Little Timothy K.

Little Chinese Foreign Policy 1 June 2009

The Diaoyu/Senkaku Island Dispute: A case study in political motivation

Few countries have shared as long and contentious past as that of China and Japan. The first mention of their interaction is nearly a thousand years ago in the year 57AD when the Emperor of the Han Dynasty gave a golden seal to the Wa as Japan was known back then.1 Since that time their relations have been in flux. For hundreds of years Japan looked to China in admiration, adopting much of their culture and written language. The tide would turn when Japan embraced modernization while China simply became a victim of it. Neither nation was prepared to deal with the change in dynamic. Japan resented China¶s weakness and felt justified in their invasion of the once great nation. Now as China is on the rise with Japan still a regional and
1 Anonymous. "People's Republic of China- Japan Relations." Wikemedia Foundation. 26 May 2009 2009. Wikepedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Japanese_relations#First_evidences_of_Japan_in_Chinese_historical_records_AD_0-300>.

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economic power, conflict is virtually inevitable. The question still remains; how will they choice to deal with such conflicts? Will diplomacy win out or will it come down to a military encounter. In an attempt to answer this question I will be examining a dispute of current relevancy. The Sino-Japanese dispute of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands as first glance seems to be a trivial matter of ownership of what amounts to large rocks. Once one digs through the history, rhetoric, and legalities, we find a much bigger picture with broader implications. Over the course of this paper I will first give a historical account of the islands history, followed by the basis for each nation¶s claims. This approach is indicative of the first level analysis which previous academics have prescribed to. Going beyond this I will show the role of nationalism in shaping the actions of both sides on this dispute. There other underlying issues that come to bear on the steadfast nature of each side, such as the appearance of weakness on one dispute can lead to other challenges on international claims. I will argue that being more than just a land dispute; it is also a show of will. For either nation to make concessions would open them to vulnerability in other areas of negotiation. I will conclude with a few words of caution for both China and Japan. We have seen seemingly harmless demonstrations turn violent in the past and an accident after a show of force has the potential of be misconstrued as hostile action. Both sides must keep such possibilities in mind as they go about their political wrangling. Historical Background While the goal of this paper is not to make a case for either side in the legitimacy of their claims, it is important to have a full understanding of the historical background of the islands. This history, although heavily interpreted by both sides, is the basis for claims on both sides. While China has been successful in agreeing to terms on all its land borders, when it comes to

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islands and maritime claims there is still much work to be done. The Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands, as the Japanese refer to them, have a disputed ownership status that literally goes back nearly 700 years. The islands were of little significance until recently. The islands have their first historical mention as a maritime navigation reference for envoys going from the Ming Dynasty of China to the Ryukyu princedom of Japan. The islands lie in an area without a single other island conveniently placed for Chinese and Japanese sailors to steer by.2 While numerous ships passed these islands over the course of their relationship, until the second half of the 19th century the islands remained uninhabited, and no records exist on either side showing that they made any direct claims to the islands.3 Following the Sino-Japanese War, the Shimonoseki Treaty was signed by both sides. It was just one of many unequal treaties that China would be subjected to as it began its momentous decline. Under the terms of the treaty, China was obliged to recognize the independence of Korea, over which it had traditionally held suzerainty; to cede Taiwan, the Pescadores Islands, and the Liaodong (south Manchurian) Peninsula to Japan; to pay an indemnity of 200,000,000 taels to Japan; and to open the ports of Shashi, Chongqing, Suzhou, and Hangzhou to Japanese trade.4 Under article II (b) of the treaty, it states that China cedes to Japan the Island of Formosa (Taiwan) and ³all islands appertaining or belonging to´ it.5 Although there is no specific mention of the Diaoyu/Senkaku, Japan would argue that it would fall into the category of an island ³appertaining or belonging to´ Taiwan. Japan officially annexed the islands (by name) later the same year, although they did so unilaterally and behind
Fedorova, Maria. "The Roots of Sino-Japanese Differences Over the Senkaku (Diaoyudao) Islands." Far Eastern affairs 33.1 (2005): 109.,pg.110 3 Fedorova, Maria. "The Roots of Sino-Japanese Differences Over the Senkaku (Diaoyudao) Islands." Far Eastern affairs 33.1 (2005): 109.,pg.111 4 "Treaty of Shimonoseki." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 01 Jun. 2009 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/540685/Treaty-of-Shimonoseki>. 5 Denk, Erdem. "Interpreting a Geographical Expression in a Nineteenth Century Cession Treaty and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute." International Journal of Marine & Coastal Law 20.1 (2005): 97-116.,pg.99 2

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closed doors. It must also be noted that this was at time when they were at war with China so there was to be no discussions on the matter. In fact, no papers concerning this ruling were even published until 1950.6 The next major shift occurred following World War II when, with Japan¶s defeat, the islands came under U.S. control. There was little mention of the islands again until the late 1960¶s. It was around this time that there was a promising survey done with results that showed the possibility of significant hydrocarbon deposits in the seabed surrounding the islands. In an interesting twist, Taiwan too started to assert claims over the areas surrounding the islands. Given the dynamic of the China-Taiwan relationship, this would have implications that will be discussed later. On September 25, 1970, Taiwan took up the issue and decided that there was no reason to deal with the Japanese in the dispute since the U.S. still technically exercised control over the islands. In September of the same year, Taiwan¶s National Assembly, passed a resolution supporting the government¶s claim to the Diaoyu Islands. The resolution contained four points. First, the Diaoyu Islands were to remain under Taiwan¶s sovereignty; and Japan¶s territorial claims were groundless. Second, surviving documents of history put the Islands under the control of the Taipei District; Japan¶s government was unjustified in rejecting this historical fact. Third, over the previous decades, the province¶s fishing boats operated in the area of the Diaoyu Islands, and no other countries could object to that indisputable fact. Fourth, if reports of Japanese ship interfering with Taiwanese fishing boats¶ operations in the area were true, the foreign ministry was to be urged to send a protest to the Japanese government so that its interference is stopped immediately.7 On the basis of these claims, the Taiwan government issued a statement declaring sovereignty over resources of the continental shelf around the

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Fedorova, Maria. "The Roots of Sino-Japanese Differences Over the Senkaku (Diaoyudao) Islands." Far Eastern affairs 33.1 (2005): 109.,pg.112 7 Fedorova, Maria. "The Roots of Sino-Japanese Differences Over the Senkaku (Diaoyudao) Islands." Far Eastern affairs 33.1 (2005): 109.,pg.117

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Diaoyu Islands and began preparations to start oil field exploration in cooperation with U.S. companies. These were never to go forward due to the muddled ownership issues which would not be resolved anytime soon. Soon after the U.S. returned sovereignty of Okinawa (and some are arguing the Diaoyu Islands) back to Japan under the Ryukyu Reversion Agreement signed in 1971.8 The transfer would officially take place in 1972 setting the stage for the modern debate on ownership to continue. Once Okinawa had been reverted back to Japanese control, their maritime forces began regular patrols of the area. They would often encounter Chinese fishermen and chase them off claiming their activities to be illegal. Such encounters didn¶t turn into a major political issue until 1978 when China and Japan were in the process of negotiating a formal treaty. A Japanese rightwing political group Nihon Seinensha (Japanese Youth Federation) erected a lighthouse on the Diaoyu Island in an attempt to legitimize Japanese claims to the island. The event caused angry protests from Chinese communities all over the world. In response, the Chinese government sent a flotilla of fishing boats to surround the islands. After a stand-off lasting over a week, the Chinese vessels withdrew and negotiations resumed.9 Both sides saw that nationalistic elements were at work and despite that, the normalization of relations had to take precedence for now. Deng Xiao Ping encapsulated this sentiment as well as optimism for the future in this remark;
³It is true that the two sides maintain different views on the this question«It does not matter if this question is shelved for some time, say, ten years. Our generation is not wise enough to find

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Pan, Zhongqi. Sino-Japanese Dispute Over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: The Pending Controversy from the Chinese Perspective. Vol. 12., 2007.,pg.73 9 Pan, Zhongqi. Sino-Japanese Dispute Over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: The Pending Controversy from the Chinese Perspective. Vol. 12., 2007.,pg.74

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The Cases for Sovereignty Given this historical groundwork, we can now look at the basis for claims by both sides to the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. The three internationally accepted types of arguments advanced by countries to establish claim or title over a disputed piece of territory are: historical reference (discovery), effective authority, and continuous occupation. 11 Under international law, if a nation wishes to lay sovereign claim to a territory, it must first be considered terra nullis or belonging to no one. So we must firs conclusion which must be drawn is if in fact they were terra nullis when Japan officially laid claim to them in 1895. There is where interpreted validity of laws and treaties comes into play. Japan points out that there were no objections on the part of the Chinese when sovereignty was officially claimed but again China was hardly in a position to make demands. They had just lost a war to Japan and were forced to make huge concessions. This left them with little leverage to argue over some tiny islands. Also, if Japan uses the argument that the Diaoyu came under their control as a result of the Shimonoseki Treaty, then the terra nullis status of the islands becomes a moot point. This would mean that they acknowledge the islands did in fact belong to Taiwan prior to the treaty and after the belonged to Japan, therefore never having been without a master. This is all under the assumption that one accepts that the Diaoyu Islands fall under the terms ³islands appertaining or belong´ to the island of Formosa. Considering the vagueness of the statement it is virtually impossible to make such a determination.

10 11

Lu, T., and C. K. Lo. China's Policy Towards Territorial Disputes: The Case of the South China Sea Islands. Routledge, 1989.,pg.171-172

Chung, Chien-peng. "The Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Senkaku Islands Dispute: Domestic Politics and the Limits of Diplomacy." The American Asian review 16.3 (1998): 135.,pg.138

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China¶s argument for sovereignty is based largely on the historical context. They point to the ancient Chinese documentation dating back to the Ming Dynasty. In these texts the islands are only mentioned in passing and not in a way that could not definitively show ownership. A more important record though is that of an imperial edict by the Dowager Empress Cixi of Qing. In 1893, just two years before Japans claim, she awarded the Diaoyu Islands to a Chinese alchemist who had gathered rare medical herbs on the islands. China therefore contends that the Diaoyu Islands had been under China¶s administration and jurisdiction as part of Taiwan for several centuries before any Japanese claims were made.12 Japan¶s claim to legitimacy based on recognition by the U.S. in the San Francisco Peace Treaty is also refuted by China. According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
The Senkaku Islands have been placed under the administration of the United States of America as part of the Nansei Shoto Islands, in accordance with Article III of the said treaty (the San Francisco Peace Treaty), and are included in the area, the administrative rights over which were reverted to Japan in accordance with the Agreement Between Japan and the United States of America Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands signed on 17 June 1971. The facts outlined herein clearly indicate the status of the Senkaku Islands being part of the territory of Japan.

The issue becomes China¶s clear opposition to the San Francisco Treaty in the first place which inevitably leads to its objecting the 1971 Ryukyu Reversion Agreement. This was evident in Chinas lodging a formal protest with the U.S. government when the agreement was signed.13 It is interesting to note that the U.S. does not even support Japan¶s claims on this basis. They have
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Pan, Zhongqi. Sino-Japanese Dispute Over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: The Pending Controversy from the Chinese Perspective. Vol. 12., 2007.,pg.78 13 Pan, Zhongqi. Sino-Japanese Dispute Over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: The Pending Controversy from the Chinese Perspective. Vol. 12., 2007.,pg.79

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chosen to largely try to stay neutral, not wanting to negatively affect relations with China. Furthermore, China and Taiwan both argue that the American occupation of the islands contravened the Cairo Declaration of 1943 and Article 2 of the Peace Treaty of 1951, which should have divested Japan of all its overseas possessions and effected the return of the Diaoyu Islands to Chinese rule after the Second World War.14 The Japanese government accepted the terms of the documents which stated;
«all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.15

So it is clear from just some of the arguments of both sides that nothing indeed is clear. With such a lengthy history and myriad of stances at every point of contention it is no wonder that has been little legal headway. These arguments do not even take into account the Exclusive Economic Zones of both China and Japan which due to their proximity overlap. It just so happens that the Diaoyu Islands fall right into the middle of this overlapping area. This obviously only complicates matters further and brings no resolution the issue of the disputed islands. The Role of Nationalism The first question modern leaders might ask themselves is whether this is even a relevant issue from the perspective of the global community. Many would be quick to say no but I believe this is because they do not understand that underlying issued. What many see is a longstanding and convoluted battle over territory which may be rich in natural resources. It seems only natural that two energy hungry powers such as China and Japan would be so adamant about their claims.

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Chung, Chien-peng. "The Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Senkaku Islands Dispute: Domestic Politics and the Limits of Diplomacy." The American Asian review 16.3 (1998): 135.,pg.139 15 Pan, Zhongqi. Sino-Japanese Dispute Over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: The Pending Controversy from the Chinese Perspective. Vol. 12., 2007.,pg.83

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The first reality check for this train of thought must be the sheer size and consumption of both China and Japan. China is the 2nd largest consumer of oil behind the U.S with Japan being the 3rd largest consumer. So even with the most optimistic predictions of hydrocarbon deposits being realized, the effect in real terms for either nation would be almost negligible. That being the case, there must be other reasons for the continuing saga. One such reason is the will of the people. Nationalism has played a significant role for both nations throughout the dispute. I will show that it at times has both constrained and formed many of their responses. Nationalist groups in China, Japan, and even Taiwan have turned these small islands into symbols for their causes. Cheng examines this very issue on his work which not only looks at the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, but the dispute with Russia over the Zhenbao/Damansky Islands as well. In his two-level game analysis, he explains how domestic elements can have a direct impact on negotiations such as these. The ³two-level games´ concept relies on the observation that the negotiators involved in international bargaining not only have to negotiate with their (Level I) foreign negotiating counterparts, they also have to negotiate with their (Level II) domestic constituents who could block the deal at home.16 For agreement to be possible, the negotiating parties¶ ³win-sets´ or ³space for negotiation´ must overlap. The ³winset´ is defined by Putnam as the range of outcomes that would be deemed satisfactory by the constituents of a given side. While it can hardly be argued that China has ³constituents´ in the democratic sense of the word, it is clear that it many cases that their concern over social unrest (and therefore their own job security) has led them to take public opinion into account. While it may seem counterintuitive, Putnam further argues that having a smaller win-set actually puts you at a bargaining advantage. The logic goes that if the opposing side makes an
16 Putnam, R. D. "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games." International organization (1988): 427-60.,pg.434-36

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offer that you may have been willing to accept but is not necessarily in your best interest, you can simply fallback on, ³That sounds reasonable, but there is no way my constituents would accept it.´ You have, as a result, strengthened your bargaining position to receive further concessions.17 The down side to this of course is that the risk of negotiations breaking down is greater. The application of this theory comes into play with the introduction of nationalist elements in country as the primary ³constituents´. China has consistently used nationalism as a domestic political tool. Following the death of Mao and the reforms set forth by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) found a void starting to develop where the Communist ideology once was. Realizing that ideology was the source of their legitimacy, they sought a suitable substitute. While continuing to run the party line and proclaim the benefits of Socialism (with Chinese characteristics), they found that mobilizing the people by stoking nationalism was a much more effective tool. It helped to bring the people together as one China, while still placing the CCP as the only ones suitable or capable of leading the nation to greatness. The biggest problem they ran into was that nationalism was a force which was not so easily controlled. That lack of control can be seen in the context of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Island disputes as well. Nationalist groups who perceive their own government to be making territorial concessions they are opposed to may try to gain leverage against their government leaders and negotiators by provoking the governments and nationalist forces of the other disputant countries. The purpose is to force one¶s own government to demonstrate publicly its national sovereignty

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Chung, Chien-Peng. "Resolving China's Island Disputes: A Two-Level Game Analysis." Chinese journal of political science 12.1 (2007): 49.,pg.50

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over the disputed claim in the face of foreign contest.18 Such a demonstration occurred 1990 when the Japanese government allowed Nihon Seinensha to renovate the lighthouse which as previously mentioned had been erected by Japanese nationalists in 1978. The Taiwanese reacted by sending two fishing boats full of athletes from Taiwan intended to plant a torch on the island. They were prevented from landing by the Japanese Coast Guards and Maritime Self Defense Forces (MSDF). China quickly entered the fray stating that the islands were Chinese territory and that the Japanese should not interfere. Following the Chinese intervention, the Japanese side called for the shelving of the issue and there was no further escalation.19 Then while the Japanese Diet was debating bill on July 14, 1996 which would declare Japan¶s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), members of the Nihon Seinensha once again built a lighthouse, this time on one of the smaller islands. Although they claimed it was done in the name of safety, the timing of the event can hardly be ignored. On July 20 1996 Japan¶s government asserted its claim for exclusive development rights within 200 miles of the coast of Japan, which would include the Diaoyu Islands.20 The combination of these incidents would once again cause a flare up on the issue with China and Taiwan on one side and Japan on the other. This would quickly degenerate into a tit for tat campaign by both sides. The Chinese communities, especially from Hong Kong and Taiwan, held even larger protests against the Japanese claims. A nation-wide ³Defending Diaoyu Movement´ (Baodiao Yundong) was mobilized. The Chinese from both Taiwan and Hong Kong headed to the islands to counter the Japanese group¶s efforts. After making their way to the islands they managed to plant both a

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Chung, Chien-Peng. "Resolving China's Island Disputes: A Two-Level Game Analysis." Chinese journal of political science 12.1 (2007): 49.,pg.51 19 Pan, Zhongqi. Sino-Japanese Dispute Over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: The Pending Controversy from the Chinese Perspective. Vol. 12., 2007.,pg.75 20 Chung, Chien-peng. "The Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Senkaku Islands Dispute: Domestic Politics and the Limits of Diplomacy." The American Asian review 16.3 (1998): 135.,pg.142

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PRC and ROC flags, which were later removed by the Japanese.21 In response, another nationalist group calling itself the Senkaku Islands Defense Association erected a Japanese flag on the largest island Uotsuri. Not long after, Seinensha returned as well to repair the lighthouse and put up more flags. Coming just before the September 18th anniversary of Japan¶s invasion, the Japanese government now felt significant pressure to reduce tensions with the Chinese and Taiwanese.22 They would go on to make public statements making it clear that they did not support the actions of groups such as Seinensha. In fact, while claiming to have been in response to suspected firearms, the Tokyo headquarters and several regional branch offices of the Seinensha were raided by the police in October of 1996. This was coincidentally during the height of the Diaoyu/ Senkaku dispute. It seems surprising that Japan would have such radical rightist elements and more so that the Japanese government waited so long to either take action or deny being associated with these groups. On the contrary, it is not uncommon to find anti-Japanese sentiment among Chinese (and much of Asia for that matter). Poll results on the views of everyday Chinese are quite alarming. One survey of attitudes towards Japan conducted in 1996 found that the word Japan ³most easily´ made 89.3 percent of the youth surveyed think of the Nanjing Massacre and made 81.3 percent think of ³Japanese denial´ and the ³war of resistance against Japanese aggression´. When asked to place a label on the Japanese, 56.1 percent chose ³cruel´.23 The CCP had no desire to see public sentiment turn into public protest, as a natural extension of the dissatisfaction may be criticism of their perceived softness in dealing with the Diaoyu issue. Their reaction to any such

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Pan, Zhongqi. Sino-Japanese Dispute Over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: The Pending Controversy from the Chinese Perspective. Vol. 12., 2007.,pg.75 22 Chung, Chien-peng. "The Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Senkaku Islands Dispute: Domestic Politics and the Limits of Diplomacy." The American Asian review 16.3 (1998): 135.,pg.143 23 Fewsmith, Joseph, and Stanley Rosen. The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform. Ed. David Lampton. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.,pg.162

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threats was swift. A group of 257 civilians from Beijing and Tianjin had sent a letter to Jiang Zemin and the two vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commision, Liu Huaqing and Zhang Zhen, urging them to dispatch troops to the disputed islands to assert Chinese sovereignty and remove the offending lighthouse. Not only did they receive no reply, the organizer of the petition was quietly flown out of Beijing along with five others who were involved. Security was also significantly increased around the Japanese embassy and major universities around the country were placed under surveillance after rumors of planned student protests began to spread.24 This makes it clear that China was willing to spread sanctioned and controlled anti-Japanese rhetoric through such mediums as state sponsored media as long as they retained control. As we can see, the nationalist groups have played a significant role in the dispute over the islands. China, Taiwan, and Japan were unable to simply dismiss the activities of these groups in some cases had to direct action to prevent further deterioration of relations. Despite having been able to force their respective governments into addressing the issue of the islands, little ground was made for either side. Motivational Factors Having examined the nationalism as a variable in this dispute, we must try to better understand the other motivations of the parties involved. The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands are hardly the only disputed area for China. China and Vietnam completed the demarcation of their land border, erecting the last of the markers that now run along the entire length of the border. This event signified that China has settled its land borders with 12 of its neighbors, leaving only Bhutan ± which has no diplomatic relations with China ± and India, the last and most important

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Chung, Chien-peng. "The Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Senkaku Islands Dispute: Domestic Politics and the Limits of Diplomacy." The American Asian review 16.3 (1998): 135.,pg.151

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border to be demarcated.25 These disputes are over Arunachal Pradesh and have yet to be resolved although there has been little disruption to relations over the issue. The Spratly Islands in the South China Sea have a host of countries claiming rights to them to include; China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. With so many players claiming rights to the islands, this too is an issue which is unlikely to be solved anytime soon. One recent bright spot in China¶s resolution of disputes is that of the Zhenbao/Damanky Islands with Russia. This area had been the site of bloody clashes between Chinese and Soviet soldiers in March 1969. After four years of intensive but secret negotiations, a boundary agreement was signed between China and Soviet Union. It was subsequently ratified by the national legislatures of both China and Russia in February 1992. 26 While one might ask why the same could not be done on the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute, it is clear that the situations are very different. The islands which were in dispute with Russia were also uninhabited but didn¶t appear to hold the promise of any hidden resources. The geopolitical environment was also much different with the Soviet Union collapsing and having little in the way of bargaining power. If nothing else, it was important for them to improve relations with China so that they would maintain a strong buyer for Russian made weapons. With so many recent and ongoing territorial disputes, China can ill afford to look soft in its position on any of the disputes. To do so would open them up to vulnerability in their other negotiations. Because of China¶s history of foreign powers dominating their territory, they are especially sensitive to this issue. As mentioned earlier, they must also be concerned about their appearance to the Chinese people. They don¶t want to do anything that invites widespread
25 Quanyi, Zhang. "Resolving China's Border Disputes." United Press International. 2 January 2009 2009. <http://www.upiasia.com/Politics/2009/01/08/resolving_chinas_border_disputes/7703/>. 26 Chung, Chien-Peng. "Resolving China's Island Disputes: A Two-Level Game Analysis." Chinese journal of political science 12.1 (2007): 49.,pg.55

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criticism especially at a time when patriotism is at an all time high. So by maintaining their stance on a group of islands that may seems irrelevant to some, they sending a clear message both at home and abroad they issues such as territorial sovereignty will not be compromised. Another more obvious consideration for all involved is the significance of their trade dependence on one another. In terms of trade, there have been major shifts in China and Japan¶s top partners. China, including Hong Kong, displaced the United States as Japan¶s major trading partner in 2004, while China, excluding Hong Kong, became Japan¶s largest trading partner in 2007. In 1996, Japan¶s trade with China excluding Hong Kong was US$62.2 billion while trade with the US was US$193 billion; in 2007 trade with China reached US$236.6 billion while trade with the US dropped to US$208.2 billion.27 While some would say that this only represents interconnectedness, I would argue that interdependence is obvious based on not only volume but more importantly the percentage of trade each represents to the other. This creates a situation in which the complete loss to either state as the others trading partner would have significant if not devastating effects. This in turn increases the costs of war and should, in theory, increase the incentive for finding common ground in political disputes as well. This has clearly been the case here as we have seen the issue ³shelved´ so that China and Japan could continue to develop their economies and not cause disruptions in trade. Closely related to this is another motivation of the CCP which is adherence to their ³good- neighboring´ policy. Liu Huaqiu, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the State Council has stated that the objective of the good neighboring policy was to ³actively develop friendly relations with the surrounding countries, preserve regional peace and stability, and

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Buszynski, Leszek. "Sino-Japanese Relations: Interdependence, Rivalry and Regional Security." Contemporary Southeast Asia 31.1 (2009): 143.,pg.12

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promote regional economic cooperation.´ Even more relevant to the topic at hand is what he goes on to say,
China advocates dialogues and negotiations with other countries as equals in dealing with the historical disputes over boundaries, territorial lands, and territorial seas and seeks fair and reasonable solutions. Disputes that cannot be settled immediately may be set aside temporarily as the parties seek common ground while reserving differences without letting those differences affect the normal relations between two countries.28

Potential Dangers While China¶s relative consistency in carrying out its good-neighboring policy should instill a sense of optimism, there are still potential dangers if these disputes over the Diaoyu Islands continue. Paramount among those is the likelihood of an accident being perceived as an act of aggression. In September 2005 China sent a small flotilla of five naval ships, including a guided missile destroyer, to cruise around the disputed water around the Diaoyu Islands. One of the warships pointed its gun at a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft circling overhead. Keizo Takemi, then chairman of the LDP¶s committee on marine resources, described this in an interview as ³the first example of gunboat diplomacy since Japan¶s relations with China had been normalized in 1972.´29 Even as recently as June of 2008 a Japanese patrol vessel collided with a Taiwanese fishing boat resulting its sinking. All 16 aboard were rescued by the Japanese vessel and taken to to Ishigaki, an island in Japan's Okinawan chain some 200 kilometers south of the Diaoyu Islands, for medical checks and questioning. While no one was injured or killed in the incident, inflammatory speech began immediately from Taiwanese leaders. The Taipei

28 29

Zhao, S. Chinese Foreign Policy: Pragmatism and Strategic Behavior. ME Sharpe, 2004.,pg.257-258 Emmott, B. Rivals: How the Power Struggle between China, India and Japan Will Shape our Next Decade. USA: Harcourt, 2008.,pg.259

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County Magistrate, Chou His-wei lodged a formal protest with the Interchange Association (Japan) Taipei Office, Japan's representative office in Taiwan demanding an apology, release of the fishermen, and compensation for damage done. Chow said he finds it hard to accept the central government's inability to protect the lives and safety of Taiwanese fishermen, and its failure of manifest sovereignty over the disputed islands, adding that he will ask the Legislative Yuan and the Executive Yuan to immediately dispatch warships to the Diaoyu Islands.30 So, while not surprisingly, Taiwan did not send warships in response, it does show us that the issue is alive and well. Had there been deaths associated with the accident the outcome could have been very different. Nationalist sentiments could have erupted to a point where the governments involved had no choice but to react, leading to further escalation. While war would remain unlikely for reasons previously mentioned, there is still the possibility of causing serious damage to relations. This could have implications both financial and strategic, not just for those involved but for the global community as a whole. Conclusion What I have shown is that the dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands is indeed mulitfaceted. The history alone is too lengthy and convoluted to provide us with a clear victor in this competition for sovereignty over the islands. Current laws are also of little help because most are based on historical precedence. It is also clear that nationalism has been and continues to be an impediment to making progress and at times has caused significant spikes in hostility. There are a variety of other underlying motivations as well which must also be taken into consideration if one is to truly understand the Diaoyu Island dispute in anything other than a superficial level.
30
"Taipei county magistrate urges Japan to apologize over collision. " BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific 12 June 2008,ProQuest Central. ProQuest. Penrose,1 Jun. 2009 <http://0-www.proquest.com.bianca.penlib.du.edu/>

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Among these motivations is that of continued economic prosperity and regional stability. Between China, Taiwan, and Japan there is not one among them that holds overwhelming military superiority. As such, the chances for direct conflict are greatly reduced. The same holds true as a result of their economic interdependence. Military action can simply not be justified right now by either side. They have shown that they have no problem putting this issue aside for the time being (several decades now) until a more appropriate time to address it surfaces. This does not mean that flare ups will not occur, but with skillful diplomacy, these incidents can be contained. Both China and Japan (and Taiwan for that matter) need to take recent accidents and provocations as cautionary tales. While the likelihood of a military response is low, it does not mean that it is impossible. As such, both sides need treat such events with the respect and tact deserving of an international incident despite the fact they both claim to ³own´ the territory. Diplomacy has served them well thus far and it can continue to do so as long as all involved continue to act like responsible powers until a resolution satisfactory to all parties can be found.

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