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Xi tells Obama to be fair on China's maritime disputes

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Fair is fair, and he's right, we should be objective about this and not allow emotion to make us do anything stu-...ahem, lets get to the facts:

The US took control of the entirety of Japan after WWII, up until 1954. Japanese territory not deemed to be Japan's core territory was formally returned to all parties to whom Japan took them from. China did not mention the Senkaku Islands at this point.

Then when sovereignty was returned to Japan, the US retained Okinawa for a little while. China did not mention the Senkaku Islands at this point, either. Actually, maps and newspapers in China during the 1950s showed the Senkakus as Japanese territory. So, nope, still no claim until we get to...

Then the US was ready to hand over the Senkaku Islands back to Japan along with Okinawa prefecture...and then they discovered oil under the islands in a 1971 UN report...and China suddenly has a claim! I wonder where they were hiding it for the past 20 years...

So, objectively, China has no leg to stand on. Sounds good?

We don't even need to discuss the "objectivity" of China's claims to the South China Sea. Objectively speaking, I'm not entirely sure what kind of medication they're on thinking THAT would fly.

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Would China expect all nations both present and past return to "convenient" territories?

Should Poland be returned to Germany, Austria, and Russia?

Should Western Ukraine be returned to Poland and eastern Germany expanded to pre-1945 territory?

Should Mexico have a larger footprint extending into the US?

Should USA exist?

Shall Europe return to the Roman empire?

Will Israel exist?

China, go pound sand. Weather it for oil or Naval value MGigante says accurately. Where were prior claims?

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MGigante Mar. 25, 2014 - 07:25AM JST Then when sovereignty was returned to Japan, the US retained Okinawa for a little while. China did not mention the Senkaku Islands at this point, either. Actually, maps and newspapers in China during the 1950s showed the Senkakus as Japanese territory. So, nope, still no claim until we get to...

Senkaku/Daioyu islands were transferred to Japan in terms of “administrative rights.” The U.S. clearly avoided the term “sovereignty” when returning these islands in 1972. The phrase reflects in part the ambiguous status of the Senkaku/Daioyu Islands. The Senkaku/Daioyu Islands were not part of the Ryukyu Kingdom originally. In addition, given the political environment of the Cold War the special proximity of these islands to the PRC gave them a special status in the eyes of the U.S. Perhaps the U.S. wished to carve out a special political space for those islands. That phrase “administrative rights” with regards to the islands deserves careful consideration. One might ask what exactly the difference is between “administrative rights” and sovereignty or ownership. In what exact sense does an island belong to a nation and who, ultimately does that nation belong to?

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It's funny, comically so, for the chinese leader to even mention "fairness". How about removing the proverbial log from your own eye first? Pfffft!

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Translation: 'Mr. Obama, please be fair, let us take islands through military force without warning let alone consent while you don't help your allies, and send warships and gunships into foreign waters and airspace! I think that's fair enough, do you?'

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Guys, Search "Diaoyu island, the Truth" in google.

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"Fair", to China, is "my way or the highway." Perhaps China would like to be fair about Tibet? How about something constructive regarding NK? Yeah, right, I thought not.

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@sfjp330,

I am well aware of the wording used. This was so that the normalization of relations between Japan and China and the US and China would not be undermined. That said, America's transfer of the islands (and recent statements regarding what falls under the US-Japan security treaty) all suggest that the US supports Japan's de facto sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands.

That being said, these islands were clearly terra nullus prior to the first Sino-Japanese war since no Chinese ever settled them, nor were they ever developed. If we are fair and objective, the only nation with a valid claim to these islets is Japan. Of course, being fair doesn't mean looking at the evidence in this case, it means that Xi Jinping wants Japan to give up its territory.

Also, While we can debate the nature of sovereignty all day long, none of what you typed shows that China considered the Senkaku islands as Chinese territory prior to the discovery of oil in the late 60s, and none of the Chinese evidence suggests that these islands were ever part of China. So, really its a moot point. Right to sovereignty doesn't mean you can simply say: hey, I want that, so its mine. There are basic legal definitions that China does not fulfill.

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MGigante Mar. 26, 2014 - 04:09AM JST America's transfer of the islands (and recent statements regarding what falls under the US-Japan security treaty) all suggest that the US supports Japan's de facto sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands.

The Chinese stance was backed by the U.S. interpretation affirming the strict neutrality of the U.S. in this dispute and stating that the agreement does not prejudice the ownership of the islands. China's failure to protest may never invalidate a valid title to territory. In the 1972 Okinawa agreement between Japan and U.S. clearly does not comprise a transfer of title.

To claim Diaoyu Islands was terra nullius makes it hard for the Chinese to prove they were there at some times when the Japanese say their ‘10-year survey’ revealed the islands had no inhabitants. This is an absurd claim by Japan as Diaoyu is barren rock islets and no sane people would make life of living there, as the conditions were harsh. If it was terra nullius in 1895, why did Japanese needed to used the ancient Chinese name until name change to Senkaku in 1900? No wonder Okinawa goverment refused to lease Daioyu to Noda prior to 1895, because they knew that the Diaoyu islands belong to China.

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@sfjp330,

The 1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement didn't return sovereignty, because sovereignty was never in question. Reversion is a term that is part of common law in the West.

reversion n. in real property, the return to the grantor or his/her heirs of real property after all interests in the property given to others has terminated. Examples: George Generous deeded property to the local hospital district for "use for health facilities only," and the hospital is eventually torn down and the property is now vacant. The property reverts to George's descendants; George wills the property to his sister's children only, who later died without children. When the last grandchild dies the property reverts to George's descendants. Reversion is also called "reverter.">

The original "title" was already in Japanese possession and it was temporarily loaned out to the US. Japan is the grantor in this instance, and the Ryukyu islands (which, in this case, included the Senkakus from 1953; see Ryukyu proclamation #27) are the property being returned. That said, even if we were to ignore some of the legal terms in consideration of the Chinese side we can see here that the wording is not ambiguous.

Japan, as of such date, assumes full responsibility and authority for the exercise of all and any powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants of the said islands.>

Not simply administration, but jurisdiction and legislation. These are the bases of sovereignty. This means: Japan has the right to make laws regarding these islands, develop these islands and police these islands. There is nothing ambiguous here. Administration is not the sole right given to Japan over the Senkaku's, they are not merely holding the islands in order to arbitrate a dispute. Instead, these islands are Japanese territory and Japan is the only power able to exercise sovereignty over them. That being said, sovereignty does not specifically need to be listed here because this is a reversion meaning ownership of the title is already implied.

Also, I'm afraid Chinese inaction does invalidate claim. Considering China received Taiwan, and there was already a friendly Chinese regime in power on said island, what reason did the US have in keeping the Senkaku Islands from China immediately following WWII? Why didn't they lodge a formal complaint during the twenty years of US occupation? And why in those years, did China consistently refer to these islands as being part of Japan? Its because they were never actually part of China's territory, and the Chinese didn't give them a second thought until the discovery of oil, which only serves to invalidate any claims China might have had.

Further, from 1895 the Senkaku's DID have a population of around 200 Japanese people, so there goes that "proof" that no one could live on them. Until this time, they WERE terra nullius, and there was NO ATTEMPTS by China to exploit these islands in any way. Nor were there any attempts to assert sovereignty over them.

As far as having Chinese names before 1895, I do not dispute that China discovered them before Japan took control. They were used as navigation markers by Chinese ships travelling to the Ryukyu kingdom, and thus had Chinese names. But do you seriously believe discovery ALONE is enough of a basis for sovereignty? Spain discovered North America, and made maps displaying the extents of their claims back in the 17th century. Does that mean Spain has a claim to Manhattan island today? No, its because development and administration is what matters to international law, and that is something China never did in regards to these islands.

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@MGigante

If Japan has definite ownership of Senkaku/Daioyu islands without doubt, why would Japan offer to explore resources jointly with China If Japan owns it, they didn't need to ask China. It shows Japan has a weak claim and they know it. This already happened few years ago. The solution to the competing claims emerged in 2008, when Japan and China reached a principled consensus on joint development of an area that includes the potentially gas-rich Chunxiao/Shirakaba field. However, the 2010 ramming of Japanese Coast Guard cutters by a Chinese fishing boat and the subsequent arrest of the Chinese captain by the Japanese, have halted all movement toward formalizing the 2008 consensus.

In 1978, there was signing of a treaty between China and Japan for Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute. At the time, PM Fukuda and China's Deng Xiaoping accepted that "the dispute shall be posponed" "and for future generation to solve". If you own it like you said, why did J-goverment admit there is a dispute? This was first Japanese representative to admit that there was dispute over the islands. We know today, Japan goverment states "there is no dispute". In 1972, U.S. Foreign Relations Committee stated that Okinawa Revision Agreement grants Japan the rights of adminstration and not sovereignty.

In 1895, why did the J-goverment depart from an established course from its previous incorporation proceedings? The question must be raised if it is equitable to apply western influenced methods to determine the ownership of the islands. The Chinese distrusts the modern concept of international law. For Chinese, the occupation of terra nullius in 1895 is regarded as a disguised way of aggression. The Daioyu /Senkaku islands incorporation was conspicuously made. In Japan incorporation of Daiyou/Senkaku Islands, China was never notified about Japan's incorporation nor wer any formal acts carried out, which could have been regarded as Japan's symbolic incorporation. How can Japan explain these clashing differences of procedures? Was the nearby end of the Sino-Japanese war a coincidence or were political reason behind it? There must've been fear within the Japanese goverment of creating diplomatic hardship with the Chinese in case of an publicized incorporation of the islands.

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In June 2004,Japanese professor Tadayoshi Murata of Yokohama National University, published "Senkaku Islands vs the Diaoyu Islands Dispute" supports that "Since the Ming Dynasty, Chinese maps and documents of many kinds marked Diaoyu Islands, Huangwei Islands, Chiwei Islands as being lying within the territory of China". His 2nd book in 2013: "Origin of Japan's territorial issues - Official documents do not reflect the Truth".

The island did not appear in the Map of Great Japan in 1876 drew by Japan's General Staff Office of the Ministry of Army . Japan's claim of its purported "discovery in 1884" of the Diaoyu Islands contradicts with the navigation map in its own 1783 historical document Sankoku Tsuran Zusetsu published by prominent Japanese military scholar Hayashi Shihei clearly stating the island a part of China . The inconvenient Truth behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands . What does the view of some Japanese scholars tell us? Small islands - Big problem: Senkaku/Diaoyu

Japanese Professor Murata said, "We tend to take the opinion of the government, political parties and media as being the correct views and accept them readily; however, those opinions do not necessarily represent the truth. To us scholars, what is important is what is real, what is true, not the national interest; over this point, political parties and media have the same problem."

On July 14 2012, Sun Kawasaki, international intelligence chief of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said Diaoyutai and its affiliated islands is not inherent territory of Japan. He further explained that the Chinese influence in the 14th century, Chinese military had been extended to the Diaoyu Islands and their adjacent waters, while the Diaoyu Islands belong to Taiwan, Taiwan is viewed as part of China, that the Diaoyutai and its affiliated islands belong to China. He believes that maintaining the status quo is the most advantageous method to Japan.

The word 'Diaoyu' means fishing, and Chinese fishermen (mainly from Taiwan) had been using these islands as resting place. These islands are not habitable, contrary to what someone has posted. To China, the importance of these islands are not the resources as the West likes to imply, more significant is their strategic location that is encircling China, whereas Japan would not have such issue (care to look at the world map).

Coming to some sort of agreements on these dispute islands are beneficial to both countries. Relying on others for protection has inherit risks, and having a huge Asian market at its door step is very beneficial to industrial Japan.

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@sfjp330,

As to your first point, it is because the normalization of relations with China. They had just began to talk with one another, Japan wasn't looking to start a fight. Also, you're conception of Japan's gesture of good will as a "concession that a dispute must exist," is wrong. Jointly developing the Senkaku islands would placated China, and not cause an incident that would damage relations (like what is going on now). The islands are Japanese. Do not mistake the government's attempts at goodwill for "conceding to the Chinese position."

Second point, see above. It was a gesture of goodwill, at a time when goodwill was necessary for both countries. It is not because Japan's government saw an inherent flaw in their claim.

Third point, Japan had adopted the Western model of colonization and international law. This means that development, exploitation of resources and legal codes determine ownership. China did not exert any influence on the Senkaku Islands, so what reason did they have to inform China of ownership?

There is also no coincidence in the fact that Japan took control after the First Sino-Japanese War. Even at that time, China was still a force to be reckoned with. The Qing fleet was said to be one of the most powerful in Asia. A Japanese victory meant that it could do things that previously were impossible due to the Qing's more powerful position. The victor did get the Senkaku islands, but the RIGHT to take them along with its own Pacific Empire.

@globallc,

Japan is a democratic nation, and therefore scholars are free to make judgments on the issue of sovereignty. However, the work of Inoue and Murata are hardly convincing and DO NOT conform to modern, international forms of ownership. Ming claimed ownership of the entire world, including Korea and Vietnam. Ming claims can be easily rejected on the basis that the notion of sovereignty had nowhere near the same meaning as does today. Also, considering it was the Qing and not the Ming that actually solidified its borders (the Ming Emperor considered itself the ruler of the entire world, and solid borders would undermine this), it is a difficult claim to make. The fact is that Japan's 10-year survey of the Senkaku Islands found no evidence of China's exertion of authority, and there is no reason to suggest otherwise.

That said, Professor Tadashi Ikeda (Professor at Ritsumeikan University and was formerly Director-General of Asian Affairs Bureau, Deputy Vice-Minister at the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chief Representative to Taiwan) says otherwise.

http://thediplomat.com/2013/11/getting-senkaku-history-right/1/

Further, former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, on January 17th of this year, said the Senkaku's are Japanese territory based on international law.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/17/national/japan-owns-senkakus-taiwans-lee/

A quick google search showed me where you got your sources. The comment section of this website is not legitimate to cite from.

http://rt.com/op-edge/japan-china-conflict-islands-297/

I am not familiar with the intelligence official, Sun Kawasaki, so unless you can find a real source (like a news article published in Japanese media) I will ignore it.

The islands were inhabited by 200 Japanese fishermen from 1895-1945, and were never inhabited, or exploited by China. This is an indisputable fact.

China has been hemmed in by these islands for centuries, and yet it was still one of the richest, most powerful nations in the world. Why does it need these islets for "security" reasons? Why not just drop the dispute, and develop them together with Japan? Increasing security ties with Japan nullifies this whole issue of a "blockaded China." By the way, if China gets them they'll still be encircled by the Ryukyu island chain, so there goes that theory.

I agree with your last point that both nations should come to an agreement, but Japan cannot simply hand over territory to an aggressive nation with illegitimate claims.

Finally, Japan is in the process of lifting restrictions on its own military due to these aggressive actions by China, but hopefully, good relations could resume quickly to the benefit of both countries.

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