Photo: AP Images
Sino-Japanese tensions have boiled over after Japan purchased the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands earlier this month.Japanese deputy foreign minister Chikao Kawai has been in China to smooth relations between the two countries. But the Chinese government has refused to back down.
Instead it has issued a paper staking claim of the disputed islands calling them an “inseparable part of the Chinese territory” and saying the country “enjoys indisputable sovereignty” over them.
The paper also has a section titled “Backroom Deals Between the United States and Japan Concerning Diaoyu Dao are Illegal and Invalid”. This refers to the 1970s when the U.S. returned administrative power of the islands to Japan.
Here is an excerpt from Xinhua:
Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are an inseparable part of the Chinese territory. Diaoyu Dao is China’s inherent territory in all historical, geographical and legal terms, and China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao.
Japan’s occupation of Diaoyu Dao during the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 is illegal and invalid. After World War II, Diaoyu Dao was returned to China in accordance with such international legal documents as the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation. No matter what unilateral step Japan takes over Diaoyu Dao, it will not change the fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China. For quite some time, Japan has repeatedly stirred up troubles on the issue of Diaoyu Dao. On September 10, 2012, the Japanese government announced the “purchase” of Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated Nanxiao Dao and Beixiao Dao and the implementation of the so-called “nationalization”. This is a move that grossly violates China’s territorial sovereignty and seriously tramples on historical facts and international jurisprudence.
China is firmly opposed to Japan’s violation of China’s sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao in whatever form and has taken resolute measures to curb any such act. China’s position on the issue of Diaoyu Dao is clear-cut and consistent. China’s will to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity is firm and its resolve to uphold the outcomes of the World Anti-Fascist War will not be shaken by any force.
2. The United States illegally included Diaoyu Dao under its trusteeship
On September 8, 1951, Japan, the United States and a number of other countries signed the Treaty of Peace with Japan (commonly known as the Treaty of San Francisco) with China being excluded from it. The treaty placed the Nansei Islands south of the 29th parallel of North Latitude under United Nations’ trusteeship, with the United States as the sole administering authority. It should be pointed out that the Nansei Islands placed under the administration of the United States in the Treaty of Peace with Japan did not include Diaoyu Dao.
The United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) issued Civil Administration Ordinance No. 68 (Provisions of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands) on February 29, 1952 and Civil Administration Proclamation No. 27 (defining the “geographical boundary lines of the Ryukyu Islands”) on December 25, 1953, arbitrarily expanding its jurisdiction to include China’s Diaoyu Dao. However, there were no legal grounds whatsoever for the US act, to which China has firmly opposed.
3. The United States and Japan conducted backroom deals concerning the “power of administration” over Diaoyu Dao
On June 17, 1971, Japan and the United States signed the Agreement Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands (Okinawa Reversion Agreement), which provided that any and all powers of administration over the Ryukyu Islands and Diaoyu Dao would be “returned” to Japan. The Chinese people, including overseas Chinese, all condemned such a backroom deal. On December 30, 1971, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a solemn statement, pointing out that “it is completely illegal for the government of the United States and Japan to include China’s Diaoyu Dao Islands into the territories to be returned to Japan in the Okinawa Reversion Agreement and that it can by no means change the People’s Republic of China’s territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Dao Islands”. The Taiwan authorities also expressed firm opposition to the backroom deal between the United States and Japan.
In response to the strong opposition of the Chinese government and people, the United States had to publicly clarify its position on the sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao. In October 1971, the US administration stated that “the United States believes that a return of administrative rights over those islands to Japan, from which the rights were received, can in no way prejudice any underlying claims. The United States cannot add to the legal rights Japan possessed before it transferred administration of the islands to us, nor can the United States, by giving back what it received, diminish the rights of other claimants… The United States has made no claim to Diaoyu Dao and considers that any conflicting claims to the islands are a matter for resolution by the parties concerned.” In November 1971, when presenting the Okinawa Reversion Agreement to the US Senate for ratification, the US Department of State stressed that the United States took a neutral position with regard to the competing Japanese and Chinese claims to the islands, despite the return of administrative rights over the islands to Japan.
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