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Tension in The East China Sea the Diaoyu Islands Discussion

Tension in The East China Sea the Diaoyu Islands Discussion

Question Description

I’m working on a political science discussion question and need support to help me study.

All three teams will interact in this discussion in an effort to resolve the issue.

  • Students may negotiate with other teams, issue statements, or announce other actions in keeping with the established policies of their assigned countries.
  • As usual each student should post a 300 word statement citing sources (the text with Chapter number and section description, plus at least one source from the module) and respond to a classmate at least 2 times.
  • This discussion will be open as of April 21st in case delegations want to begin negotiations earlier.



The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands one of many potential flashpoints that the Chinese government must closely monitor in this increasingly complex, tense geopolitical landscape. China, Japan, and Taiwan openly contest the islands’ sovereignty; however, neither Japan nor the United States, one of Japan’s closest allies, officially recognizes Taiwan out of respect for Beijing and the People’s Republic of China. Questions surrounding the islands’ sovereignty came to the fore in the early 1970s, around the time the United States officially reverted control of Okinawa to Japan (Kingston 2010, Chapter 6-Paragraph 2). According to Cao Qun, the pressure of Taiwanese lobbyists stopped Japan’s efforts to secure control over the islands, giving China more than enough time to assert its claims on the territories just a few years later (Cao 2017). The divergence of these countries’ interests creates ambiguity in interpreting international maritime law that China has exploited for its gain. The islands “have potential oil and natural gas reserves, are near prominent shipping routes, and are surrounded by rich fishing areas.” (Council on Foreign Relations). While not particularly ideal given the divisiveness of the topic, China’s actions in the East China Sea are merely the evolution of China’s position on its maritime rights. China must continue to pressure Japan and its allies without actively antagonizing them, lest it loses its claims to the territories (or worse) starts a conflict that draws the United States to the bargaining table. After all, most of the land designated for the United States military in Japan is in Okinawa, granting the United States the opportunity to project its influence in the Pacific (and the East China Sea) more efficiently (Kingston 2010, Chapter 6-Paragraph 3). The threat posed by U.S.-Japan security cooperation forces the Chinese government to act proactively to pursue its interests and respond to crises as they come, to make carefully constructed gestures that encourage discussion among equals.


The Diaoyu Islands are a major concern for many nations in the East China Sea. Japan and the US are claiming that the Diaoyu islands are in fact the territory of the Japanese and that China is infringing on the EEZ of Japan (Tensions in the East China Sea). Japanese and US naval forces should refrain from entering the territory of the Diaoyu territories as it will continue to interfere and conflict with Chinese maritime interests. Taiwan claimed the Diaoyu Islands as part of its territory and as a province of China, which would make the Diaoyu islands Chinese territory ( Politics with Pain, 1:15). Dating back to the 14th century, Chinese travelers had founded the Diaoyu islands with the findings of ancient travel logs, stating that the islands fall under our territory(Painting with Politics, 1:50). We are only protecting the sovereignty of our nation as it is being threatened by foreign powers, we are demonstrating our PLAN’s island chain policy(Larus 2020, p. 210). The reason behind this misconception between who owns the Diaoyu islands was due to the fact of Japan forcefully taking over the islands during the Sinnoh Japanese war in 1895(Painting with Politics, 2:10) as the peace treaty never stated that Diayou islands were given to Japan as they are part of Taiwan. The US also mistakenly “returned” the Diaoyu Islands to Japan as it returned the Okinawa prefecture to Japan in 1971 which created even more confusion between China and Japan(Painting with Politics, 5:00). Even after the Japanese occupation of China, much of our territory was returned to us due to the San Francisco peace treaty, including Taiwan’s territories. As more US and Japanese naval ships trespass Chinese territory, China will continue with the protection of its far seas (Larus 2020, 211). China’s views of Japan are still damaged by the historical relationship between the two nations during WWII so China feels at unease with the presence of Japanese naval forces(Kingston 2010, Chapter 6, People’s Rupluic of China- paragraph 2). The natural resources found abundant around the Diaoyu islands are a major source of economic prosperity for China and we must use our strong navy to protect our maritime interests(Painting with Politics, 10:00). Our people have suffered from interference from foreign powers countless times, China will defend its territories.

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