Lending clarity to the China-Japan dispute
China is in the news once again, for rowdy anti-Japanese protests raging in as many as 50 Chinese cities. Japanese goods, factories and nationals are practically under siege, so much so that the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has requested China to protect its “nationals, companies and diplomats from attack”. The protests have emanated from contending territorial claims in the East China Sea. In the past, China has staked a claim from Tibet to Taiwan to the entire South China Sea, which naturally makes one wonder if there is any merit to these claims—or whether they are just a grab for everything available. Is China crying wolf, or do its claims have a basis?
In what has been an eventful week, the Japanese government bought three (of the five) Senkaku Islands. Senkaku to the Japanese/Diaoyu to the Chinese—these islands lie north-east of Taiwan and west of Okinawa, with a total land area of not more than 3 square miles. The islands are hotly disputed with China (PRC) and Taiwan (ROC) staking a claim, but Japan sealed the deal paying a whopping 2.05 billion yen, ($30 million) to the private Japanese owner. China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, China Daily, took an open pot-shot at Japan saying, “A thief is never a legitimate owner of stolen property,”
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