China refuses to confirm Okinawa Island belongs to Japanese

Bloomberg — May 09


China refused to confirm that Okinawa belongs to Japan after two Chinese scholars suggested re-examining the ownership of the archipelago that includes the island, adding to tensions over a separate territorial dispute.


Agreements between allied forces during World War II mean the ownership of the Ryukyu Islands may be in question, the researchers said in a commentary in the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s main newspaper. Asked if China considers Okinawa part of Japan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said scholars have long studied the history of the Ryukyus and Okinawa. “It may be time to revisit the unresolved historical issue of the Ryukyu Islands,” Zhang Haipeng and Li Guoqiang of the China Academy of Social Sciences wrote in the commentary.A move to reconsider ownership of the Ryukyus would add to strains as China and Japan assert their claims over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. The Japanese government’s decision last year to purchase those islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, sparked protests across China and harmed a $340 billion annual trade relationship that has yet to recover.

Tensions were compounded last month after Japanese lawmakers visited a Tokyo shrine where war criminals are honored along with other war dead and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to protect the East China Sea islands by force. The Ryukyu Islands are home to about 1.5 million people.

Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict

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