2008 | 8 - Współczesny Daleki Wschód w stosunkach międzynarodowych - rywalizacja i mocarstwowość | 203-220
Spór Chin i Japonii o Archipelag Senkaku
Chinese-Japanese Dispute Over The Senkaku Islands
Languages of publication
The Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyutai Islands are a group of disputed, uninhabited five small volcanic islands and three rocky outcroppings. The islands are located roughly northeast of Taiwan, due west of Okinawa, and due north of the end of the Ryukyu Islands in the East China Sea. They are currently controlled by Japan, but also both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) claim that these islands fall under their respective sovereign jurisdiction. Historically, the islands are of insignificant economic value be- sides the rich fishing stock. They were mainly used as safe harbour for local fishers or navigation points so that till 1970 sovereignty over them wasn't discussed or questioned. However, a study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (UNECAFE) published in 1969 suggested that the seabed of the East China Sea could be one of the richest oil and gas-deposit areas in the region. It became apparent that the acquisition of territorial sovereignty over these islands might legitimise future claims to the adjacent territorial sea, and possibly to justify the creation of an exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The direct reason for the dispute was however the fact of giving the administration over the Riukiu islands and Senkaku back to Japan (in 1972) from temporary US military administration after the WW II. Japan declined the Chine- se claims and pointed out that till the mid 1970 no such claims were laid. Additionally for both sides military (due to location it is an important point in Japanese self defence system) and political (need to show the power of the countries at realizing their national interests, claims of sovereignty over the islands raised the spirit of nationalism in both countries used by politicians) meaning of the disputed territory became clear. The claims of both sides use a variety of historical, law and other reasons. The Chinese argumentation is trying to show that its acts of prior discovery, use, and ownership of the islands are sufficient to grant it legal title and argues about the legal treaties regarding these territories asserting that Japan specifically ceded the islands to China after World War II. On the other side Japan concentrate on the facts that it claims legal possession of the islands and peacefully and continuously exercised sovereignty over the is- lands for over one hundred years also the different interpretation of the treaties is represented. Both sides present extensive documentary evidence and historical arguments to prove title to the islands and appear unwilling to negotiate any compromise. The national pride and political interest have resulted in number of protests, incidents and quarrels over these territories started mainly by Chinese nationalists to support bad feelings against Japan or to make a pressure on Japanese government. However the situation in the region, despite the lack of cooperation in this matter is stabile. The economic concurrence between the countries and their need for mineral resources make the dispute stay open and to be used in the right time (as bargain by China) but it doesn't change the fact that Japan is exercising authority over the islands. Additionally the other disputes these countries have with their neighbours make it more difficult to achieve a sati factionary result because it could influence them as the sign of weakness. It is highly possible that the dispute will stay unsolved and without causing broader tensions will be used in particular cases according to the political interests of both sides.
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