The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Cover Stories Series 2013> Monitoring East China Sea Airspace> Archive
UPDATED: August 27, 2012 NO. 35 AUGUST 30, 2012
Dangerous Games in Northeast Asia
Japan stirs up a new round of territorial disputes in its neighborhood
By Ding Ying

History of the Diaoyu Islands

The Diaoyu Islands, located in the East China Sea between China and Japan, have belonged to China since ancient times. The islands are 120 nautical miles northeast of China's Taiwan Province, 200 nautical miles east of China's mainland and 200 nautical miles west of Japan's southernmost island Okinawa.

Geologically the islands are attached to Taiwan. The waters around the islands are 100 to 150 meters deep and there is a 2,000-meter-deep oceanic trench between the islands and Japan's Okinawa Islands. Fishermen from China's Taiwan, Fujian and other provinces conducted activities such as fishing and collecting herbs in the area for millennia.

The islands have appeared on China's maps since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). There are records noting the islands in a book published during the rule of Emperor Yongle (1403-24) in the Ming Dynasty, more than 400 years before Japan claimed discovery of the Diaoyu Islands in 1884. After the Ming Dynasty, the islands were recorded in many historical documents. On a map published by Japan between 1783 and 1785, marking the boundary of the Ryukyu Kingdom, the Diaoyu Islands were shown as belonging to China.

Japan never questioned China's sovereignty over the islands until the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. In April 1895, the Government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was forced to sign the Treaty of Shimonoseki, under which China ceded the whole island of Taiwan and its surrounding islands, including the Penghu Archipelago, to Japan. Only since then has Japan had its own name for the area where the Diaoyu Islands are located. Before that, Japanese maps marked the islands by their Chinese names.

Japan was occupied by the United States after it was defeated in World War II. In 1951, Japan and the United States illegally signed a treaty in San Francisco without the presence of China, which was one of the victor countries in World War II. While Article Two of the treaty said that Japan surrendered its claim over Taiwan and the Penghu Archipelago, Article Three assigned the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan had taken from China, to the Ryukyu zone, which was under U.S. control. Then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai lodged a strong protest and said the Chinese Government would never recognize the San Francisco Treaty.

In a statement on territorial waters in 1958, the Chinese Government said that Japan should return all the territory of the People's Republic of China, including Taiwan and its surrounding islands, to China.

(Source: Xinhua News Agency)

Email us at: dingying@bjreview.com

   Previous   1   2   3   4  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Related Stories
-Small Islands, Big Stakes
-Diaoyu Islands Dispute
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved