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History, Oil, Saving Face, Oil, WWII, China, Japan, Oil, and WWIII.  There are those within the countries of both Japan and China that hope to rile citizens to a conflict between China and Japan.  This would, of course, be catastrophic.  The following are diplomatic solutions that could assuage both sides of the East China Sea.  Sometimes simple solutions are the right way to go.

Some fear war

Dear Japan:

Give the Diaoyudao Islands to China (Japan's claim to the Senkaku Islands began after the seizure in 1879 of the kingdom of Okinawa);

Honor the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) (negotiate the distance it must be from your shores)

Acknowledge your invasions of China's terroritories;

Apologize for Nanking.

Dear China:
Graciously accept Japan's apology for Nanking and other invasions;

Accept the Diaoyudao islands gracefully;

Scale back your new East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) so that it is at least 200 miles away from the shores of your neighbors, including Japan;

Stop pushing for the Ryukus Islands.

Dear China and Japan:
Negotiate a deal regarding the Oil and Natural Gas deposits in the East China Sea like you have in the past.  Remember 1982
I think the above are reasonable solutions that allow both China and Japan to save face.

There are many issues behind the manifestation of China's announcement of its ADIZ this weekend.

Let's explore the history, natural resources, and some maps to see if the above suggestions make any sense.

You will hear talk about the disputed islands in conjunction with the ADIZ announcement that, if you don't dig a little deeper, could lead you to believe that China just wants these islands and the air space above them.

No.  The islands and the air space are two separate isssues.

The Disputed Islands, which are uninhabited rock formations, about 80 miles northeast of Taiwan each have two names.  A Chinese name and a Japanese name.  These islands are about 200 miles from China's coast, 250 miles from Okinawa, and over 400 miles from Japan's coast.

Here's what the two largest "disputed islands" look like on Google Earth

Diaoyudao:Chinese Senkaku:Japanese Islands, China Sea

Another pic from the BBC

China Japan Disputed Islands
In truth neither country had much interest in these islands until the early 1970s when large oil deposits were discovered about 100 miles north of the disputed islands.

Japan took ownership of these islands when it captured Okinawa in the late 19th century.   Someone in Japan gave these seemingly worthless islands to a Japanese man, who gave them to his son, who sold them recently to a Tokyo businessman who is being wooed by Tokyo and the country of Japan to sell them.

Is it worth risking peace in this area to side with Japan's claims on these islands that are closer to China than they are to Japan?  I think not.

East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) isn't linked to the disputed islands; however, anyone with an understanding of the game of GO will understand China's move.

In this map we can put some perspective to these two issues.  This is the map of the ADIZ

China Air Defense ID Zone, 11:23:2013

This pic shows the ADIZone in perspective.  Look for the small red areas just NEast of Taiwan and the yellow marker on the Google earth map.  These are the disputed islands which, you can see, are just not that big of a deal except in historical perspective by either the Chinese and the Japanese.

The ADIZone covers a huge area in comparison to the disputed islands.  I will be very surprised to learn that China wouldn't scale back the ADIZ if Japan would concede the Disputed Islands.

China's Recent Air Defense Zone

As you can see, China has its ADIZ expanded to cover a large portion of the East China Sea.  I suspect that there is room to negotiate the ADIZ area, but ONLY if China is given the Diaoyudao Islands.

The red triangle lines you see on the Google Earth portion of the above pic each represent between 400-500 miles.  The red line from the Disputed Islands and Okinawa represents 250 miles.

Concession of these islands only makes sense.

The Chinese people suffered greatly during the invasions of Japan.  What would it cost the Japanese people to apologize?  To be fair, have all the European countries apologized to the countries they terrorized in their quests for Empire Building?

Is it time for a Worldwide Big Hug?  That's what, so what, now what?  Or must we remain mired in revenge mode?

Can China and Japan move on, forgive, and work together?  

Or is this al Kabuki Theater?  Are the Chinese and Japanese pretending to be in a battle in order to weaken the western powers?

I guess we would need to better understand the game of Go.

THE GAME OF GO, instructions:



FROM CHINA:  November 23, 2013:  Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the P.R.C.

2013 China maps out its first air defense ID zone

2013 Statement by the Government of the People's Republic of China on Establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone


NAHA, Okinawa— Until the late 19th century, when Japan took over, this city was the capital of an independent kingdom, owing distant allegiance to China.

''The island kingdom didn't know exactly what islands belonged to it,'' said Dr. Mikio Higa, Deputy Governor of Okinawa Prefecture and a local historian.

This is the background to a territorial dispute between China, Taiwan and Japan over a small group of uninhabited islets 300 miles southwest of here and 80 miles from Taiwan.

To the Japanese, they are the Senkakus; to the Chinese, the Diaoyu Islands. They are in an area that may well be ''one of the largest oil and gas reservoirs in the world,'' a United Nations survey said in 1968.

2013 - Telegraph

2013 - Japan Rejects China’s Claim to Air Rights Over Disputed Islands

AGAIN, the Air Rights are not related to the Disputed Islands, these are two separate issues imo.

Taiwan Relations Act

Taiwan Status: Secrets of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, August 25, 2002

Senkaku Islands


The Japanese version

The Chinese Version

Diaoyu Islands cannot be bought

Do the youth of China and Japan know history?  Do they know that nationalism is often used by power to incite a population to war?

Have both studied Machiavelli?

At what point do the masses stop taking the bait the powerful use to foment unrest?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:24:19 PM PST

  •  Hey, your suggestions at the top (7+ / 0-)

    ...reflect the kind of sagacious and compelling, simple but profound brilliance that one can only hope comes to a future world.

    Unfortunately, it's a world of chickens vying for pecking order. Perhaps a drug will soon be developed to speed up conscious evolution. That would certainly be a game changer.

    Nice job, in any event.

  •  food for thought.. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, Pluto, Shockwave, koNko

    Every large country, and even small ones have apologies due. Have they ever, will they, does it matter after decades or hundreds of years? I dunno.

    So, China is.. defending some area? Not claiming it.
    The US "defence area" is the world, and your internets.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:37:22 PM PST

    •  Atrocities must be redressed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error, Shockwave, koNko

      It seems to be a law of physics in the human realm. Otherwise, a shadow is cast over the future, inviting a counter reaction or some other means of restoring balance -- which is demanded in the present. Sadly, new generations cannot figure out why things are not working, and refuse to address the repercussions of the recent past.

      At core, this is the issue that the US is dealing with today, domestically.

    •  There are two issues (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Karl Rover, Pluto

      The islands are a matter of pride.  Japan trounced China a few times causing China to lose face.  This small win could heal that.

      The Air Defense zone is in defence of China; however, it far exceeds the distance from shore that other countries' Air Defense Zones range.

      Here's map of US Air Defence

      US Air Defense Zone

      Alaska Air Defence.  

      Alaska Air Defense Zone

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:49:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  china is "defending" this area (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BelgianBastard, wilderness voice

      in the sense of "ordering japanese planes not to fly over longstanding japanese territory, because china wants to have it."

      it is worth noting that the chinese government does not apologize for anything, ever. while i agree that it is salutary for regimes to confess their prior atrocities whenever possible, to aid in their coming to grips with the consequences of said actions, let us be clear that the demands for apologies coming from the chinese government are not about historic reconciliation, but rather for gaining diplomatic advantage over neighbors and rivals, and stoking nationalist fervor domestically for internal political legitimacy undermined by abandoning the prior legitimating ideology of communism decades ago.

      •  Cool down, OK? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerald 1969, Karl Rover


        What we have here is a slow motion clash of the Japanese and Chinese right wings.

        I remind you that Mr. Abe's family has been working for the better part of 50 years to re-write the Japanese Constitution and Japanese history, and while they have not yet succeeded with the first they have been pretty effective with the second.

        Since he returned to office, Abe has dropped all pretense of moderation and has, step by step, done his best to smite Chinese knowing full well where this leads, which is exactly where he would like to take Japan: back to a standing army.

        And with the change in government, do you honestly expect Xi to beat-down the Right in the first year of his term?

        What we all ought to be concerned with is how the USA reacts to this since it becomes a test of loyalty to the technical terms of it's troublesome treaty with Japan verses the real-politic of accommodating and yet counter-balancing the rise of China as a regional power, which is inevitable and should be peaceful.

        I really feel sorry for Obama this week; does the right thing in Iran and get bitten in the ass in the US Congress by Israel.

        Now the pot stirring of Clinton and Gates comes back to haunt him just when he should be celebrating a foreign policy win.

        Holy crap.

        Chill out. This is 25% history and 75% politics. Domestic Japanese and Chinese politics.

  •  If I were the British I would start apologizing.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, Pluto

    ...for the Opium Wars.

    IMO Taiwan and China are the same country nowadays.  Both the PRC and the ROC say the same thing but I have a guess who will prevail.

    The Chinese global expansion is multidimensional. They have become the largest trading partner for Africa and their influence in Latin America is growing visibly.  And their Navy is becoming a player in the Pacific.

    The sooner we rethink our Chinese relations the better.  Heck WalMart, the largest employer in the US, purchases 70% of what they sell in China.

    Japan better start a rapprochementwith China soon.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:53:35 PM PST

    •  Few understand the history (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, Shockwave, BelgianBastard

      Eight-Nation Alliance

      The Eight-Nation Alliance, also known as the Eight Power Expedition, was an alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, whose military forces intervened in China during the Boxer Uprising and relieved the siege of diplomatic legations in Peking (Beijing) in the summer of 1900.
      Rapprochement is long overdue.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:20:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Taiwan and China the same country? (0+ / 0-)

      Well you can think whatever you like of course, but do the Taiwanese get a say? Because they would NOT vote to reunite with China if a referendum were held - even in a HK-style one country, two systems deal.

  •  The history in here is all wrong (6+ / 0-)

    The Senkakus were seized in 1895, not 1879, and had nothing to do with the seizure of Okinawa.

    The Chinese claim was invented in 1971. Prior to that both the Chinese governments in Taipei and in Beijing never imagined these islands as Chinese. That year they began claiming them, and altered their maps to reflect the new claim. I have written on this extensively, most recently at The Diplomat

    See also my diary here:

    They were never part of any Ming or Qing holding, despite desperate attempts by Chinese right-wingers to rewrite history.

    Thus, giving them to China will reward Chinese expansionism. China now links them to Okinawa and Taiwan. A claim to Okinawa is coming in the future. That is why both Beijing and Tokyo/Washington will fight over the Senkakus.

    Michael Turton

    •  I believe horriblizing Chinese expansionism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      over some rocks that are nearer to China than Japan is counterproductive.

      In your studies, did these rocks have names before the Japanese claimed them in the late 19th century?

      As for accuracy, one of the reasons I compiled a simple diary with pictures was to help people understand the confusion found in most of the reporting.

      How anyone can look at the map and not side with China on these dinky pieces of land confuses me.

      As for oil in the region, the only logical solution is a collaboration that will, hopefully, save all the islands from any devastating oil leaks.  If all countries form like OPEC did, perhaps the over environmental impact will be greatly improved.  AISIAPEC  or APEC?

      Thank you for droping in.

      As for the timing of the "Chinese claim" it is impossible to interview people from the Ming and/or Qing dynasties.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:26:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good lord.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG, kingfishstew, wu ming, BelgianBastard

        "it is impossible to interview people from the Ming and/or Qing dynasties"

        They were literate, you know. It's rumored they even drew maps.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:49:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously? The islands are closer to China (0+ / 0-)

        is you reasoning? If that becomes a precedent, thanks for starting a hundred other disputes.By the way, that's not how international law works.

        You can start by pulling out of Guam and American Samoa and some of the Aleutions. The Russians would have to give the Kuriles to Japan. The British would have to give the Channel Islands to France, the Greeks would have to give a bunch of islands to Turkey, Spain would have to give the Canaries to Morrocco. France would have to give St. Pierre et Miquelon to Canada,  Australia would have to give Norfolk Island to NZ. I don't even know where to begin in the Carribean. And on and on and on. It would be a giant clusterfuck. That's why in international law 'closer' doesn't count for a hill of beans. As said elsewhere these islands have been Japanese for over a hundred years whereas the Chinese only started claiming them in the 1970s. China would lose in court or arbitration. That's why they are using bully tactics.

  •  Tipped and Reccd, (4+ / 0-)

    However, I do not think Japan should give the Senkakus to China. There has recently emerged or at least become far more active, a very hard line faction within the PLA that is pushing border disputes between China and a host of other nations, namely India, Vietnam, the Philipinnes, and Japan, none of whom threaten China.

    As a Chinese American whose parents lived half their lives in China I still wish for the best for that country and I feel this new PLA direction is no better than the neocons in the US. They are dragging China and by extension the Chinese people who have no say in this repressive regime into emnity with its formidable neighbors. It could bring China to war, utter catastrophe or worse. How dare they? They claim they are defending "Chinas sovereignty" but Chinas sovereignty will be far better guarded in the long run by good relations with its neighbors than a few barren rocks that are practically insignificant for the worlds 3 or 4 largest country (by land area).

    Naturally good relations are what the US wants to see too, lest we get dragged into a potentially disastrous war with China. I am not a warmonger.

    This Senkaku gambit is a ploy by this "new hard line" faction. It is imperative that they be checked. The US and Japan should hold a firm line on the Senkakus.

    "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

    by randomfacts on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:39:09 PM PST

  •  If oil and gas are the concern, then (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, wu ming, icemilkcoffee

    certainly an agreement to share profits or royalties makes sense.  Nobody's going to have a deep sea operation involving flammable products in an area with war tension, much less war.  

    But the nationalism being promoted by China has a domestic purpose far beyond the islands and resources.  

    If you have a policy that covers doctor's bills made necessary by a werewolf bite, and has the words "Health Insurance" on the cover, you can keep that policy!

    by Inland on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 07:18:40 PM PST

  •  So basically Japan should give in to China?!? (0+ / 0-)

    China is by far the most territorially expansionist nation on earth, having disputes with at least ten of it's neighbors plus Taiwan. You don't give into bullies. Ask Neville Chamberlain. China claims it's rise is peaceful. Well, prove it.

    Oh and while you're at it maybe respect your own people's human rights. Like, oh I don't know, the freedoms of religion, expression, travel, to organise a union, the right to a fair trial and protecting ethnic minorities instead of suppressing them. You know become a civilized country.

  •  easier solution (3+ / 0-)

    go to the UN, resolve china's claim that japan should give it territory as per standing historical treaties and international law.

    of course, china would lose that case in a court of law, because they didn't start claiming that territory until the 70s. which is why china is making military threats and trying to bully its way into gettign what it does not have.

    after the diaoyutai, china will eventually demand the whole ryukyu island chain. watch for it.

  •  Nice suggestions, but they won't be taken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerald 1969, limpidglass

    As long as Abe is PM.

    This is the guy who's family's goal is to re-write Japan's constitution and return to the glory days of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the harder he pushes back toward that, the more it irritates China causing them to take the bait, regrettably.

    Now Obama will face a real dilemma because his "Pivot to Asia" which helped to amplify this conflict puts the US in a not very neutral position due to it's frequently affirmed treaty obligations to Japan.

    Now Kerry gets a real test and blustering at China is not going to work.

    Should be interesting.

  •  stupid Question from germany (0+ / 0-)
    Or is this al Kabuki Theater?  Are the Chinese and Japanese pretending to be in a battle in order to weaken the western powers?
    maybe china just tries to show its neighbors
    how much a treaty with the US is worth, is the USA ready to start a war with china over a little rock in the chinese sea to help japan.
    And i guess china is fully aware how much the USA wants to enlarge the military influence over Asia starting with the new australian based comand center for asia and many other steps taken in recent years,
    maybe they see it as a direct threat against them.
    there where roumors that the shanghai stock exchange could start freely tradeing their oil-contracts in yuan.and china is now the biggest importer of oil in the world so it would make sense beside for the fate of the dollar.
    btw i love a good game of go
    •  No (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerald 1969, War on Error

      See my comment to Wuming here.

      You are half-right: this Kabuki is domestic Japanese and Chinese politics played out on a global stage, with the US in the unfortunate position of being not quite as neutral and guiltless as it would like.

      The right wings of both countries were made for each-other, if they were married we could call them "neurotic co-dependents with narcissistic tendencies" but I'm not sure how that is properly applied to political ideologues.

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