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Ryukyu sovereignty question simmers in China

by Frank Ching

The questioning of Japanese sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, by Chinese scholars appears to reflect a new Beijing approach toward antagonistic foreign governments.

A May 8 commentary in the official People’s Daily newspaper by two researchers at a top government think tank — the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences — asserted that the kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands was a Chinese vassal state during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and concluded: “It may be time to revisit the unresolved historical issue of the Ryukyu Islands.”

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, asked if China accepts that “the Ryukyus and Okinawa are Japan’s territory,” responded evasively: “Academics have long paid attention to the history of the Ryukyus and Okinawa.”

This was interpreted by some as lodging a Chinese claim to sovereignty. Actually, the goal is probably more limited. It is to weaken Japan’s claim to the disputed Senkaku Islands, which China calls the Diaoyus.

Japan claims the Senkakus as part of the Ryukyu Islands and, by arguing that the Ryukyus themselves don’t belong to Japan, China hopes to show that the Senkakus, by definition, also do not belong to Japan.

But the longer term Chinese threat is to support a secessionist movement in Japan.

On May 10, an article in the Global Times, which is affiliated to the People’s Daily, asserted that the Ryukyu issue offered leverage to China.

If Japan chooses to be antagonistic, it said, China can take a number of steps, culminating with “fostering forces in Okinawa that seek the restoration of the independence of the Ryukyu Chain. … China should impose threats on the country’s integrity.”

Interestingly, the threat to support secessionist forces in Japan comes in the wake of a similar threat to the United Kingdom, apparently in retaliation for Prime Minister David Cameron’s meeting with the Dalai Lama a year ago.

In January, the Global Times declared in an editorial: “China has more leverage than Britain has in their bilateral relations. China cultivating more contacts with separatists in North Ireland and Scotland would make London quite uncomfortable.”

On May 10, new Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, on his first overseas trip, pledged “full support” for “Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands.” Argentina fought a war with Britain over the islands in 1982, which calls them the Falklands.

Ironically, perhaps, Britain in 2008 gave up its traditional position, which acknowledged only Chinese suzerainty over Tibet, and acknowledged that Tibet was an integral part of China.

Perhaps even more ironically, Hywel Williams of Plaid Cymru, which supports Welsh independence, responded to the offer of Chinese backing for breakaway movements in the United Kingdom by calling on the communist government to improve human rights in Tibet.

Uncomfortable or not, London has promised Scotland a referendum on independence in 2014. It is unimaginable that China would ever make such an offer to Taiwan, Tibet or Xinjiang.

A Chinese strategy of supporting overseas secessionist forces to weaken unbending foreign governments — if indeed Beijing goes ahead with this plan — recalls China’s failed policy in the 1970s toward the countries of Southeast Asia.

Then, the Chinese government proclaimed friendly relations with the governments of such countries as Malaysia, Thailand and Burma. Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party was secretly giving material support to underground communist movements aimed at overthrowing those governments.

China apparently did not see the hypocrisy of such a policy — especially when it claimed not to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs — until Deng Xiaoping visited Southeast Asia in November 1978.

In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew spoke to him and successfully persuaded him to change course. It took some time for this to happen but, by the mid-1980s, China had stopped exporting revolution.

Now, again, it seems, China is seeking to undermine governments with which it has ostensibly friendly relations, this time with the aim of making them more accommodating to Chinese wishes.

However, a Chinese strategy of supporting separatist movements may well backfire.

The Global Times, surprisingly, says: “China doesn’t need to worry that bringing up the Ryukyu issue will provide an excuse for external forces to foment separatism in China. As long as significant economic and social setbacks do not take place in the country, the threat of separatism is set to diminish.”

But Beijing should realize that, despite what the Global Times says, China is extremely vulnerable, given the sympathy that Tibetans and Uigurs already enjoy in the West.

Before proceeding any further in this direction, China should pay heed to an old Chinese exhortation it has urged upon others: Rein in at the brink of the precipice.

Frank Ching is a journalist based in Hong Kong. Email: Frank.ching@gmail.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/tioh.eechueng.5 BeWay

    What is the fuss over here. Historically Ryukyu is a sovereign nation but it was forcefully annexed by Japan right before WW2. Legally and morally Ryukyu should be returned back to its people based on the terms of surrender by Japan. However Japan broke the agreement.

    • ArturoMendez

      Not even close. Have a look at some real history books sometime. They can be enlightening.

      • Ken5745

        Please name the ‘real’ history books.

    • ArturoMendez

      Nope, not even close. Try Googling “Okinawa” and “history”.

      • Ken5745

        For those who study history they would know that the earliest records of the Ryukyu islands can be found in the Book of Sui, written in AD621 to record the history of the Sui Dynasty (AD581-617).

        The Ryukyus used to be a tributary state of China. The name Ryukyu, in fact, originates from the Mandarin word ‘Liuqiu’, also spelt ‘Liuchiu’ (pronounced LewChew), a name the Chinese gave to the islands.

        Ryukyu historical records showed that from 1383 onwards, its kings derived their mandate to rule the islands from the Chinese emperor. It was a tributary state of China.

        This continued for over 2 centuries until the invasion of the Ryukyu islands by the Shimazu clan of Satsuma in April 1609. In the 17th century, the kingdom paid tributes to both China and Japan.

        In 1879 Japan annexed the islands and they were named the Okinawa prefecture by the Meiji govt.

        The monarchy in Shuri was abolished. The deposed king Shō Tai (1843–1901) was forced to relocate to Tokyo. In compensation, he was made a marquis in the Meiji system of peerage.

        Hostility against mainland Japan increased in the Ryukyus immediately after its annexation by Japan and ever since there is always an undercurrent of dissatisfaction for the Ryukyuans being treated as second class citizens.

        In the Cairo Declaration of 1943, it said that Japan shall be “expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed.”

        In the 1945 Potsdam Declaration “Paragraph 8 stated: “The terns of the the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.”

        In 1946, General MacArthur issued a statement limiting Japanese territories to the four major islands and about 1,000 small islands situated north of 30 deg latitude.

        Since the Ryukyus, and also Diaoyu islands lie south of 30 deg latitude, they are, legally speaking, no longer Japanese territory.

        In the Japanese Surrender Instrument, Japan pledged to carry out the Potsdam Declaration in good faith.

        I think there should be a referendum to see if the people of the Ryukyus want independence and to bring back the Monarchy.

        No where is China claiming the Ryukyus as Chinese territory.

      • Masa Chekov

        I have no idea what document you are cutting and pasting from but you said these exact words to me a few weeks ago.

        I must question your motives in cutting-and-pasting the same comment in multiple articles.

      • Ken5745

        Masa, I wrote the above post 7 days ago in Japan Times on the same subject.

        Just as your name don’t change from week to week, the history of the RyuKyu Islands also don’t change from week to week.

        If the subject is the same why write a different comment each time? Why not be consistent and write the same each time ? History does not change.

        Do you have the habit of revising history as you go along?

      • Masa Chekov

        I do not have the habit or revising history. I do have the habit of making unique comments for every situation and not cutting-and-pasting from politicized history books.

        I would be quite interested to see just one time that a commenter posting from a Chinese perspective have something to comment that is favorable to Japan. But instead it is always detrimental to Japan, always favorable to Chinese claims. It’s both unbelievable and quite tiresome.

      • Ken5745

        If you don’t have the habit of revising history then you should be commenting on the history of the Ryukyu that I wrote if it is wrong instead of attacking the poster.

        And it is not true that I don’t any favorable comment on Japan.

        If you care to read, I wrote in response to the JT Editorial , ‘Nationalism will undermine Japan’, May 15 that “Japan is a vital partner in Asia’s economic renaissance in the 21st Century..” Enough said.

      • Masa Chekov

        If you are using “it is a terrible mistake for Mr Abe to undermine it by blind nationalism” as support that you make favorable comments on Japan, I think you have a strange idea of the concept of “favorable comment”.

        Your history cut-and-paste was incredibly biased. It’s PRC style history – include all that fits into the pro-PRC narrative, reject all that does not. No nuance. Only that which favors PRC ends. There’s no way to have a rational discussion about that sort of “history”.

      • Ken5745

        You make no sense. Are you also implying that Japan Times’ Editor is against Japan by writing the Editorial entitled ‘Nationalism will undermine Japan’?

        Abe is not Japan in case you cannot distinguish the difference.

        Don’t talk about the PRC. If my rendition of the history of the Ryukyu is allegedly flawed lets see yours. Put your money where your mouth is, Chekov.

      • Masa Chekov

        No, I will bring up the PRC. Don’t act like they are not the root issue here. The PRC is trying to expand their influence and territory – you claim in your original cut-and-paste that the PRC is not claiming Okinawa as Chinese territory. We all know this is not the case now, it will most certainly be the case later. Incomplete narratives such as the one you post are just a step towards making that claim later.

        Not only am I going to disagree with your incomplete and pro-China history, I am going to say as I have said many times before that it is irrelevant. Senkakus and Okinawa are Japanese now. What they were or were not 130 years ago doesn’t matter now. That’s it.

      • Ken5745

        China has never claimed sovereignty over the Ryukyu since the Ming Dynasty when the Ryukyu was a tributary state and China always maintained that its sea boundary ended just past south of the Diaoyu islands or end of the Chinese continental shelf, where the sea water turned from blue to black.

        Then onwards is the boundary of the Ryukyu.

        But what China may want in the future is a referendum to see if the people of Okinawa want to be with Japan or want independence.

        As for the history of the Ryukyu you do not wish to produce one because it would be embarrassing to you as it would be the same as mine. History does not change not matter how much you disagree..

        As for the Diaoyu/Senakku, even the US does not recognize Japan’s claim of sovereignty. So why does a person with a Russian name insist that they belong to Japan is a paradox.

      • Masa Chekov

        “But what China may want in the future is a referendum to see if the

        people of Okinawa want to be with Japan or want independence.”

        This is quite frankly none of China’s business. These islands are an integral part of Japan and their disposition is purely a Japanese issue. Or else why doesn’t China let Tibetans and Uighurs vote on their independence as well?

        “As for the history of the Ryukyu you do not wish to produce one because it would be embarrassing to you as it would be the same as mine.”

        Oh no, there is no need. The recorded history is extensive and is far more nuanced than your pro-China simplification. I am no historian but I can certainly read from many, many unbiased sources. You could do the same if you chose. The history does not change but how it is recorded does (See: China’s official accounts of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Or rather lack of.)

        “As for the Diaoyu/Senakku, even the US does not recognize Japan’s claim of sovereignty.”

        I am not particularly concerned with what the US does or does not recognize any more than I am with Chinese claims on Japanese territory.

      • Ken5745

        It is China’s business if the people of the Ryukyu want independence since the Ryukyu was a tributary state. Nothing to do with Tibet or Xinjiang or the Kurile islands or Australia or Canada.

        Since you are so well read why not give us a summary of the history of the Ryukyu if you dispute mine?

        The US’s view on sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku is important because if a war erupts over the dispute, whose status quo of the Deng/Tenaka agreement was vitiated by Japan’s nationalization of the islands in Sept 2012, the US may stay on the sideline, like it did during the Falkland island war,

        As for the Kuriles, I bet you take the side of Japan too and say that the Russians have no claim on them.

        ,

      • Masa Chekov

        See, the PRC loves to think anywhere that a Chinese fishing vessel once landed was a part of China. You are conveniently neglecting that the Ryukyu kingdom was a tributary state to Japan as well. “Ah, but to China first!” I can hear you say.

        And it has everything to do with Tibet and Xinjiang. PRC loves to talk about other countries’ territories as part of China (see: Spratlys) but as soon as someone mentions formerly independent Tibet the answer is always “Not relevant!” or “China’s internal matter!” Well the status of Okinawa is Japan’s internal matter, period.

        “The US’s view on sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku is important…”

        It’s not important at all. And the US has already indicated it would fulfill its defense obligations to Japan in the event of a conflict. As they are required to do. They might as well pack up and leave Japan should they not.

        As for the Kuriles, of course Russia has a claim. They have possession. They stole them of course, which they would freely admit. But what you seem to miss is possession is almost everything when it comes to these sorts of disputes.

      • Ken5745

        Your claim “the Ryukyu kingdom was a tributary state to Japan as well.”

        What is deliberately missing from your rendition of history is that the Ryukyu was a tributary state of China “for over 2 centuries until the invasion of the Ryukyu islands by the Shimazu clan of Satsuma in April 1609.

        In the 17th century, the kingdom paid tributes to both China and Japan. In 1879 Japan annexed the islands and they were named the Okinawa prefecture by the Meiji govt.”

        Since Tibet and Xinjiang were not tributary states of Japan at any time in history they don’t count in this discussion.

        And not to forget Japan also annexed the Diaoyu islands in 1895.

        The US has warned that there should not be any unilateral act to breach the status quo in the island dispute. It is Japan that breached the status quo reached by Deng/Tanaka in 1978 by the nationalization of the Diaoyu islands.

        Possession is not everything. Japan had possession of Taiwan in perpetuity under the terms of the Shimonoseki Treaty of 1895 but had to give it back.

        Japan also has possession of Manchuko, Korea, Malaya, Singapore, etc but had to give them all back after ww2.

      • Masa Chekov

        “What is deliberately missing from your rendition of history…”

        I already said you were going to say “Ah, but to China first!” and then you did. Chinese history is always biased, always China first on everything. Argue it back enough and it will be boiled down to “Chinese civilization is oldest!” I’ve heard this many times.

        “Since Tibet and Xinjiang were not tributary states of Japan at any time in history they don’t count in this discussion.”

        Oh, but they do! Japan annexes the Senkakus and That’s Bad because they were unclaimed before though they showed up on some old maps as fishing grounds or some such nonsense. This makes them PRC territory in 2013 somehow. But independent Tibet is invaded by China outright and that discussion is “irrelevant” or “off limits”. All Chinese history is pro-China, nobody else is ever right.

        “The US has warned that there should not be any unilateral act to breach the status quo in the island dispute.”

        You need to read up on current events then. Besides, as I have made abundantly clear I don’t give a hoot about US opinions. They’ve stated they will meet their defense obligations to Japan over the Senkakus, and that’s all I care about that issue.

        “Japan had possession of Taiwan in perpetuity under the terms of the Shimonoseki Treaty of 1895 but had to give it back.”

        Japan lost a war between then and now. Now Japan has possession of both the Senkakus and Okinawa. That’s the status quo, Ken. It’s not going to change despite scholars in China trying to justify future Chinese bullying on the issue.

      • Ken5745

        Masa Chekov, the nuance you clearly missed is that though the Ryukyu was a tributary state of China for 2 centuries it did not annexed it. Japan annexed it in 1879.

        As for Tibet it had no central govt from 842 to 1240 when it was invaded by the Mongols and incorporated into the Mongol Empire. The Mongols also conquered the Jin and Song dynasties and established the Yuan dynasty in China from 1271 to 1368. Tibet was part of the Yuan dynasty and was managed by the Xuanzheng Yuan.

        So this claim of yours about “independent Tibet is invaded by China outright” is nonsense. Try to read up on history before you make a fool of yourself.

        You “don’t give a hoot about US opinions” but who cares you don’t speak for Japan.

        Though UK is part of NATO and the US was obliged to defend it under the treaty when the Falklands were invaded, the US stayed on the sideline, because the US does not promote the culture of colonization.

        It will happen again if, heavens forbid, should a war break out over the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute, as it was Japan which unilaterally breached the Deng/Tanaka agreement and the US does not recognize its claim of sovereignty.

        You don’t seem to realize that having possession is not the same as having sovereignty. Japan had possession of many islands in the Pacific, stretching from PNG to the Solomon islands to the Midways to Saipan, plus the Philippines, HK, Manchuko, Korea, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia and Burma in ww2. Are they still in Japan’s possession today? No.

        If you stole a few cars and have possession it does not mean you have title to the stolen goods.
        .

      • Masa Chekov

        “So this claim of yours about “independent Tibet is invaded by China outright” is nonsense. Try to read up on history before you make a fool of yourself.”

        Everyone but PRC historians say this is true. You should try reading non-Chinese sources for a change. You might learn some real history.

        “Though UK is part of NATO and the US was obliged to defend it under the treaty when the Falklands were invaded, the US stayed on the sideline, because the US does not promote the culture of colonization.”

        The US did not stay on the sidelines in the Falklands War. While it did not sent troops it did send munitions and other war materiel, and the US was prepared to assist even further if requested by Britain. The US and Britain have repeatedly fulfilled their NATO obligations towards each other, I don’t know why you act like they have not.

        “It will happen again if, heavens forbid, should a war break out over the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute, as it was Japan which unilaterally breached the Deng/Tanaka agreement and the US does not recognize its claim of sovereignty.”

        Do you refuse to actually read what I write? The US has already stated since China has started to act aggressively towards the Japanese Senkakus that they would fulfill their defense requirements in the event of a conflict. I have mentioned this more than once, but you still seem to think it’s 1976.

        “You don’t seem to realize that having possession is not the same as having sovereignty.”

        Of course it isn’t. Fortunately for Japan, Japan has both possession and sovereignty over the Senkakus and Okinawa Prefecture. All the bluster from the PRC and its apologists won’t change that.

      • Ken5745

        So in summary, according to History written by Masa Chekov, Japan did not annex the Diaoyu islands or the Ryukyu at all. The Mongols never conquered Tibet and incorporated it into the Yuan dynasty. Tibet has been an independent country all along.

        The problem with your rendition of history is that only you believe in the above fairy tale.

        As for the Falkland war, yes, the US did not send troops as it should have under the treaty.

        So don’t count on the US to send troop to defend the Diaoyu islands when both China and the US do not accept that Japan has sovereignty.

        Possession is not 9/10th of the law when its comes to territories.

        HK and Taiwan were ceded to the UK and Japan in perpetuity respectively under one-sided treaties signed under duress.

        What happened? They were returned to China, in Japan’s case under the Surrender Instrument and the Potsdam Declaration.

        Time will tell if Japan is able to cling on to the Diaoyu islands and the Ryukyu without hurting its 25% export to its largest customer.

      • Masa Chekov

        “So in summary, according to History written by Masa Chekov, Japan did
        not annex the Diaoyu islands or the Ryukyu at all. The Mongols never
        conquered Tibet and incorporated it into the Yuan dynasty. Tibet has
        been an independent country all along.”

        Putting words into my mouth now? Of course Japan annexed the unclaimed Senkakus in 1895. Of course Japan annexed the former Ryukyu kingdom. Just as China forcefully invaded Tibet. Same thing, isn’t it? I don’t see China giving Tibetans a vote to see if they want to be an independent kingdom again anytime soon, especially given Beijing’s violent ways of quelling any protest (that usually results in the murder of a lot of Tibetans). At least Okinawan residents are free to exercise their political freedoms and openly protest Tokyo if they want to be independent.

        “As for the Falkland war, yes, the US did not send troops as it should have under the treaty.”

        Are you deliberately not understanding this issue? There wasn’t and isn’t an obligation for NATO member states to automatically send troops to support any member nation in the case of conflict. Only if it was requested by the member state being attacked. Britain requested materiel support from the US (which was provided) and backup naval support should it be necessary (which was approved). Don’t go making up fictions about things you clearly don’t understand.

        “when both China and the US do not accept that Japan has sovereignty.”

        The only reason the US doesn’t declare the Senkakus explicitly to be Japanese is the same reason they don’t officially recognize Taiwan as an independent state. The cost to the relations with China are not worth it. But much like the US continually supports Taiwan’s defense efforts against possible PRC aggression the US will support Japan in the case of a military dispute with China. As they have made explicitly clear.

        “Time will tell if Japan is able to cling on to the Diaoyu islands and the Ryukyu without hurting its 25% export to its largest customer.”

        The PRC’s going to learn that they cannot bully everyone with the promise of cheap slave labor forever. They don’t have any ideological allies – you know, unlike Japan, the US, and Western Europe that are natural allies due to their love of liberal democracy. China has cheap manufacturing and a whole lot of people, that’s it. Once China starts threatening to remove those from the equation, who cares what China thinks?

      • Ken5745

        Ok at least we are now on the same page. Japan annexed the Diaoyu islands in 1895 and named them the Senkaku in 1900. Japan also annexed the Ryukyu in 1879.

        In case you never read the Potsdam Declaration it called for the return of all islands Japan annexed by violence or greed.

        In the Surrender Instrument, Japan agreed to carry out the terms of the Potsdam Declaration (by extension the Cairo Declaration) in good faith, that is to say, return all islands annexed by Japan. Taiwan and the Pescadores have been returned.

        So when will Japan return the
        Diaoyu/Senkaku to China or honor the agreement made by Deng and Tanaka?

        As for the Ryukyu, will Japan return it to the people there if they want independence and their kingdom back?

        As for Tibet, it has been part of China since 1240. Don’t try to change history.

        When Argentina invaded the Falklands, Thatcher flew to the US to persuade Reagan to send troops but he declined.

        Japan depends on China for 25% of its export and sale of products made in Japan and China. These are in jeopardy if Japan will not change the aggressive stance of its wartime past. Nothing to do with the price of labor in China.

        Though Abe had refused to negotiate and maintain that there is no dispute in the islands, there is light in the tunnel as the FM, Fumio Kishida, said at the Nikkei Conference on Thursday “the door to dialogue is always open.”

        Who cares about your bravado. You don’t speak for Japan.

        That is the right attitude for the FM to take and I hope Japan can at least honor the agreement made by Deng and Tanaka to postpone any decision on the Diaoyu/Senkaku to future generations in Japan and China to decide and not unilaterally nationalize the 8 islands. Enough said.

      • Masa Chekov

        “Ok at least we are now on the same page. ”

        Apparently not because

        “So when will Japan return the Diaoyu/Senkaku to China”

        “Return” them to China? They were never Chinese to begin with! Japan annexed uninhabited, unclaimed islands.

        “As for the Ryukyu, will Japan return it to the people there if they want independence and their kingdom back?”

        Probably, but this is an issue between Japan as a whole and the Japanese citizens of Okinawa prefecture. This doesn’t concern China or anyone outside Japan. After all:

        “As for Tibet, it has been part of China since 1240.”

        Tibet was independent before that, right? When is China going to let the Tibetans vote on their independence should they so choose? It’s the same issue as Okinawa, right? Except Tibet was nominally independent more recently until the brutal Chinese invasion 60 years ago. Why is Ryukyu independence a topic for discussion but Tibetan independence not?

        And I expect you to answer that honestly and completely. And please don’t tell me “It’s been 800 years” – 800 years, 130 years, same same.

        “These are in jeopardy if Japan will not change the aggressive stance of its wartime past.”

        Seems this conflict is started by Chinese aggression towards Japanese territory. After all, it’s not Japan who is sending patrol vessels into Chinese waters. It’s not Japanese people who are burning Chinese businesses. Seems like China needs to back of quite a bit here if they want peace. Right now China looks like they want their way, period, not peace.

        “Who cares about your bravado. You don’t speak for Japan.”

        Well duh. But you sure like to parrot the PRC talking points. Haven’t heard you say one negative thing whatsoever about the PRC. Always Japan’s fault, Japan’s aggression, never PRC fault for anything. Why is that?

      • Ken5745

        We are on the same page when you admitted unreservedly that “Of course Japan annexed the unclaimed Senkakus in 1895.”

        The only problem is that it is not true the islands were unclaimed or Terra Nullis as Japan now claims.

        Mr Han-Yi Shaw, a Research Fellow at the Research Center for International Legal Studies, National Chengchi University, in Taipei, Taiwan said in an article on Sept 19, 2012, quote :

        “My research of over 40 official Meiji period documents unearthed from the Japanese National Archives, Diplomatic Records Office, and National Institute for Defense Studies Library clearly demonstrates that the Meiji government acknowledged Chinese ownership of the islands back in 1885.”

        “Following the first on-site survey, in 1885, the Japanese foreign minister wrote, “Chinese newspapers have been reporting rumors of our intention of occupying islands belonging to China located next to Taiwan. At this time, if we were to publicly place national markers, this must necessarily invite China’s suspicion.…”

        “In November 1885, the Okinawa governor confirmed “since this matter is not unrelated to China, if problems do arise I would be in grave repentance for my responsibility”.

        “Surveys of the islands are incomplete” wrote the new Okinawa governor in January of 1892. He requested that a naval ship Kaimon be sent to survey the islands, but ultimately a combination of miscommunication and bad weather made it impossible for the survey to take place.”

        “Letter dated May 12, 1894 affirming that the Meiji government did not repeatedly investigate the disputed islands.”

        “Ever since the islands were investigated by Okinawa police agencies back in 1885, there have been no subsequent field surveys conducted,” the Okinawa governor wrote in 1894.

        After a number of (Qing) Chinese defeats in the Sino-Japanese War.. the Meiji government, following a cabinet decision in early 1895, promptly incorporated the islands.” Unquote.

        it is not wise to tell lies as there are Meiji period documents to prove without a doubt Japan KNEW the Diaoyu islands belong to China but annexed them in 1895 as a war booty.

        Under the Potsdam Declaration and the Surrender Instrument. the Diaoyu islands must be returned to China.

      • Masa Chekov

        “Under the Potsdam Declaration and the Surrender Instrument. the Diaoyu islands must be returned to China.”

        Utter nonsense. Feel free to reply when you find something that’s from someone who doesn’t have an ax to grind with the Japanese. I don’t care about this guy’s research or his conclusions. I could just as easily cite a a Japanese author or 10 with the exact opposite conclusion.

        Your biases are clear and blinding. You should be more honest in your intentions in posting here.

        The Senkakus were never Chinese. Period.

      • Ken5745

        Ok, Masa Chekov, if you want to have ‘intellectually honest’ opinions which are not allegedly biased, here are remarks made by Japanese Professors and writers to show that Japan knew the Diaoyu belonged to China before annexing it in 1895 as a war booty :

        “In 1885, the Japanese Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Nishimura Sutezo, petitioned the Meiji government, asking that it take formal control of the islands. However, Inoue Kaoru, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, commented that the islands lay near to the border area with the Qing empire and that they had been given Chinese names. He also cited an article in a Chinese newspaper that had previously claimed that Japan was occupying islands off China’s coast. Inoue was concerned that if Japan proceeded to erect a landmark stating its claim to the islands, it would make the Qing empire suspicious. Following Inoue’s advice, Yamagata Aritomo, the Minister of the Interior, turned down the request to incorporate the islands, insisting that this matter should not be “revealed to the news media”.

        Source : Unryu Suganuma (2000). ‘Sovereign Rights and Territorial Space in Sino-Japanese Relations’ University of Hawaii Press. pp. 89–97. ISBN 0-8248-2493-8.

        Next :

        1 In his article “Japanese Militarism & Diaoyutai (Senkaku) Island A Japanese Historian’s View”, Prof Kiyoshi Inoue, History Professor at Kyoto University wrote :

        “Proceeding from the Japanese people stand of opposition to militarism, one should reject the name Senkaku Islands,which was adopted by Japanese Militarism after seizing them from China. Use the only correct name in history, namely, the Tiaoyu (Diaoyutai) Island” For more info refer to his book “”Senkaku Retto”.

        2 In June 2004, another Japanese professor Tadayoshi Murata of Yokohama National University, published “Senkaku Islands vs the Diaoyu Islands Dispute” (some info is here) and 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”.

        ‘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 area a part of China.’

        See Sources for both:

        1 http://blog.nationmultimedia.com/print.php?id=17575

        2 http://www.skycitygallery.com/japan/diaohist.html

        Talk is cheap. Show your evidence if the above views are false.

      • Masa Chekov

        This is the most intellectually dishonest post you have made yet. You deliberately chose the two academics most outside mainstream Japanese academic thought to support your “claims”. You are deliberately ignoring that the vast, vast majority of Japanese academics (and foreign academics) completely disagree with this analysis. Why do you do this? You know this opinion is way in the minority yet you post it anyway.

        And why do you have to go to an unsourced Thai blog to support your claims?

        The second site you link to is virulently anti-Japanese. It’s as if I were to discuss something anti-Chinese and link to a White Supremacist site for support. You do realize this HURTS your case not helps it, right?

      • Ken5745

        Masa Chekov, you are the one who are intellectually dishonest and who refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence that Mr Inoue Kaoru, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Meiji Govt and Mr Yamagata Aritomo, the Minister of the Interior in the same govt knew that the Diaoyu islands belong to China in 1885.

        This is a historical fact, no matter who reported it.

        This was reported by Mr Han Yi Shaw but you said it is biased and now that it is written in a book by a Japanese author Mr Unryu Suganuma you say he is also wrong. So what is your evidence?

        And if you think that the “1783 historical document Sankoku Tsuran Zusetsu published by prominent Japanese military scholar Hayashi Shihei clearly stating the area a part of China.’ is also wrong give your evidence and not just vilify the Japanese Military scholar Mr Hayashi Shihei.

        The game is up and you are just an ignorant man who tries to defend Japan against overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

        Unless you can come up with solid new evidence why the Meiji Govt thought the Daioyu islands were terra nullis, you have lost the argument.

        .

      • Masa Chekov

        “you have lost the argument”

        Nonsense. You’ve just completely ignored the mainstream body of historical thought to reach your conclusions. You only pick information from biased pro-PRC sources or Japanese authors notorious for their extreme views. Why is it you can’t seem to cite mainstream sources? Why do you ignore that almost every single independent source disagrees with what you say?

        You have the conclusion you want and you find evidence to support this. That is intellectual dishonesty. You are not interested in the actual facts, just facts you agree with.

        With that perspective, you lost the argument before it began.

      • Ken5745

        Masa Chekov, you claimed that Japan annexed the Diaoyu islands in 1895 because it was unclaimed or under the principle of terra nullis.

        But this is nonsense because Japanese Govt documents show without a shadow of a doubt that Japan knew the islands belonged to China as early as 1885 and therefore were not terra nullis or unclaimed as follows :

        1) In 1885, the Governor of the Okinawa Prefecture made a request to the central government on Tokyo that the Diaoyu islands should be designated as part of his prefecture.

        Source : Toshio Okuhara, “The Territorial Sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands and Problems on the Surrounding Continental Shelf”, Vol. 11 Japan Annual of International Law (1967), 98

        2) The Magistrate of Okinawa,
        Nishimura Sutezo reported in a letter dated September 22nd, 1885 his concerns about the incorporation of the Diaoyu Islands to the national Minister of
        Interior Mr.Yamagata Aritomo.

        3) After the reception of this letter, Mr Yamagata Aritomo forwarded this letter for the final approval to the Foreign Minister Mr Inoue Kaoru.

        4) But the Foreign Minister
        could not give his consent to Mr Yamagata Aritomo and appealed for much more caution in his October 21rst 1885 letter because according to him the said islands were OWNED by China, Quote :

        “Most recently Chinese newspapers have been reporting rumours of our government’s intention of occupying certain islands OWNED by China located next to Taiwan, demonstrating suspicion towards our country and consistently urging the Qing government to be aware of this matter. In such a time, if we were to publicly place national markers on the islands, this must necessarily invite China’s suspicion towards markers on the
        islands; this must necessarily invite China’s suspicion towards us. In regard to the matter of placing national markers and developing the islands, it should await a more appropriate time. Moreover, the investigations of the above-mentioned islands should not be published in the Official Gazette or newspaper. Please pay attention to this.” Unquote.

        Source : Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan,Vol. 18 Nihon Gaiko Bunsho (Japan Foreign Affairs Document), (1950), 575.

        The above facts are gleaned from verifiable Meiji Govt documents.

        If you or the so-called mainstream body of historical thought can prove that the Meiji Govt did not know that the Diaoyu islands were owned by China, then show me the proof.

        Show proof that the above Govt letters and documents don’t exist and the request by the Governor of Okinawa to add the Diaoyu islands to his prefecture did not take place.

        Talk is cheap. If you cannot show proof then you are the one who have lost the argument. State facts. I am not interested in your flawed opinion.

        .

      • Masa Chekov

        I’m done with this, Ken. This is tiring and pointless.

      • Ken5745

        Masa Chekov, you are done not because it is ‘tiring and pointless’.but because you cannot handle the TRUTH that is staring you in the face.

        Japan has one of the best archives of Govt documents in the world since the Meiji Restoration and these documents are there for anyone to access and verify why the Foreign Minister, Mr Inoue Kaoru, rejected the request by the Governor of Okinawa to annex the Diaoyu islands in 1885. It was because he KNEW the islands belonged to China in 1885. Check it out.

        So the nationalization of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in Sept 2012 will lead Japan nowhere.

        But if Japan is willing to abide by the Deng/Tanaka agreement I am sure China and Japan can come to a mutually acceptable agreement to develop the islands for the benefits of the peoples of Japan and China.

        Even the trilateral FTA among Japan, Sth Korea and China can proceed to usher in an East Asian Renaissance.

        This to me that is the best solution. The alternative will only lead to another senseless war.

      • Ken5745

        “Why is Ryukyu independence a topic for discussion but Tibetan independence not?”

        Since Japan annexed the Ryukyu in 1879 when it was a tributary state of China, it is China’s business if the people of the Ryukyu want independence and their kingdom back.

        Tibet is not an independent nation or else it would have joined the League of Nations (LN) after ww1.or the UN after ww2. China was a member of the LN and is a member of the UN.

        The UN, US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Korea, Barzil, Asean nations do not recognize Tibet as an independent country. So don’t tell lies.

        And its not true that China started the crisis over the islands. The present crisis over the Daioyu islands started when Japan nationalized the islands in Sept 2012. Don’t tell lies. If Japan had honored the Deng/Tanaka agreement there will be no crisis.

        If China has a boycott of Japanese goods I, who am not from China, will not blame China.

        Would you buy from your soba shop if the manager steals your car? Of course not.

        It was not China that invaded Korea, Manchuria (and named it Manchuko), China, HK, Taiwan, the Philippines, Islands in the Pacific, Vietnam, Indochina, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma after bombing Pearl Harbor.

        It was Japan who did. all the above evil deeds , including the deplorable kidnap of women and forced them to be “comfort women” or sex slaves,

        Face facts and don’t try to change history.

      • Masa Chekov

        “Since Japan annexed the Ryukyu in 1879 when it was a tributary state of
        China, it is China’s business if the people of the Ryukyu want
        independence and their kingdom back.”

        Nonsense. It’s none of China’s business, and you know this. The only reason it was a tributary state to China was that China required it to be a trading partner. It was also a tributary state of Japan. It’s now a part of Japan. Absolutely none of China’s business.

        “The UN, US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Korea, Barzil, Asean
        nations do not recognize Tibet as an independent country. So don’t tell
        lies.”

        Of course nobody does! That’s because China invaded 60 years ago and flooded Tibet with Chinese to outnumber the Tibetans. And nobody wants to ruin relations with China over Tibet (see: Taiwan). That doesn’t mean anyone AGREES with the Chinese invasion of Tibet. You should be smart enough to know this.

        “And its not true that China started the crisis over the islands. The
        present crisis over the Daioyu islands started when Japan nationalized
        the islands in Sept 2012.”

        Everything is always Japan’s fault. China is correct in everything. We get it. You love China. Nobody else agrees with you or with the PRC’s position, though. Again, you need to realize this.

        “It was not China that invaded Korea, Manchuria (and named it Manchuko),
        China, HK, Taiwan, the Philippines, Islands in the Pacific, Vietnam,
        Indochina, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma after bombing Pearl
        Harbor.”

        AHA now we are there. We’ve finally reached the center. All this nonsense is only your anger about 70 year old events. You need to let it go. It’s way, way in the past and irrelevant today.

        You’ll actually be able to have a nice, neutral perspective once you put this old baggage behind you. You should try it.

      • Ken5745

        The Ryukyu may be part of Japan now but possession is not 9/10th of the law here History is not on Japan’s side if the people of Okinawa revolt and want independence.

        As for Tibet it is nonsense to say that Chinese outnumber the Tibetans. You are so ignorant. Tibetans form over 90% of the population of the Tibetan province. During the Dalai Lama’s time the Tibetans were slaves and they were no roads or hospitals or schools, or railways. China banned slavery and modernized Tibet. Even Japan recognizes Tibet as part of China. Why would you, with a Russian-sounding name, wish to deny that? Have you got an agenda of your own? Are you not blindingly biased?

        OF course It is Japan’s fault for invading Korea, Manchuria, China, Taiwan, Diaoyu, HK, Vietnam, Indochina, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, the countless Pacific islands and for bombing Pearl Harbor.

        Are you now saying all the above never happened? If you do then you are indeed intellectually challenged.

      • Ken5745

        So in summary, according to History written by Masa Chekov, Japan did not annex the Diaoyu islands or the Ryukyu at all. The Mongols never conquered Tibet and incorporated it into the Yuan dynasty. Tibet has been an independent country all along.

        The problem with your rendition of history is that only you believe in the above fairy tale.

        As for the Falkland war, yes, the US did not send troops as it should have under the treaty.

        So don’t count on the US to send troops to defend the Diaoyu islands when both China and the US do not accept that Japan has sovereignty.

        Possession is not 9/10th of the law when it comes to territories.

        HK and Taiwan were ceded to the UK and Japan in perpetuity respectively under one-sided treaties signed under duress.

        What happened? They were returned to China, in Japan’s case under the Surrender Instrument and the Potsdam Declaration.

        Time will tell if Japan is able to cling on to the Diaoyu islands and the Ryukyu without hurting its 25% export to its largest customer.

      • guest

        You think that MONGOL control of Tibet cedes it to China? The Yuan was NOT Chinese, the rulers were foreign, they never became Chinese, they went back to Mongolia when their dynasty crumbled. That’s a PATHETIC attempt at logic.

      • guest

        I love how the Chinese support a Russian land grab Japan that happened roughly the same time Russia grabbed land from China in the 1800′s…

      • guest

        Do you support China giving Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Taiwan referendums on their independence? You must if you support the Ryukyus getting this chance after 400 years surely you’d support Tibet after only 70 years and Xinjiang after only roughly 200 years?

      • ArturoMendez

        So, what’s your point? Doesn’t seem like your take on history has, well, any base in what actually happened.

        BTW – you conveniently skip over the fact that the US occupied Okinawa for decades.

      • Ken5745

        Well, what actually happened then?

        The US occupied Okinawa after the war only as a Trustee of the UN.

      • guest

        1609 is a LOT earlier than China annexed Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, even Manchuria didn’t become part of China until CHINA was annexed by the Manchus in 1644. That means that unless China is willing to give sovereignty to all those peoples and support their independence movements they have no legs to stand on with Japan on the Ryukyus.

  • ArturoMendez

    There seems to be a developing narrative where publications and academics in the PRC are convincing themselves of things that don’t exist in the minds of anybody else. That can have really, really bad consequences.

    And then there’s that saying about glass houses….