Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands and the other affiliated islands are within China’s territory. Japan has been claiming ownership of the islands for over ten years. Japan’s move to take the islands forcefully from China resulted in increased conflicts between the two countries. The most notable effect of the conflicts between these countries was the sinking of McArthur (Pan 139). There were several deaths of both civilians and troops who were aboard the McArthur. Such deaths could have been prevented if Japan had agreed to use peaceful negotiations in establishing the real ownership of the islands. This paper attempts to establish a country that owns the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands. The paper also explores the different events that took place as Japan and China tried to claim ownership of the islands (Crozier 96).
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Who owns the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands?
Initially, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands belonged to Taiwan. The Chinese fishermen also benefitted from this island during this time. Japan claimed ownership of the islands after carrying out a survey and finding out that the territory was not inhabited. Thereafter, Japan has always asserted that it is the owner of the islands. Japan has also presented quite a several reasons to show why it claims ownership of the islands. To start with, China did not object to the move by the US to administer the island. Hence, this was a clear indication that the island did not belong to China (Suganuma 95). Taiwan’s and China’s authorities started claiming ownership of the islands when the issue of developing petroleum resources became a serious concern. Japan was recognized as the true owner of the islands after the signing of the Okinawa reversion treaty in 1969 (Kaczorowska 258). Since then, Japan has continued to own and control various activities on the islands. However, it is worth noting that China denounced the reversion treaty that had claimed Japan has the real owner of the islands. China had claimed that Japan had taken the islands by force in 1895. This was a time when the Sino-Japanese war had just erupted. China accepted to give away the islands to end the war. However, Japan still claimed ownership of the islands (Guo 33).
Were China’s sinking of the McArthur, the seizure of two crewmen, and destruction of the Rappahannock wrongful acts for which compensation is owed to Japan and the United States?
In my view, China’s sinking of the McArthur, the destruction of the Rappahannock, and the kidnapping of two crewmen were fairly justified. For instance, “for a direct international wrong, the defaulting state may incur ordinary responsibility” (Kaczorowska 419). Since McArthur started firing against a Chinese vessel, there is a valid claim why China was justified to disable and sink McArthur. Out of the 85 protesters who were aboard the “great wall”, almost fifteen of them died while others suffered serious injuries. This is an example of an inappropriate act which McArthur should not have committed. Even after carrying out the attack, McArthur failed to offer any assistance to the injured passengers and the crew.
They did not even report the incident to the authorities in Japan. China failed to respect the statements made by authorities to stop the attack. This shows the extent to which China was affected by the attack. Although Japan seemed to care about the aftermath of the attack, it did not provide any form of compensation to the people affected by the tragedy. China undertook that measure as a way of trying to protect Japan from invading other islands even after acquiring the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands by force. Other countries made neutral statements concerning the true ownership of the islands. In the case of the United States, the spokesperson from the state department explained that the US had a neutral stand concerning ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands. This contradicted the previous position by the US whereby it had supported Japan in claiming ownership of the islands. This was evident when Japan and the United States signed the reversion treaty which indicated that the islands were in Japan’s territory (Kaczorowska 259).
Does China have jurisdiction over the officers of the McArthur who allegedly committed international crimes?
When the events that led to the sinking of McArthur are explored, China may likely have had jurisdiction over the officers of the McArthur who were involved in international crimes. The perpetrators of the crimes were supposed to undergo a legal trial process. Besides, the high number of civilians who lost their lives after being fired calls for appropriate action to be taken against the perpetrators. The crimes committed by the officers occurred on an island that china claimed ownership of. This means that the officers involved should be prosecuted for all the international crimes especially if the crimes are incorporated in china’s domestic law. According to Kaczorowska, “the creation of rights should be assessed by rules contemporaneous with the time of their creation” (262). This means that China’s right to prosecute the officers should be based on the contemporaneous of the rules. China may also have jurisdiction for other minor domestic crimes committed by the officers like the forceful acquisition of Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands. However, China should show the potential of prosecuting the officers. In case any weakness is observed, it would be appropriate to refer such cases to the international criminal court.
Were Japan’s actions against ChangZheng 4 wrongful acts for which compensation is owed?
Japan was justified to take action against ChangZheng4. The actions should not be regarded to be wrong. Quite some arguments can be used to support this stand. Since both China and Japan were responding to the McArthur incident, ChangZheng4 went against the earlier agreement of finding appropriate solutions to the incident. Even after disabling McArthur, the officers of ChangZheng4 continued to with aggressive conflicts against their opponents (Plaid and Klaus 196). The action continued until the vessel went down. China gives vague excuses for failing to rescue other passengers who were aboard McArthur. Japan’s deployment of PLH and Escort Flotilla contributed significantly to ending China’s actions. The two types of equipment are commonly known as “88 formations” had the potential of bringing to an end all the operations from Chinese forces. Although the “88 formations” managed to surface ChangZheng4 on April 10, the officers did not complete their mission of being in control of Chinese forces. Their plans were altered after the coming of the People’s Liberation Army Navy who brought in a missile destroyer. Japan’s operations were aimed at controlling china’s operations. Therefore, Japan should not make any compensation for its actions against ChangZheng4 (Liu 199).
Is Japan responsible for whatever crimes may have been committed by the crew of the McArthur?
Japan is responsible for the crimes committed by the crew of the McArthur. All the events that led to the McArthur incident took place after the forceful acquisition of Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands by Japan. Taiwan was believed to be the real owner of the islands, but Japan started claiming ownership of the islands after developing interests in exploiting resources that were found near the islands. Japan felt that it would find it easy to exploit the resources at the sea by firstly acquiring the Senkaku islands. If Japan had agreed to use peaceful negotiations to establish the true ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands, such conflicts would not have occurred. Many people from Japan and China lost their lives as a result of the war between the two states. This occurred as they tried to establish a new territory (Plaid and Klaus 230).
In recap, it is evident that the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands have raised a lot of concern in Taiwan, China, and Japan. Even after Japan managed to claim the ownership of the islands, China and Taiwan have always objected to the decision to take control of the islands. Japan’s forceful acquisition of the islands led to several deaths involving both the troops and the civilians. The United States tried to resolve the conflicts by signing the Okinawa reversion treaty. This move was not received well by Chinese forces who believed that the United States was collaborating with Japan. The United States was not fair because it failed to involve China when signing the Okinawa reversion treaty. The treaty agreement was in favor of Japan since the latter was regarded as the real owner of the islands. According to my opinion, it was necessary to involve China in signing the treaty. This would have helped China to make any objection regarding the contents of the treaty. Moreover, it would contribute significantly to determining the territory where the islands were located. To date, China is still opposed to Japan’s move since it violated the sovereignty of China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands. China has continued to take firm, consistent, and resolute measures against unfair acts like the forceful acquisition of its islands by Japan.
Crozier, Brian. Political Victory: The Elusive Prize of Military Wars. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publ, 2005. Print.
Guo, Rongxing. Territorial Disputes and Resource Management: A Global Handbook. New York: Nova Science Pub Inc, 2006. Print.
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Kaczorowska, Alina. Public International Law. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2010. Print.
Liu, Xiaoyuan. Frontier Passages: Ethnopolitics and the Rise of Chinese Communism; 1921-1945. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2004. Print.
Pan, Junwu. Toward a New Framework for Peaceful Settlement of China’s Territorial and Boundary Disputes. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2009. Print.
Plaid, Avenger and Shmidheiser Klaus. The Plaid Avenger’s World. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2008. Print.
Suganuma, Unryu. Sovereign Rights and Territorial Space in Sino-Japanese Relations: Irredentism and the Diaoyu/senkaku Islands. Honolulu: Association for Asian Studies and University of Hawai’i Press, 2000. Print.