The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Territorial Dispute Between Japan And China

9720 words - 39 pages

UNISCI Discussion Papers, Nº 32 (Mayo / May 2013) ISSN 1696-2206
9 9
THE SENKAKU/DIAOYU ISLANDS TERRITORIAL DISPUTE BETWEEN JAPAN AND CHINA: BETWEEN THE MATERIALIZATION OF THE "CHINA THREAT" AND JAPAN "REVERSING THE OUTCOME OF
WORLD WAR II"?
Reinhard Drifte1 University of Newcastle
Abstract: The territorial dispute between Japan and China over the sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands is framed by economic interests, domestic circumstances, national identity issues, requirements of international law and historical grievances. The article provides an analysis of these issues which are indicative of the bilateral relationship in general. The analysis of the 1972-2010 period traces the reasons for the erosion of the implicit agreement in 1972 and 1978 between the two countries to shelve the territorial dispute, using Constructivist as well as Realist approaches. The second part contains a case study of the 2010 and the 2012/13 Senkaku incidents, the latter and most serious one started by Ishihara Shintaro, the right-wing Governor of Tokyo, when he declared in April 2012 his intention to have his local government buy some of the contested islands from its private owner which prompted the national government of Prime Minister Noda to buy them instead. The ensuing Chinese reaction has led to a crisis in the bilateral relationship which has political, military and economic implications of considerable importance for the future of Japan and China but also for the stability of the whole East Asian region.
Keywords: Japanese-Chinese relations; Japanese-Chinese economic relations; Senkaku/Diaoyu islands; Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); territorial conflicts; East China Sea.
Resumen: La disputa territorial entre Japón y China sobre la soberanía de las Islas Senkaku/Diaoyu está muy influida por una serie de intereses económicos, circunstancias domésticas, cuestiones de identidad, exigencias de la legislación internacional y agravios históricos. Este artículo proporciona un análisis sobre estas cuestiones que también resultan a su vez indicativas del estado de las relaciones bilaterales en general. El análisis del período 1972-2010 indaga en las razones de la erosión de los acuerdos de 1972 y 1978 que ambos países acordaron para poner de lado la disputa territorial, usando para ello perspectivas tanto constructivistas como realistas. La segunda parte contiene un estudio de caso de los incidentes de las Senkaku en el 2010 y 2012/13, el último de los cuales fue iniciado por Shintaro Ishihara, el marcadamente conservador gobernador de Tokio, cuando manifestó en abril del 2012 la intención de su administración local de comprar algunas de las islas en disputa a sus propietarios privados, lo cual a su vez obligó al gobierno central del primer ministro Noda a adelantarse y comprarlas en su lugar. La respuesta ulterior por parte de...

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