Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2/5/2013 Japan/China Island Dispute

Japan PM vows to defend disputed islands from China, calls on troops to guard against threats

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/02/japan-pm-vows-to-defend-disputed-islands-from-china-calls-on-troops-to-guard/#ixzz2JyYoRAPi

The Diautu / Senkaku Islands, the northern most disputed area aggressively claimed by the notorious swimming dragon


     The above story carried in Fox News is to be expected. China keeps pushing the envelope and won't wait on the courts. Japan has no choice but to defend their sovereignty over the islands unless or until a respected international tribunal rules otherwise. The United States has no choice but to defend Japan, we obligated ourselves to a treaty.

Only China has a choice. They base their claim on the islands on claimed sovereignty prior to WWI. They maintain that the allies in WWII were bound by an earlier agreement to force Japan to return all lands conquered in WWI and WWII. China was engaged in a civil war as the U.S. Japan treaty that recognized the present southern boundary of Japan was finalized. If in fact the U.S. and Japan were bound by an earlier agreement then that portion of the treaty that may violate the Potsdam Agreement could be voided by the court. Japan would be honor bound to relinquish the Islands and the U.S. legally obligated to renegotiate with  Japan the boundaries of her home land that the U.S. is bound to defend.

 However China's case is far from a cake walk. First no one knows at what point an international tribunal may regard a case as "barred by latches:, of more simply too stale to hear. China didn't complain for nearly 50 years. That doesn't help their case. The islands have never been inhabited so China may not have very clear evidence of real sovereignty prior to WWI especially since China was badly fragmented during much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. How did they exercise their claimed sovereignty?  We suspect that when all of the cards are on the table it may look like a naked land grab motivated by recent fisheries and oil discoveries and Communists China's long articulated ambition of ruling the China Seas out to "the first island chain" making the China Seas a virtual Chinese Lake. The problem there of course is the inconvenient fact that some of those islands belong to other nations, some even are other nations. So the case as complained of sounds plausible, the case as actually heard may be found solid, or it may rest on a base of shifting sands. China is hedging it bet by the thug tactics it is presently exhibiting.

China can have only one possible advantage in acting so aggressively. They may be trying to make the case for "effective administration" over the islands. Where there is no effective settlement, effective administration can be considered proof of sovereignty. If China's Ocean Surveillance Service and Fisheries enforcement vessels routinely move unchallenged through the area and board non Chinese vessels unopposed, since these are not naval vessels China will argue that they have been enforcing their fisheries regulations in the area for years and that Japan is the up start just now starting to pay attention to the islands since oil was suspected to be nearby. China also knows that in today's international tribunals when ever the shooting starts and it stops for adjudication, who ever shot first generally loses. Being a thug state China is willing to push the issue to a first shot by Japan. Japan being a peaceful state wishes to avoid conflict, but today literally drew a line in the sand. If the shooting starts it may not stop for a long time. 

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