Uh oh: Chinese ships sail into Japanese waters near disputed islands

posted at 10:03 pm on September 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

Twitter is blowing up over this as I’m writing. The best thing I can do to get you up to speed is send you to this nifty Foreign Policy precis of the standoff. Nutshell version: Japan says the islands, which it calls the Senkaku, belong to it. (In fact, the Japanese government formally purchased them from their private owners just two days ago, partly to prevent them from being bought by Japanese nationalists and developed to spite China.) China says that the islands, which it calls the Diaoyu, actually belong to it per post-WWII agreements. The U.S. is obliged by treaty to defend Japan if it’s attacked; on the other hand, the agreements China’s citing to stake its own claim to the islands were authored by the U.S. Time for the Foreign-Policy President and Hillary to huddle. Quickly.

Two eternally rival nations, one a rising power and the other fading, locked in a territorial dispute that stems in part from the last time they went to war with each other. What could go wrong?

In 1971, the U.S. and Japan signed a treaty reverting Okinawa and the surrounding islands back to Japanese control, which stated “the United States of America relinquishes in favour of Japan all rights and interests under Article III of the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed at the City of San Francisco.”

China points to its own agreement with the United States, the 1943 Cairo statement issued by Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Chiang Kai-shek. The three leaders agreed that following the war, “Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, [Taiwan] and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.” If you accept, as Beijing does, that Diaoyu was part of Chinese-ruled Taiwan prior to 1895, then that would indicate that it would be returned to China along with the other seized islands. (It would also mean that the U.S. military was bombing Chinese territory throughout the ’50s and ’60s, but that’s another issue.)

Despite the history, the U.S. State Department has stated that “the US does not take a position on the question of the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands.” But further complicating matters is the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. According to Article 5 of the treaty, “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes.”

A State Department official told a Japanese news agency in July that the islands do fall under Article 5, so either the U.S. will be drawn in here on Japan’s side or else it’ll break the treaty to avoid a confrontation with China. (What that would mean for further Chinese aggression in the East China Sea, including Taiwan, who knows?) Anyway, the news tonight from Reuters:

Two Chinese patrol ships entered Japanese territorial waters near disputed islets claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo on Friday, Japan’s Coast Guard said, marking the latest incident in a long-running dispute between China and Japan.

The Chinese ships have not followed the coast guard’s order to go out of the territorial waters, a Japan coast guard official said.

According to Chinese media, they’re surveillance ships. Russia Today — which is a Kremlin-backed news outfit, for what it’s worth — says there are actually eight Chinese ships in the area, four inside the disputed zone and four outside, and that Japan has set up a “crisis center” and “urgently” summoned the Chinese ambassador. There’s another report floating around that, as of last night, three more Chinese surveillance ships were spotted near the Scarborough Shoal, another disputed territory — this one between China, Taiwan, and the Phillippines. Looks like China’s sending a message to all of its regional rivals at once. The Phillippines is itself ready to send ships to the shoal; no word yet on whether the Chinese ships are still there.

I’m seeing next to nothing on this so far in U.S. media, but Raymond Pritchett’s Twitter feed is chock full of new info. (Most of the above links are harvested from him.) Stick with his feed for updates. One interesting wrinkle: Apparently there’s a typhoon headed for the islands tonight, which might be the pretext used by both sides to pull out and save face/declare victory. Panetta’s scheduled to travel to the region “soon.” No doubt it’ll be sooner than he’d planned.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Demosthenes on September 14, 2012 at 4:32 AM

It’s a great place. I might move back there sometime in the future.

DarkCurrent on September 14, 2012 at 4:54 AM

The U.S. is obliged by treaty to defend Japan if it’s attacked;

Great.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 14, 2012 at 5:22 AM

OldEnglish on September 14, 2012 at 4:48 AM

Thank you.

DarkCurrent on September 14, 2012 at 5:23 AM

I can never get used to*

It’s a great place. I might move back there sometime in the future.

DarkCurrent on September 14, 2012 at 4:54 AM


It is. But I miss my books back home… foreign book prices are outrages here, and Kindle doesn’t have everything I need.

Demosthenes on September 14, 2012 at 5:27 AM

Thank you, both – my education continues.

OldEnglish on September 14, 2012 at 4:48 AM


Thank you, OldEnglish.

Demosthenes on September 14, 2012 at 5:28 AM

A couple of stories from China related to the currently flaring anti-Japanese sentiment in Japan here and here.

DarkCurrent on September 14, 2012 at 5:29 AM

But, but…what about the bank account in Switzerland?!

Lourdes on September 14, 2012 at 6:44 AM

And Vanity Fair is really on this hot story about the necklace Biden’s wife wore to the DNC convention, demanding to know – to have proof – if it was ‘real’ or just a hacking imitation of ‘actual designer’. Where’s all the concern about THAT?!?

Lourdes on September 14, 2012 at 6:46 AM

(Previous two comments making fun of Leftmedia only — the issue of China at possible DefCon 4 is a serious one and I don’t make light of that, but only of the Leftmedia’s utter silence on the issue while freaking-out about a Swiss bank account and Biden’s wife jewelry, real-or-fake).

Lourdes on September 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Everybody is making their move during the last months of Barry’s term in office.

“Hopelessness and Chaos”.

albill on September 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Hey. Is the drunk dullard even awake?

pat on September 14, 2012 at 3:01 AM

You know…lately, I’ve begun hoping he stays drunker and drunker and drunker, whatever it will take to lull him further into his awful stuporous state as long as we get him out of office this November. I hope he drinks himself stuperous every afternoon, every night, every morning and at every single “celebrity” party and Letterman stage he frequents. Just drink it up, Bud, stew away.

Lourdes on September 14, 2012 at 6:52 AM

Everybody is making their move during the last months of Barry’s term in office.

“Hopelessness and Chaos”.

albill on September 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Yes, yes they are and that’s the reason why, you’re right.

Lourdes on September 14, 2012 at 6:53 AM

Turn on CNN now. Chuck Todd and Lawrence O’Donnell have party hats on and are toasting the new polling with champagne.

I dunno guys, it’s not my country. But if I was an American, I’d be storming the fucking newsrooms right now. It’s like fucking 1984.

Johnimus on September 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Or, more likelier, Todd and O’Donnell are having their last laugh before the comet strikes the Democrats.

Lourdes on September 14, 2012 at 6:54 AM

China?…….why worry? Oh…….this?

http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/12/inside-the-ring-china-rejects-zero-option/

Our “SMART” power reminds me of the “smartcar”. You know that little two seat beauty on the road? Well with Obama and Hillary our foreign policy and National defense is like that smartcar and CHINA is getting ready to hit the same road in a freaking HUMMER.

Guess who rules the road in this scenario?

PappyD61 on September 14, 2012 at 7:16 AM

The only thing stopping China right now… is Hillary Clinton.

faraway on September 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM

It truly is a laugh or cry moment.

txhsmom on September 14, 2012 at 7:55 AM

And Vanity Fair is really on this hot story about the necklace Biden’s wife wore to the DNC convention, demanding to know – to have proof – if it was ‘real’ or just a hacking imitation of ‘actual designer’. Where’s all the concern about THAT?!?

Lourdes on September 14, 2012 at 6:46 AM


The media has deemed Obama sacrosanct and his policies cannot be discussed. Like the “highbrow” press of Orwell’s time, the modern MSM refuse to publicize unfavorable facts about their new love and instead applaud him.

Demosthenes on September 14, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Oh nuts! The administration does not multi-task well.

Official response China : Mitten’s Tax Returns!!!!

socalcon on September 14, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Gee, perhaps our president’s gutlessness in the middle east and his plans to shrink the US Navy to WWI levels has emboldened the Chinese?

Fools voted for Obama the first time, only a traitor could vote for him now.

Spartacus on September 14, 2012 at 9:35 AM

It’s probably been stated already, and if so, I’ll reiterate:

The treaty signed in 1943 was with nationalist China, and the only vestiges of the original China before the rest of China fell to the commies is Taiwan. Give those Islands to Taiwan.

Woody

woodcdi on September 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM

The treaty signed in 1943 was with nationalist China, and the only vestiges of the original China before the rest of China fell to the commies is Taiwan. Give those Islands to Taiwan.

Woody

woodcdi on September 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I’m not aware of any treaty signed in 1943, but suppose you’re probably referring to the Cairo Communiqué of 1943. The body of the declaration reads as follows:

“The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations against Japan. The Three Great Allies expressed their resolve to bring unrelenting pressure against their brutal enemies by sea, land, and air. This pressure is already rising.

“The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion. It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed. The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.

“With these objects in view the three Allies, in harmony with those of the United Nations at war with Japan, will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.”

Note there’s no specific reference to the Senkaku islands, so it doesn’t help resolve the dispute.

DarkCurrent on September 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Here’s a diplomatic compromise that would work. Since the Cairo conference stated “Republic of China” and not “Peoples Republic of China”, Japan could give a big middle finger to Communist China by ceding the Islands to the Republic of China, aka Taiwan.

But then B. Hussein “Foreign Policy” Obama would manage to screw it up like he has everything else during his stolen presidency, and somehow manage to help Communist China successfully invade our ally the democratic Republic of China Taiwan and grab the Islands for themselves that way.

Mr Obama is the embodiment of President Ronald Reagan’s famous line, “The worst thing you can hear in your life is to get a knock on your door and some guy standing there saying, ‘Hi! I’m from the Gummint and I’m here to help!’ “

CatchAll on September 14, 2012 at 11:04 PM

Let’s not forget that the People’s Republic of China is not the Republic of China. Any treaties made with Chiang Kai-shek are with modern-day Taiwan, not with the government that currently controls China.

There is absolutely no excuse for the PRC to try to assert claims over Japanese or Taiwanese land or waters. We should be defending both Japan and the Republic of China with the full strength of our military, but something tells me that Obama would let both countries fall before taking a hard stance against his socialist friends in the PRC.

TBSchemer on September 15, 2012 at 3:57 PM

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