Bill Hayton, the expert who has doggedly been showing that China has zero historical claim to anything in the South China Sea, tweeted the above image with the following discussion today:
Bill Hayton @bill_hayton The first time modern China took interest in the #SouthChinaSea islands - when US Secretary of War Taft asked them (HK Daily Press 7Dec1907)This was in 1907, and the actual occupant of Pratas Island was a Japanese businessmen who was interested in mining guano. This was the first time that any government in Beijing had shown any interest in the island, now currently controlled by the ROC government and held by young men from Taiwan.
...the point being that the Chinese government didn't know a Japanese merchant was occupying Pratas (Dongsha) until the Americans told them
For more great Hayton stuff, see The Century of Humiliation is Expansionist Baloney
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