Aso Taro believes that the United States will be required to help Japan under a bilateral security treaty if a foreign country invades the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Aso’s comments were made at a meeting on foreign affairs at the House of Representatives Budget Committee when Maehara Seiji of the Democratic Party of Japan asked a question regarding Sino-Japanese territorial disputes. This issue has become news in both the Japanese and Chinese media, as well as, in the international media. The facts are as follows:
1. On February 23: Prime Minister Aso Taro left at night from Tokyo for Washington. It took 26-hours to get to the USA (Japan Times).
2. On February 23: Prime Minister Aso Taro arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland at night (Japan Times).
3. On February 24: There was a 60-minute talk between Prime Minister Aso Taro and President Barack Obama. Aso Taro was the first foreign dignitary to visit the White House since the 44th president took office (Japan Times).
4. On February 24: North Korea announced that it would launch a satellite into space soon (Jiji News).
5. On February 25: Aso returned to Japan claiming that the meeting with President Obama was “great success.” That night, Aso summoned all members of his cabinet to report on his visit to the White House (Nippon News Network).
6. On February 26: Aso Taro answered that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States covered all Japanese territory including the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (TBS News).
7. On February 26: The Chinese Foreign Minister spokesman Ma Zhaoxu stated that the Diaoyu and adjacent islets had been Chinese territories since ancient times. “The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States, as a bilateral arrangement, should not undermine the interest of any third party including China. Any attempt to cover the Diaoyu Islands under the Treaty is absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people. We have lodged a solemn representation to Japan once again and urged the U.S. to make clarification over the relevant reports. We hope Japan and the U.S. can realize the great sensitivity of the issue with discretion in words and deeds and refrain from doing anything that may undermine regional stability or the overall interests of China-Japan relations and China-U.S. relations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC).”
8. On February 27: Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi states that the U.S.-Japan Treaty is applicable to the Senkaku Islands (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan).
9. On February 27: China rejected the Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone’s remarks that Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and United States is applicable to the Diaoyu Islands. “Any words and deeds that bring the Diaoyu Islands into the scope of the Japan-U.S. Mutual Cooperation and Security Treaty are absolutely unacceptable for the Chinese people…. We have lodged stern representations to Japan again and required the United States to clarify reports on the issue (Embassy of the PRC in Japan; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC; Xinhua News).”
10. On February 28: Larry Walker, a spokesman for the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei, states, “The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security signed by Tokyo and Washington in 1960, which states that it applies to the territories under the administration of Japan, does apply to the island…. The U.S. does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands. We expect the claimants to resolve the issue through peaceful means and among themselves (Kyodo News).”
11. On February 28: Nakasone Hirofumi arrived at Beijing to meet the Chinese leaders. Both sides agreed that it should not escalate in the case of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands disputes (Nihon TV Network News).
12. On February 28: The Stated Department officials read the statement to Hong Kong Phoenix TV regarding Sino-Japanese territory disputes in the East China Sea. “The United States position on this issue of the Senkaku Islands is the long standing, and has not changed.... The United States does not take the position on the question of the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands. We do expect the claimants will resolve the issue through peaceful means among themselves (Phoenix TV News).”
13. On March 2: During the Daily Press Briefing, Gordon Douguid, Acting Deputy State Department Spokesman, answered the question of the Senkaku Islands as following: “QUESTION: Yes, on Senkaku Island, I just want to – can you clarify the position of – current U.S. position on Senkaku Island, because U.S. plans that – Japan is (inaudible) U.S. agree with the idea of Senkaku Island north to Japan? Does U.S. really agree with that?” MR. DUGUID: I’ve seen reports on the discussions going on between Japan and Russia on this. I’ll have to take that question, though. I don’t have a formal opinion for you at this time (U.S. Department of States).
Before analyzing the whole story, there are some corrections regarding U.S. Department of States due to the lack of knowledge of geography. First of all, in the question section, the Senkaku Islands is not located in “north of Japan” (that is, northern territory 4 islets between Japan and Russia), but “southern Japan,” near Okinawa. Second, in the answer section, it is not “between Japan and Russia,” but “between Japan and China.”
14. On March 5: Cabinet Secretary Kawamura Takeo stated that the Japanese government has confirmed with the United States that the countries' bilateral security treaty applies to the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands. “We have confirmed that the U.S. government's understanding is not different from the conventional view” that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty applies to the disputed islets in the East China Sea (Kyodo News).
15. On March 5: During the Daily Press Briefing, Gordon Douguid, Acting Deputy State Department Spokesman, answered the question of the Senkaku Islands as following:
“Question: On Senkaku Islands, because our reporter just - in Japan just had an exclusive interview with spokesperson of Japan-U.S. affair. MR. DUGUID: Yes. QUESTION: And he indicated that U.S. has advised to Japan on Senkaku Islands issue very clearly, that Senkaku Islands actually is included in Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. So can you confirm that statement? MR. DUGUID: I can't confirm that statement right now. I'll try and get you something right after the briefing (U.S. Department of States).”
Chinese citizens on the net have focused only on Aso’s claims over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands calling for war. “It has been so many years since we fought a proper war. Let’s fight a good one now, boost domestic consumption and the people’s moral…” “It’s timely to fight now with the American and Japanese economies in troubles (Straits Times).” In the end, as a TV commentator in Hong Kong states, “Riben Dachao Diaoyu Dao [Japan is trying to make a big deal in the Diaoyu Islands],” “Zhongguo Wenzuo Diaoyu Chuan [China is sitting on the fishing (i.e., Diaoyu) boat steadily]!”
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Who Tricks Whom?/Diaoyu-IV
After growing up and studying in China and Japan, Dr. Suganuma went to the U.S. for graduate studies, earning master’s degrees at both St. John's University (in Chinese studies) and Syracuse University (in international relations) as well as a Ph.D. (in geography) from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.