Friday, January 1, 2016

China Wants Okinawa

The Ryukyu Islands, as seen on a map at the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor. Samurai Wiki

Gordon G. Chang, Daily Beast: Now China Wants Okinawa, Site of U.S. Bases in Japan

Beijing is pushing out in all directions, from the South China Sea to several Japanese islands, with an eye on the eastern Pacific that laps American shores.

On the day after Christmas, three Chinese boats, one modified to carry four cannons, entered Japan’s territorial waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands in the southern portion of the East China Sea. The move, a dangerous escalation, is the first time the People’s Republic of China sent an armed vessel into an area that Tokyo claims as its own.

The sending of the three Chinese vessels on Dec. 26 appears to signal a new phase of incursions to grab not just the Senkaku Islands but the nearby—and far more important—Ryukyu Islands. Those include Okinawa, which hosts more than half of the 54,000 American military personnel in Japan, including those at Kadena Air Force Base, the Army’s Fort Buckner and Torii Station, eight Marine Corps camps, as well as Air Station Futenma and Yontan Airfield, and the Navy’s Fleet Activities Okinawa.

Geopolitically, Okinawa is key to the American-Japanese alliance and the heart of America’s military presence in Japan. But if Beijing gets its way, U.S. military bases will be off Okinawa soon. And Japan will be out of Okinawa, too.

WNU Editor: These Chinese claims on the Ryukyu islands (Okinawa included) have been around for a long time. I even heard about it in the mid-1980s when I was working in China .... and even though I said that such claims were beyond ridiculous, my Chinese hosts were very blunt to me that these islands (like Taiwan) belong to them. 30 years later .... it looks like they are "upping" the pressure.


Unknown said...

"The first mention of the word Ryukyu was written in the Book of Sui.

Okinawa was the Japanese word identifying the islands, first seen in the biography of Jianzhen, written in 779.

The invasion of the Ryūkyū Kingdom by the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Domain took place in April 1609.

When Ryukyu was annexed by Japan in 1879, the majority of people on Okinawa Island spoke Okinawan. Within ten years, the Japanese government began an assimilation policy of Japanization, where Ryukyuan languages were gradually suppressed."

Okinawa should be independent. The U.S. screwed up after WW2 when they did not make them independent.

If or once they are independent they can vote to join another country or remain independent. I don't like Okinawa being "Japanese" bases on 4 centuries of conquest, forced assimilation, and chauvinism.

Maybe some island close to Taiwan should be Chinese based on maritime law, but the Chinese definitely are scaring me and pissing me off.

Daniel said...

Very hard to believe China expects America and Japan to abandon Okinawa without a fight. At least this decade.

Daniel said...

"If or once they are independent they can vote to join another country or remain independent. I don't like Okinawa being "Japanese" bases on 4 centuries of conquest, forced assimilation, and chauvinism."

Excuse me? By that standard practically no nation on Earth has the right to most of the territories they possess. That's like abolishing private property on the ground that it is theft.

Don Bacon said...

There was no China ship in Japan territorial waters. That is raw propaganda. Reportedly the China coast guard ship was eighteen miles from the Daiyou-Senkakus islands, which Japan claims but that is disputed. So much for the "dangerous escalation."
And there was no attempt "to grab not just the Senkaku Islands but the nearby—and far more important—Ryukyu Islands." More BS.
By the way, going back to the Potsdam Declaration after WWII, Japan was not supposed to retain any external islands, but the US engineered it otherwise at the San Francisco conference to which China, even having been severely oppressed by Japan, was not invited.
Taiwan, of course, is part of China. In fact Taipei is the capital of the Republic of China, recognized by a few countries.

Daniel said...

In reality though I'm quite sure the Chinese aren't planning on seizing the Ryukyus. I'm sure that they'd accept them if Japan and America had a simultaneous fit of irrational cowardice and turned them over, but that's not something they are counting on. I am reminded of Kissinger's book on Chinese foreign policy. He gushed rather too much about the genius of Mao's strategy for my tastes, but his overall point about a core principle of Chinese strategy being "offensive deterrence" seems quite plausible to me and in that case it is hard not to see this as another example. The idea isn't to seize any islands, it is to put all their neighbours on the defensive and keep them perpetually off balance.

Stephen Davenport said...

The Chinese can wish in one hand and spit in another and see which one fills faster before they get Okinawa or any other of the islands.

Si-vis-pasen- said...

If China want to make the U.S. U.K. consern they should give weapons systems to Argentina that will really start something .

Don Bacon said...

from the Potsdam Conference

The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.