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China criticises the US’s remarks on island dispute

China criticises the US’s remarks on island dispute

By Abhishek Kaushal

After having already stirred up a hornet’s nest last year, by controversially commenting on the “One-China policy, US has taken a dig at China in the International arena by intervening in the sensitive Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute. James Mattis, the new US secretary of Defence reportedly claimed that the island chain was a part of the US-Japan military accord.

What is the dispute?

The dispute started back in the 19th century during the Meiji Restoration era and played a vital role in the Sino-Japanese war. In 1895, Japanese government gained control over the islands, while stating that they were unclaimed prior to that.

Senaku Islands

In 1895, Japanese government gained control over the islands, while stating that they were unclaimed prior to that.

After the second world war, in 1945, after the loss of Japan to the US and its allies, the islands were confiscated by the US and were made a part of Ryukyu islands. Roughly 26 years later, on June 17, 1971, Japan signed a treaty with the US, which gave the control of islands again to the Japanese administration. This was followed by country-wide protests all over the PRC and Taiwan against Japan. However, this was followed by an appeasement treaty between Japan and China. This treaty was short-lived as there were repeated sequential encroachments by activists from Japan and China (PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan).

Implications for Sino-US relations

It seems like China has taken Mattis’s remarks to heart as shortly after his comments Chinese coast guard ships were stationed near the islands, thus inciting The Japanese Embassy to register a complaint with Beijing. China further accused the US of shooting one’s gun from else’s shoulder by keeping Japan in the fray.

While the statement that the US would defend the islands along with Japan is seen as a shot in the arm by many for Japan, which has been quite anxious at the growing dominance of China for over a decade now.

It seems like China has taken Mattis’s remarks to heart – shortly after his comments Chinese coast guard ships were stationed near the islands, thus inciting The Japanese Embassy to register a complaint with Beijing. China further accused the US of shooting one’s gun from else’s shoulder by keeping Japan in the fray. The statement that the US would defend the islands along with Japan is seen as a shot in the arm by many for Japan, which has been quite anxious at the growing dominance of China for over a decade now.

China

The Seunkaku Islands, the source of conflict | Picture Courtesy: Cscubb

Chinese spokeman Lu Kong accused the US of showing a casual attitude to this sensitive Asian issue and also warned about the far reaching implications it might have. He also urged the US government to act responsibly as the East Asian stability was at risk. He further added that the Chinese stance over the dispute won’t change, come what may as even historical facts favoured them.

The results of this face off may be short but it would be interesting to see India’s stance on this issue as it can leverage this issue along with South China sea dispute to challenge the Chinese aggression and supremacy. Also, Pakistan’s undoubted Chinese support would be put to test when the US would be in question.

But all in all, as they say time has all the answers.


Featured Image Source: CNBC
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