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Political Boundary Dispute

Senkaku Islands East China Sea


The Senkaku Islands, uninhibited and located roughly east

of China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and
north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands in the
Pacific Ocean goes by more than just one name. While to
the Japanese they are referred to as the Senkaku Islands,
in China they are known as the Tiaoyutai Islands or Diaoyu
Islands or to the United States they are referred to as the
Pinnacle Islands. This Island has been a source of
boundary disputes since 1972 when the United States
returned control of the islands back to Japan.

Records of the islands date back to the 15 th century.
Historically, the Chinese have used the islands as
navigational markers. The Senaku Islands have been
controlled by Japan since 1895 when they annexed the
islands after winning the First Sino-Japanese War. In 1945
after the surrender of Japan ending WWII, the US
government took the islands under occupation. But in
1971, the islands were returned to the Japanese.
In the late 1970s, evidence of existence of oil reserves
surfaced on the islands and the Peoples Republic of China
started claiming the islands. Taiwan has also claimed
them. Japan argues saying that in the late 19 th century
they belonged to no one. There has also been arguments
that indicate Chinese possession prior to the First SinoJapanese War. While the United States does not have
official position in who has the land, included in the Treaty
of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United
States and Japan, the islands are under Japanese control.
More recently, in September 2012, the Japanese
government purchased three of the islands from their
private owner causing protests in China. In February

Photo of a few of the inlets of the Senkaku Islands

Japanese Coast Guard spraying water on

Taiwanese boats near Senkaku islands

The current situation of the Senkaku Islands has still not been resolved. Japan still holds
control over the islands and the United States is still defending Japanese control. China is still
protesting the matter. Things are still heated between China and Japan. Japan has raised
security in the sea and in air. And ignoring the US demand of putting a halt to this dispute,
China formed an air defense identification zone. This defense, titled ADIZ, requires all
incoming aircraft to register with Chinese authority to fly in the air routes above the islands.
The United States involvement recently includes possibly providing military equipment and

Although things are still heated in the Asia
Pacific near Japan and China, it is possible that
both Japan and China may consider taking
steps to resolving the maritime crisis. There
has been talk of both countries potentially
signing an agreement to diffuse the disputes.
While attempts of agreement in the past have
failed, sources say that this move is significant
as Japan has decided to get its own military
capability instead of relying on the United
States. Sources also are saying that China is
willing to work with Japan to promote good
relations and cooperation. It is a push to get
the United States out of the picture, and a

Map of ADIZ of Japan (blue), China (pink), and Korea (green).

"Air Defense Identification Zone (East China Sea)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web.
31 May 2015.
"Bejing May Form Air Defence Zone in South China Sea If Maritime Security Threatened - The
Economic Times." The Economic Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2015.
"Island Row: China and Japan May Sign Pact to End Crisis - The Times of India." The Times of
India. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2015.
"Senkaku Islands." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 31 May 2015.