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International Relations

Senkaku Island Dispute

  • 25 Feb 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, China called the Japan-USA mutual security pact a product of the Cold War following USA’s criticism of the presence of Chinese coast guard vessels in Japanese-claimed territorial waters.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The 1960 Japan-USA mutual security treaty assures the USA would come to Japan's aid in the event of an outside attack on Japanese forces or territory.
    • The USA criticized China as the Chinese ships have been repeatedly encroaching the Japanese territorial waters surrounding the Senkaku island.
    • Whereas China has long accused the USA of maintaining a “Cold War mentality'' due to which it tries to bring Japan in its Bloc against China.

  • The Senkaku Island Dispute:
    • About:
      • The Senkaku Island dispute concerns a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known as:
        • Senkaku Islands in Japan,
        • Diaoyu Islands in China, and
        • Tiaoyutai Islands in Taiwan.
      • Both Japan and China claim ownership of these islands.
    • Location:
      • Eight uninhabited islands lie in the East China Sea. They have a total area of about 7 sq km and lie northeast of Taiwan.
    • Strategic Importance:
      • Islands are close to strategically important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits.
    • Japan's Claim:
      • After World War II, Japan renounced claims to a number of territories and islands including Taiwan in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco.
      • But under the treaty, the Nansei Shoto islands came under USA trusteeship and were then returned to Japan in 1971.
      • Japan says that Senkaku islands are part of the Nansei Shoto islands and hence they also belong to Japan.
      • Besides, China raised no objections to the San Francisco deal. Only since the 1970s, when the issue of oil resources in the area emerged, Chinese and Taiwanese authorities began pressing their claims.
    • China's Claim:
      • These Islands have been part of its territory since ancient times, serving as important fishing grounds administered by the province of Taiwan.
      • When Taiwan was returned in the Treaty of San Francisco, China said the islands – as part of it – should also have been returned.


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