There are high international tensions boiling around five small
islands and three rocky outcroppings about 75 miles from Taiwan and 90 miles
from the closest Japanese island (click here for more).
The Chinese call them the Diaoyu Islands and claim them as
part of Chinese territory dating back to the 14th Ming Dynasty.
The Japanese call them the Senkaku Islands and say they incorporated
the islands in 1895 - when they placed a marker on one of them declaring them
to be part of Japan.
Above: Thousands of Chinese protesters marching in a demonstration in southwest China's Sichuan province against Japan's claim of the Senkaku islands.
For almost 200 years, neither country focused very much attention
to the islands - as they were thought to hold little commercial value - they are
covered by jungle, there is fresh water only from rainfall, and the only
significant animal life are small goats that were introduced about 30 years ago.
But then in 1970, the Chinese began to take interest after a
United Nations study showed there might be oil and gas in the seabed around the
islands. Today, these islands are source
of increasing tensions between Beijing and Tokyo as they are near key sea-lanes
and both nations are laying claim to the fishing and natural gas deposits in
and around the islands (click here for more).
On August 15, 2012, the 60th anniversary of the end of the
Pacific War, a group of activists landed on the biggest island, Uotsuri, as
part of China's public relations campaign for ownership. The Japanese
government detained them (click here for more).
Following the detainment of the Chinese, Japanese activists
waved the Nippon flag on one of the islands. This sparked off protests across
China. Chinese protesters took to the streets, attacking Japanese-made cars and
Japanese-owned businesses (click here for more).
Is this growing dispute a manifestation of
shifting power balances in the region?
Do you see international law providing a
solution to this dispute?
09-01-2012 12:05 PM
Filed under: China, United Nations, Beijing, Japan, oil and gas, Territory dispute, Senkaku Islands, Tokyo, sea lanes, international tensions, Diaoyu Islands