Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands – The Dispute

Part of the Chain of Islands

It seems incredible that two of the world’s most powerful economies can get into a major political spat over a small group of uninhabited islands, that with the exception of one or two are not much bigger than a postage stamp, and most appear to be nothing more than large rocks sticking up out of the sea.

The Bonito Factory

The world has had to listen to claim and counter-claim over the disputed islands for the last few months, and there seems to be no end to it. History tells us that the Chinese first recorded the existence of this pimple in the sea as early as the 15th century but did nothing further about them. On 14 January 1895 the Japanese government claimed the islands as part of Japan and built a bonito (a species of predatory fish) processing plant on the islands, and at the time the Chinese made no objections. The business failed in 1940 and the islands have remained deserted ever since.

In 1945 the islands came under American control until 1971 when they were handed back to the Japanese under the Okinawa Reversion Treaty. While under US control, in 1969 a UN Economic Commission  (ECAFE) identified possible oil and gas reserves under the seabed surrounding the islands, and suddenly China started to take notice. Oops! Now money enters the equation! In fact its the Falklands scenario all over again.

Senkaku Islands Location

We have recently entered the period of diplomatic warnings and landings by the Chinese on the islands to claim sovereignty, but how this dispute will end is anyone’s guess. However,  with oil and gas in the mix you can bet there will be a long hard struggle between China and Japan for final control of these otherwise useless rocks.

Roy.

Latest update 19 August: Now many Chinese people are demonstrating in the streets about something they never even knew existed at this time last year. Talk about a crazy world!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: