which gave Taiwan and “all islands appertaining or belonging to it” to Japan. Many years later, however, at the end of another war which had a very different outcome for Japan (World War II), the Treaty of San Francisco was signed with the Allied Powers. This treaty returned control of Taiwan and all of those other islands back to China. As China was engaged in a civil war at the time, neither the PRC nor the ROC were invited to take part in the talks.

The Dispute

Where the actual dispute lies.

Basically, the argument regarding the islands boils down to whether or not they were actually included in the vague language about Taiwan and ”all islands appertaining or belonging to it” in both aforementioned treaties. Japan claims that the islands were uninhabited and unknown before they stumbled upon them, that they were not included in the first treaty, and thus that they could not have been part of the second treaty. They also believe that China only began staking claim to the islands as a result of a UN report in 1969 that stated there may be oil and gas reserves under the island.

On the other hand, China points back to the worried Japanese official (he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs) and his resistance to including the islands as part of Japan’s official territory as evidence that Japan knew the islands were not, in fact terra nullius. As neither the PRC nor the ROC were invited to take part in the talks surrounding the Treaty of San Francisco, they don’t officially recognize it.

Incidents

In 1996, a Japanese activist group built a lighthouse on one of the islands, which enraged their Chinese counterparts, who attempted to sail to the island and destroy it on multiple occasions. There have also been numerous incidents including Japanese patrol boats and Chinese fishing boats. Just a few years ago, a Chinese boat collided with two Japanese coast guard boats, resulting in the arrests of the crew and captain. Several anti-Japan protests erupted in China, and the crew and captain were eventually released. Last month, the Japanese government reached a deal to purchase the islands from private owners, which has been the main source of all of the protests and anger of the past few weeks.

A common sight in China recently. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443855804577598731289215766.html)

Throughout China, anti-Japan protests have been raging, with throngs of people marching on the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and plenty of other mass gatherings across the country. Japanese flags have been burned, Toyotas have been flipped over, and plenty of sushi restaurants have been destroyed. As China still holds a big grudge against Japan for never officially apologizing for the atrocities committed during WWII, there is plenty of pent up anger – this certainly isn’t all about a few tiny islands. While it seems as if things have calmed down a bit over the past week, with many people in Chinese packing up and heading off for a vacation, it’s certainly not going away. With a big power shift in the Chinese government coming soon, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. [/private]

October 08, 2012 – Japan’s ‘incorporation’ of Dokdo in 1905 was not just about sea lions

A newly forged cultural agreement will reinforce relations between the two countries

The explanation presented by the Japanese government on the annexation of Dokdo is oversimplified. Nakai Yozaburo, a resident of Shimane Prefecture in Japan, wished to obtain a exclusive permit to hunt sea lions on Dokdo, according to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1904, he filed a petition with the Japanese government and the islets were subsequently “incorporated” into Japanese territory on Jan. 28, 1905, it says. 

There are untold facts in the MOFA’s account, however. At that time, Japan was at war with Russia over supremacy in Korea and Manchuria. Surveillance information and communication were vital and Japanese officials found the island a potentially useful base for monitoring Russian ships and laying submarine cables. Meanwhile, Nakai submitted a request for the incorporation and lease of the islets as suggested by Maki Bokushin, then director of the fishery bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. Two years earlier, however, Maki wrote a recommendation for a book, titled “Kankai tsgyo shishin,” or “A Guide to Fisheries in Korean Waters,” which apparently suggested that Dokdo was Korean territory.

[private]

Japan’s ‘incorporation’ of Dokdo in 1905 was not just about sea lions

  • 2012-10-03 19:51
  • A newly forged cultural agreement will reinforce relations between the two countries

The explanation presented by the Japanese government on the annexation of Dokdo is oversimplified. Nakai Yozaburo, a resident of Shimane Prefecture in Japan, wished to obtain a exclusive permit to hunt sea lions on Dokdo, according to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1904, he filed a petition with the Japanese government and the islets were subsequently “incorporated” into Japanese territory on Jan. 28, 1905, it says. 

There are untold facts in the MOFA’s account, however. At that time, Japan was at war with Russia over supremacy in Korea and Manchuria. Surveillance information and communication were vital and Japanese officials found the island a potentially useful base for monitoring Russian ships and laying submarine cables. Meanwhile, Nakai submitted a request for the incorporation and lease of the islets as suggested by Maki Bokushin, then director of the fishery bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. Two years earlier, however, Maki wrote a recommendation for a book, titled “Kankai tsgyo shishin,” or “A Guide to Fisheries in Korean Waters,” which apparently suggested that Dokdo was Korean territory.

Aerial view of Dokdo islets (The Korea Herald)

Though Dokdo had been a source of diplomatic spats, the Japanese government at the time did not bother to make an inquiry to Korea, nor did it inform neighboring countries of the “incorporation.” 

Why bother informing neighbors? By the time of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, Korea was virtually occupied by the Japanese army. Japan had forcibly appropriated Korean land for military purposes and succeeded in depriving Korea of its financial and diplomatic autonomy. Within a year after the merger of Dokdo, Korea would lose full diplomatic sovereignty and become a colony of Japan. The acquisition of Dokdo was the beginning of Japan’s colonization of Korea.

At present, the United States remains a concerned friend of the two countries. It maintains a neutral position, urging both to approach the territorial issue with cooler heads. It should be remembered, though, that Washington played a role in the making of today’s Dokdo issue. 

Japan’s advance to occupy Korea was possible due partly to the assistance of the U.S., which ignored the “good offices” article in the 1882 treaty with Seoul. Tokyo fought the Russo-Japanese War with the “invisible” support of the U.S. and Britain, both of which feared Russian expansion in Northeast Asia. The Taft-Katsura Agreement of July 1905, reached prior to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty in September 1905, ensured that the U.S. take the Philippines and Japan take Korea. After all, both the U.S. and Japan were imperialist powers for which Korea was nothing but the object to victimize. 

To justify Japan’s possession of Dokdo, the MOFA today emphasizes a memorandum written in 1951 by Dean Rusk, then U.S. assistant secretary of state, in which the islets are said to have been “never treated as part of Korea.” Apart from the ongoing discussion of its validity as proof of Japan’s possession, the memorandum embodies Washington’s inclination to favor Japanese ownership of the islets during the occupation period immediately after World War II. While further research by scholars will clarify how this understanding of Dokdo was formed, it should be noted that the U.S. was well aware of the strategic value of Dokdo. The U.S. government used the islets as an aerial bombing range from 1947 to 1953. On June 8, 1948, a number of South Korean fishermen were killed due to a lack of prior warning. While the U.S. eventually chose not to support either country’s position, its interest in Dokdo during that period should be viewed in the context of the Cold War.

In integrating Dokdo in 1905, Tokyo saw the islets only from a strategic viewpoint. Japanese officials were less interested in sea lion hunting than in utilizing Dokdo for the expansion of the empire. Likewise, the U.S.’ concern in 1951 was not about the safety of South Korean fishermen, people whom it had “liberated” from the fetters of Japanese colonial rule. In the eyes of Washington, Dokdo was instead a tiny dot to use for American supremacy in the Cold War. The MOFA’s claim to Dokdo based upon its 1905 incorporation reveals that it has inherited the mindset of Japanese imperialism, which was supposed to have been overcome after World War II.

Perhaps the early 20th century was a time when people believed in force. Yet there is no reason why we must keep the same mindset when there are numerous global issues and international cooperation is essential. The U.S. should admit its responsibility, even if it was remote, in the Dokdo issue so that this ongoing argument may be resolved through justice. At the same time, Tokyo should understand that it is only hurting its reputation in the international community by claiming the ownership of the islets it gained through imperialist methods. That insistence is a deception toward both its own citizens and its neighbors, whether they are living, dead, or yet to be born. 

Junko Kim

By Junko Kim 

Junko Kim is a Japanese citizen and an assistant professor of Japanese language at Hongik University in Yeongi, South Chungcheong Province. She obtained her master’s degrees in international affairs from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and in library and information science from the University of California, Los Angeles. ― Ed. [/private]

October 05, 2012 – Japan Produces Documents Revealing Sizeable Holes in Chinese Senkaku Ownership Claim

Yesterday, however, the Japanese government took a step towards legally resolving the dispute, producing official documentation that refutes the Chinese government’s claim over the islands, and suggesting that the Chinese side is “contradicting” itself.

In a statement released yesterday by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign affairs, it has become clear that, up until the 1970s, China had not once attempted to claim ownership of the Senkaku islands, nor contest Japan’s claim to them.

 

Producing a copy of a document written and distributed by the former Chinese Communist Party in 1953, the Japanese Ministry point to the opening of the article, in which the Senkaku islands are clearly identified as a part of the Okinawa archipelago, or “Ryukyu”,  and thus under Japanese rule.

 

October 01, 2012 – China runs ads in top US newspapers claiming disputed islands

China’s official English-language newspaper took out advertisements on Friday in U.S. newspapers to assert the country’s sovereignty over a chain of islands, also claimed by Japan, in the East China Sea.

China Daily took out the advertisement, titled “Diaoyu Islands Belong to China”, with text over a color picture of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan, in the New York Times and the Washington Post, saying that islands “have been an inherent territory of China since ancient times.” According to employees from the paper, the text is an excerpt from a white paper on the islands released by the Chinese government, Beijing Morning Post reported.

 

 September 19, 2012 – The Inconvenient Truth Behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands

This is a dispute that both sides should refer to the International Court of Justice, rather than allow to boil over in the streets. That said, when I look at the underlying question of who has the best claim, I’m sympathetic to China’s position.

 September 18, 2012 – Are Sino-Japanese ties doomed over islands dispute?

he Sino-Japanese conflict over the disputed Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu in China) is escalating. China sent a surveillance vessel and 2,000 Chinese fishing boats are waiting in the territory near the islands, which are raising fears of a bilateral naval confrontation. Senkaku, or uninhabited islands covering 6.3 kilometers, is the frontline of a nationalistic and resources war between the two countries. Scientists say below the islands are a large reserves of oil and gas. Others claim that the volume of fossil fuels could be seven billion tons, or equivalent to that of the oil field in the Black Sea.

September 14, 2012 – Island Grabbing in the South China Sea – The National Interest

Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou (a graduate of Harvard Law School and a reputed scholar of international law) has cited recently a heretofore little-known agreement that gives Taiwan a stronger claim to the islands. Ma’s more salient point is that the claimants should try to reach an understanding that puts aside the territorial claims and focuses on extracting the precious resources.

September 14, 2012 – China ships sail in waters near disputed islands (with video)

Six Chinese surveillance ships briefly entered waters around islands claimed by both Japan and China, amid a bitter territorial dispute.

China said the ships were carrying out “law enforcement” to show jurisdiction over the islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Three vessels left after a short time and the other three have now also left, the Japanese coast guard said.

August 14, 2012 – Japan v. China: The Kabuki Theater Standoff over the Senkaku Islands

Analysis: China and Japan have little room for compromise as tensions rise over the disputed Senkaku islands. Still, it is part of a broader dance between the region’s two biggest powers that is short-wired — at least for now — to try and avoid an explosion of conflict.

August 08, 2012 – Disputed islands are Japan’s under international law

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From 1885 on, surveys of the Senkaku Islands were thoroughly conducted by the government of Japan. Through these surveys, we confirmed that the islands had been uninhabited and showed no trace of having been under the control of the Qing Dynasty of China. Based on this, Japan made a cabinet decision on January 14 1895 formally to incorporate the islands into its territory.

August 02, 2012 – Govt to let Tokyo officials visit Senkakus

The central government plans to allow officials of the Tokyo metropolitan government to land on the three Senkaku Islands it hopes to purchase to conduct land surveys, according to several sources close to the matter.

August 01, 2012 – Noda ¥2 billion Senkaku offer second in line

The administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has proposed a purchase price of around ¥2 billion to the owner of some of the disputed Senkaku Islands, sources said Tuesday.

However, they said the owner has no intention of accepting the offer as he is eager to move forward in negotiations with Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who wants the metropolitan government to buy the uninhibited islets claimed by China and Taiwan.

The owner was quoted as saying, “I cannot make Mr. Ishihara lose face,” underscoring the uncertainty of whether the Noda administration can pave the way for nationalizing some of the islets in the East China Sea.

The central government called on the owner last month to hold talks with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Nagahama but was turned down. A few days later the administration told the owner it was willing to buy three of the islets for “nearly ¥2 billion,” according to the sources.

The Kurihara family owns four of the five islets that make up the chain. The administration is aiming to buy Uotsuri, the largest, as well as nearby Kitakojima and Minamikojima, owned by the same brother. The fourth islet, Kuba, is owned by a sister and is not for sale at this time. The remaining islet, Taishojima, is already owned by the central government.

The metropolitan government said it had received almost ¥1.4 billion in donations from people as of Monday to buy the same islets.

The Cabinet apparently is trying to get the owner to reverse his plan to sell the islets to the metropolitan government by offering more cash than the local authority can pay.

July 31, 2012 – Seoul firm on Japan’s Dokdo claim

Seoul on Tuesday strongly criticized Tokyo’s renewed territorial claims over Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in its annual defense paper.

The move came as the 2012 defense white paper, released by the Japanese Defense Ministry and approved by Cabinet earlier in the day, again included the statement “dispute over northern territories and Takeshima (Japanese name for Dokdo) still remains unresolved,” calling these areas its “inherent territory.” 

The referring of the islets as Japanese territory in its annual paper began in 2005 under the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and continued in the same language even after a regime change to the liberal Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in 2009.

“(The South Korean) government strongly protests and calls for an immediate correction in Japan’s inclusion of territorial claims to Dokdo, which is clearly indigenous territory of Korea in terms of history, geography and international law, in the Defense of Japan 2012,” Cho Tae-young, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, Tuesday. “(The South Korean government) will not allow any kinds of territorial claims on Dokdo by Japan.”

The ministry also summoned Takashi Kurai, minister and deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Korea, to express “deep regrets” over the claim. 

Reflecting the frustration over its neighbors’ repeated challenge against the territorial sovereignty, the level of protest has been raised, according to the foreign ministry, compared to the previous year.

Following the release of the white paper in 2011, the foreign ministry’s spokesman made an unofficial comment instead of an official one. The ranking of a Japanese diplomat summoned to the ministry has been raised as well as Kurai ranks second in the Japanese mission to Korea. Formerly, senior-level Japanese diplomats have been summoned.

“It is really disappointing that there is no change in Japan’s attitude regarding the matter,” said the ministry spokesman in a regular briefing, Tuesday. “We will keep on pushing the Japanese government to stop the claims.”

On the day, the defense ministry issued a similar statement, saying it “sternly handles any kinds of moves that hurt the sovereignty of Dokdo.”

Dokdo islets, lying in the body of water that divides the Korean Peninsula and Japan, have long been a bone of contention in relations between the two countries as Japan believes the islets’ sovereignty is still undesignated. They are currently effectively controlled by the South Korean government.

Insiders say Seoul’s stepped-up approach against Tokyo’s territorial claims is also in line with the neighboring nation’s latest drive to increase its military capability by asserting its right of collective self-defense to engage in military operations overseas coupled with Japan’s refusal to compensate Korean women who were forcibly conscripted by the former imperial Japan for sexual slavery during Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945).

Experts say Japan will maintain its hard-line stance in foreign relations issues in the future.

“The ruling Japanese DPJ, which took office in 2009, has factions that back moderate and liberal policies but it should also be underscored that the DPJ is a party formed by many factions including far-right figures like the current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda,” said Jo Yang-hyeon, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA). 

The professor added that on top of the DPJ’s nature, a shift in the balance of power in Northeast Asia following the United States’ return to the Asia-pacific region and rising military capabilities of China have caused Japanese society to back a hard-line stance as they feel a threat to national security.

“The clash between Tokyo and Beijing over the disputed islands of Senkaku (in the East Sea in 2010) served as a momentum for the entire Japanese society to move to the right,” Jo said. “Extended territorial claims by the DPJ with its neighbors reflect these points.”

Tokyo lately is considering buying the Senkaku Islands from the present Japanese owner to gain an upper hand in the territorial dispute with China. The move sparked an angry response from China, Asia’s rising superpower, further putting tension on bilateral ties.

The latest defense paper of Japan saw a rise in Chinese military’s role as a potential risk to Japan’s national security.

July 30, 2012Japan’s New Islands? Nationalism makes a comeback. 

Earlier this year, Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara took time out from presiding over the world’s largest city to initiate a fundraising drive. It wasn’t his own campaign coffers that Ishihara was seeking to fill—campaign spending is severely limited in Japan, anyway. Rather, the famously nationalistic (some say jingoistic) governor began a drive to purchase three of the five islands that make up the Senkakus, which are claimed by China, Taiwan, and Japan. A chain of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, the Senkakus are primarily valued for their fisheries and possible stores of oil.

July 29, 2012 – Ad in Wall Street Journal seeks U.S. support for Senkaku purchase plan

Kyodo

NEW YORK — The Tokyo Metropolitan Government ran an ad in Friday’s Wall Street Journal asking for U.S. support over its plan to buy four of the Senkaku Islands from their private owners.

Covering two-thirds of a page and titled “To the American People from Tokyo, Japan,” the ad said, “It is with the hope of gaining the understanding and support of the American people for our purchase of the Senkaku Islands that we are running this issue advocacy ad today.” 

Claiming that China is ramping up pressure over the territorial dispute, the ad warned that “failure to support the Asian nations confronting China would result in the United States losing the entire Pacific Ocean.”

Tensions have risen recently, with Chinese vessels repeatedly spotted in the islets’ surrounding waters.

The ad said that the Senkakus are “historically Japanese territory” and located in Okinawa Prefecture, “which is of indispensable geostrategic importance to U.S. force projection.”

Gov. Shintaro Ishihara announced Tokyo’s plan to purchase the uninhabited but potentially resource-rich isles in April.

China claims that the islets, which it refers to as the Diaoyu, have been part of its territory since ancient times, but Japan maintains they are an integral part of Japanese territory and that there is no territorial dispute between the two countries.

July 28, 2012 – Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: A tinderbox to a proxy Third Sino-Japanese War

In case names confuse anyone, the Japanese called it Senkaku Islands long after China used the term Diaoyu (Fishing Platform). After Japan defeated China in1894 in what is known as the First Sino-Japanese War, and after the Treaty of Shimonoseki 1895, she had no name for Diaoyu, which she incorporated into the Ryuku Island chain to form Okinawa. 

July 28, 2012 – Hotline with China eyed to avoid clashes at isles

The mechanism is intended to prevent run-ins and other incidents involving Japanese and Chinese warships and warplanes from developing into a military clash.

Tokyo has set up similar military communications mechanisms with Moscow and Seoul, but not with Beijing.

July 27, 2012 – Japan may deploy forces to East China Sea disputed islands

“Senkaku or not, defense of islands is principally conducted by the coastguard and police,” Morimoto said, adding that “However, the law stipulates that Self-Defense Forces troops can act” if local authorities are unable to handle the situation. 

July 27, 2012 – Noda hints at using SDF to defend Senkaku Islands

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda indicated that Japan may resort to using military force to defend its territory, including the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

“In case a neighboring country engages in illegal acts on our territorial soil and in our territorial waters, including the Senkaku Islands, we will react resolutely, including the possible use of the Self-Defense Forces as the need arises,” Noda told a plenary session of the Lower House on July 26.

July 26, 2012 – Japan plans ASEAN sea security

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday that “whatever unilateral action the Japanese side takes” regarding the islands would be “unlawful and invalid.”

The Senkakus, which are called Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan, are a group of uninhabited islets that technically fall under the jurisdiction of Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture.

July 25, 2012 – Taiwan urges Japan to restrain over Tiaoyutai dispute

Taipei, July 25 (CNA) Taiwan’s government urged Japan to restrain itself on issues related to the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands Wednesday, amid reports that the Japanese government has moved to nationalize the island group in the resource-rich East China Sea. 

In a statement, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the country’s firm sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais, also kn

July 25, 2012 – Negotiation may be the only way to avoid Senkaku violence

Hiroyuki Kurihara (栗原弘行), a relative of the current owner of four of the Senkaku Islands, called a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo last Friday, urging restraint on the part of Japan, the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan so that a war may be prevented.

July 24, 2012 – Archive for the ‘Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands’ tag

Dissecting the Global Times’ (GT) Nationalism

According to the Financial Times, the Global Times recently published an editorial calling for the Chinese government to revisit the sovereignty of Okinawa as part of the ongoing Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute between China and Japan. The nationalists making this argument purportedly use an Okinawan tributary relationship with the Chinese dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. I doubt this is more than just an errant one-off kind of thing, but this is an even more extreme instance of a series of asinine territorial claims based on sketchy history.

As always it is helpful to try to find the original source material, even if FT strangely doesn’t link to it. I was weirdly unable to find the editorial on the Global Times (环球时报) website, but I did find a reproduction of it on Sohu

 July 24, 2012 – Japan Concerned Over China’s Increased Naval Activity

The document expressed concern over China’s reluctance to disclose military information. It has also noted Russia’s increased military activities in the sea off Japan where Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited one of the disputed islands recently earning the wrath of Japan.

July 24, 1012 – Japan’s claim to Okinawa disputed by influential Chinese commentators

In a fiery editorial this month, the Global Times newspaper urged Beijing to consider challenging Japan’s control over its southern prefecture of Okinawa, an island chain with a population of 1.4 million people that bristles with U.S. military bases.

July 23. 2012Defense chief in favor of Tokyo officials landing on Senkaku Islands Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said Saturday he believes the central government should permit a party of Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials to land on the disputed Senkaku Islands.

July 22, 2012Beware a September surprise In this situation, China might actually move on the Senkakus (in the East China Sea), making a fait accompli. Naysayers may argue that it can’t happen, but history shows the results of wishful thinking that is oblivious to the potential for blitzkrieg-like attacks.

July 22, 2012  – Steering through troubled waters If Japan goes ahead with its bid to buy the disputed islands in the East China Sea, it could gravely damage its relations with China.

July 21, 2012  –  Japan reveals plans for Senkaku Islands (second link)

The government plans to build a port and a lighthouse on the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture once the envisaged nationalization of the islands is realized, government sources said.

July 18, 2012 – Stop infighting over the Senkakus

Currently, the central government owns Taisho Island, one of the five main islands of the Senkaku Islands. The four other islands are owned privately and the central government is leasing them from the owners.

July 18, 2012 – Senkaku Islands: US reneges on its promise to protect Japan

For the second time in less than 2 years, the US is claiming that it will not get involved in the Senkaku Island’s conflict between Japan and China despite recognizing the islands as Japanese territory.  This comes as some shoick to the Japanese who have been hosting US troops in Japan for over 6 decades on the promise that the US would protect Japan’s sovereignty.  Apparently, Japan forgot to read the fine print on the Japan/US security treaty.

July 18, 2012 – Japan-China Territorial Dispute is Serious, and Escalating!

The Prime Minister’s residence in Tokyo has a “war room.” During the a.m. hours of July 11 the room was bustling as government and Japanese

Self Defense Force officials studied intelligence and heard briefings on intrusions of three Chinese navy ships into waters around the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyutai Islands) claimed by Japan as its “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ).

July 16, 2012 – Behind Japan’s Senkaku strategy

Neither the Republic of China nor the People’s Republic was a signatory to the 1951 treaty. Although Tokyo signed a peace treaty with Taipei in 1952 and a treaty of amity with Beijing in 1974, nothing was mentioned about the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, with both Taipei and Beijing believing the islets belonged to “the islands appertaining to the said island of Fomorsa” that were restored to the Republic of China by the peace treaty of 1952, whereas Tokyo holds a different view. The Japanese government argues that the disputed islands were terra nullius, while Taipei and Beijing dispute the claim by citing Yamagata’s reasons and decisions to turn down the Nishimura request.

July 16, 2012 – The role of Okinawa in the East China Sea islands dispute

After the US occupation of Okinawa in April 1945, the prefecture became one of the most important US strategic and logistic bases in the Asia-Pacific region. Containing a chain of hundreds of small islands between Taiwan and Kyushu, the southernmost main island of Japan proper, it was considered the foundation of the US First Island chain ranging from South Korea to Diego Garcia.

 July 16, 2012 – Japan Stakes Claim to Senkaku Islands

July 14, 2012 – China’s despotic incursions in other country’s territory

Again, as in the Spratly and Scarborough dispute, the Chinese government issued a statement, saying, that “the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets have always been China’s territory since ancient times.”

July 12, 2012 – Genba, Yang tread carefully around Senkaku Islands issue 

PHNOM PENH–Despite perceived provocations on both sides, Japan and China gingerly avoided escalating tensions on the tricky Senkaku Islands issue when their respective foreign ministers met here July 11.

The timing of Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba’s talks with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, could not have come at a more delicate time.

Genba was in Cambodia for meetings of foreign ministers in various forums under the umbrella of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Not only did Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda indicate on July 7 that the central government intends to purchase the Senkaku Islands from private landowners, but three Chinese fishery patrol ships were spotted in waters near the disputed islands just hours before the meeting between Genba and Yang.

July 10, 2012 – Senkaku islands not a diplomatic matter: Japan

While the International Court of Justice in The Hague deals with territorial and other disputes between countries, Japan is not considering filing a complaint with the UN body, according to sources.

“If the government approaches the World Court [to resolve the issue], it would give the impression that Japan acknowledges the existence of a territorial dispute over the islands. This is China’s intention,” a government source said.

July 10, 2012U.S. says Senkaku Islands fall within scope of Japan-U.S. security treaty

July 10, 2012 – U.S. says Senkaku Islands fall within scope of Japan-U.S. security treaty

The Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea to which China and Taiwan have both made claim, fall within the scope of the 1960 Japan-U.S. security treaty which requires the country to defend Japan in the event of armed attacks, a senior State Department official said Monday.

July 10, 2012Senkaku islands not a diplomatic matter: Japan

The Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea to which China and Taiwan have both made claim, fall within the scope of the 1960 Japan-U.S. security treaty which requires the country to defend Japan in the event of armed attacks, a senior State Department official said Monday.

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Socotra Rock/Ieodo – China vs Taiwan

October 07, 2012 – Dokdo, Iedo need enhanced protection

(International maritime law does not recognize the legitimacy of disputes over a submerged rock.)

By Kim Se-jeong

Korea needs to enhance its naval capacity to protect its southernmost and easternmost islets, both currently at the center of territorial disputes, according to a government report released Sunday.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration’s (DAPA) report suggested the Navy should have at least three to four task groups to safeguard Dokdo in the East Sea and Ieodo in the South Sea from foreign territorial claims.

The report released by Rep.

Ahn Gyu-baek of the main opposition Democratic United Party estimated that the establishment of four naval task groups would cost 22 trillion won (19.8 billion) to be manned by 6,100 troops.

“The DAPA’s blueprint for reinforced naval task groups can hardly be achieved under the 2012-2030 long-term defense reform plan,” said Rep. Ahn.

The first naval task group was established in February 2010.

They usually consist of two Aegis destroyers, two Korean-type destroyers, 16 antisubmarine helicopters, one amphibious landing ship, two 3,000-ton-class submarines, three maritime patrol aircraft and one logistics support ship.

According to the DAPA, the report is born out of the need to be prepared for the eventuality of a military confrontation with contesting neighboring states over these territories.

Defense Minister Kim Kwanjin concurred with the rationale of the report during a parliamentary inspection session on Friday but added that the proposal does not meet the immediate shortterm security safeguard needed to achieve this goal. He hinted that in its place, “the government will begin the construction of six next-generation destroyers mounted with the capability to address this need.” Tensions between Seoul and Tokyo escalated after Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited the Dokdo islets in August, to the displeasure of Tokyo, which also lays claim to them.

Meanwhile, Ieodo, a rock 4.6 meters under sea level, south of Jeju Island, is at the center of conflicting territorial claims between Seoul and Beijing. The dispute is compounded by the overlapping nature of the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of both states, an already tense situation not helped by the fact that international maritime law does not recognize the legitimacy of disputes over a submerged rock.

Korea currently runs both civilian and scientific facilities there.

October 04, 2012 – China renounces Socotra Rock territorial claim

South Korea is too scared of China to call Socotra Rock its “territory” because it knows Little Kim is waiting to turn Seoul into a sea of fire! South Korea is so scared it jumped up and down as soon as China declared we will use unmanned drones to patrol Socotra Rock.

its not an island, its a rock under the water, i dont think they ever claimed the rock per say and thus cant really “renounce” what they didnt claim in the first place, the dispute is over the overlapping EEZ not some rock under the water

October 03, 2012 – China renounces Socotra Rock territorial claim

China denies reports on plan to monitor Ieodo with drones: sources | YONHAP NEWS

SEOUL, Oct. 3 (Yonhap) — China has denied reports that it plans to use unmanned drones to conduct marine surveillance of Ieodo and clarified that it has no intention to lay claim to the submerged rock in waters off South Korea’s southern coast, diplomatic sources in Seoul said Wednesday.

Quoting an official at the Chinese State Oceanic Administration, some Chinese newspapers reported last month that Beijing plans to use unmanned aircraft by 2015 to monitor uninhabited islands or islets claimed by it and other neighboring countries such as Japan and the Philippines. The reports said Ieodo, controlled by South Korea, would also be among them.

The reports sparked concerns in South Korea that the Chinese plan may be intended to lay jurisdiction over Ieodo.

In response to Seoul’s query, China has recently clarified that those reports do not represent its official position and reflect only “a personal opinion” of the official quoted, the sources said.

The Chinese official just “mentioned the extent of the surveillance organization’s work from a technical aspect,” the Beijing government said in its reply to Seoul, according to the sources.

China emphasized in its reply that Ieodo should not be a subject of territorial dispute between the two countries, the sources said.

South Korea, therefore, will not lodge a formal protest against the purpoted Chinese plan, a South Korean foreign ministry official told Yonhap News Aency.

“It would be difficult for the government to lodge a protest through formal diplomatic channel since the plan can’t be seen as intended to lay jurisdictional claim to Ieodo,” the official said, requesting that he not to be named.

Ieodo, which is 4.6 meters under sea level, lies within the overlapping exclusive economic zones of South Korea and China. Although international maritime law stipulates that a submerged rock cannot be claimed as territory by any country, South Korea effectively controls Ieodo, which is closer to it than any other country.

South Korea has taken steps to reinforce its control over the islet and in 2003 built an unmanned maritime research station on it to monitor weather conditions and survey maritime features in the area.

Ieodo is located 149 kilometers southwest of Korea’s southernmost island of Marado and 247 kilometers northeast of the nearest Chinese island Tongdao.

South Korea and China have been in negotiations to delineate their exclusive economic zones in waters near Ieodo since 1996, but no agreement has been reached.

[/update]

List of worldwide territorial disputes – Wikipedia

1 thought on “The Lighthouse as a Sovereignty Symbol

  1. Feel free to link to any and all items regarding the South China Sea, Spratly Islands, Scarborough Shoals, etc.

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