...While other important issues add to the gravity of the conflict, including enlarged territorial claims by China, Japan and Korea in the form of advancing and defending competing claims to ADIZ in the East China and South China Seas, Yabuki shows the long trajectory of competing claims over the Senkaku dispute and the evolving policies of China, Japan and the United States in shaping it. Since so much of the international discussion of the issues has focused on China-Japan conflict, a particularly important contribution of the present paper is its clear presentation of US recognition at the highest levels of the significance of the competing territorial claims, and its maneuvering in negotiations with Taipei, Tokyo, and Beijing to shape the outcome.The article then goes on to show how the US manipulated things to preserve the Chinese claims and how the Chinese manipulated the US, probably because Kissinger, who was running the show at the time (he would later go on to establish profitable business relations with China), was so irredeemably pro-China and because of the general historical ignorance and laziness of Americans: nobody on the US side appears to have researched the Chinese claims to see whether they were actually correct. For example, a memo from John Holdridge reproduces the Chinese nonsense claims without comment and says:
The story can, of course, be traced back to earlier claims to the islands, including historical interactions involving Taiwan and Okinawan fishermen and Chinese tributary missions, to Japanese claims to the islands, and to their disposition by the US in framing and implementing the San Francisco Peace Treaty...
John H. Holdridge’s Comment reads as follows:Don't miss the conversation between Kissinger and the ROC representive reproduced in the article; it's high comedy.
As you can imagine, the Japanese Government has a comparable list of apparently offsetting arguments and maintains simply that the Senkakus remain Japanese. State’s position is that in occupying the Ryukyus and the Senkakus in 1945, and in proposing to return them to Japan in 1972, the U.S. passes no judgment as to conflicting claims over any portion of them, which should be settled directly by the parties concerned.
After reading this memorandum, Kissinger immediately handwrote the following comment in the margin: “But that is nonsense since it gives islands to Japan. How can we get a more neutral position?”
Going back to the introduction, readers familiar with China's nonsensical claims to the Senkakus can see how in the introduction Seldon and Susumu have completely and uncritically swallowed them. I posted some comments there, but (naturally) they were nuked.
I should add that one of my projects for this vacation is translating and commenting on the great website 為什麼釣魚台是日本的. It has been taken down, but I have it in reserve and hopefully sometime in the next couple of months will be able to reproduce it in full and in English. It's stuffed with little gems that show that no rulers of China ever thought of the Senkakus as Chinese. A sample:
當時負責與日本交接的清國代表是李經方，李經方擔心福建沿海島嶼也被劃入割讓範圍希望日方提交臺灣附屬島嶼清冊.水野遵表示如果將島名逐一列舉，難免會出現疏漏或涉及無名島嶼問題，如此一來該島將不屬於日、中任何一方，從而帶來麻煩,而且臺灣與附屬島嶼已有公認的海圖與地圖鑒於日方的表態，李經方同意對台灣附屬各島嶼不逐一列名的處理,之後雙方簽署交接臺灣文據.Note first that neither side mentioned the Senkakus as they worked out the handover of Taiwan to Tokyo. Had the Qing or the Japanese considered the Senkakus to be part of Taiwan, they certainly would have been mentioned, but of course neither side did. I linked to the LeGendre map yesterday. It is typical of all western maps of Taiwan in the 19th century -- none included the Senkakus as islands traditionally thought to be part of Taiwan, like Green Island or the Pescadores/Penghu. No one, Chinese or foreign, considered the Senkakus to be Chinese until after the possibility of oil under the sea floor was announced in the late 1960s. It's really that simple, and anyone who writes on the "origins" of the Senkakus mess is churning out ideologically-driven propaganda if they write or imply anything else.
Qing representative Li Jing-fang was responsible for the handover to Japan. Li Jing-fang was concerned that the coastal islands of Fujian were also included in scope of things ceded and hoped that the Japanese side would submit an inventory of Taiwan affiliated islands. Mizuno Jun [head of administration of first Japan gov't of Taiwan and participant in 1874 invasion, pic here --MT] said that compliance meant that if the islands were listed by name, there will inevitably be omissions or problems involving nameless islands. Then there will be islands not belonging to either party, resulting in trouble. Moreover, the island of Taiwan and its affiliated islands were already recognized on the charts and maps of the Japanese side. Li agreed that the islands affiliated with Taiwan should not be listed individually by name and the two sides later signed the instrument of the transfer of Taiwan.
UPDATE: See also this post.
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