Japan’s Claim is Weak: Diaoyu Islands, Historically and Legally an Inherent Territory of China (Whitepaper)
September 25, 2012 (TSR) -The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday published a white paper on Diaoyu Dao, an inherent territory of China.
Following is the full text of the white paper:
Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China
State Council Information Office
The People’s Republic of China
I. Diaoyu Dao is China’s Inherent Territory
II. Japan Grabbed Diaoyu Dao from China
III. Backroom Deals Between the United States and Japan Concerning Diaoyu Dao are Illegal and Invalid
IV. Japan’s Claim of Sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao is Totally Unfounded
V. China has Taken Resolute Measures to Safeguard its Sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao
Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are an inseparable part of the Chinese territory. Diaoyu Dao is China’s inherent territory in all historical, geographical and legal terms, and China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao.
Japan’s occupation of Diaoyu Dao during the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 is illegal and invalid. After World War II, Diaoyu Dao was returned to China in accordance with such international legal documents as the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation. No matter what unilateral step Japan takes over Diaoyu Dao, it will not change the fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China. For quite some time, Japan has repeatedly stirred up troubles on the issue of Diaoyu Dao. On September 10, 2012, the Japanese government announced the “purchase” of Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated Nanxiao Dao and Beixiao Dao and the implementation of the so-called “nationalization”. This is a move that grossly violates China’s territorial sovereignty and seriously tramples on historical facts and international jurisprudence.
China is firmly opposed to Japan’s violation of China’s sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao in whatever form and has taken resolute measures to curb any such act. China’s position on the issue of Diaoyu Dao is clear-cut and consistent. China’s will to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity is firm and its resolve to uphold the outcomes of the World Anti-Fascist War will not be shaken by any force.
I. Diaoyu Dao is China’s Inherent Territory
Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands, which consist of Diaoyu Dao, Huangwei Yu, Chiwei Yu, Nanxiao Dao, Beixiao Dao, Nan Yu, Bei Yu, Fei Yu and other islands and reefs, are located to the northeast of China’s Taiwan Island, in the waters between 123º20′-124º40′E (East Longitude) and 25º40′-26º00′N (North Latitude), and are affiliated to the Taiwan Island. The total landmass of these islands is approximately 5.69 square kilometers. Diaoyu Dao, situated in the western tip of the area, covers a landmass of about 3.91 square kilometers and is the largest island in the area. The highest peak on the island stands 362 meters above the sea level. Huangwei Yu, which is located about 27 kilometers to the northeast of Diaoyu Dao, is the second largest island in the area, with a total landmass of about 0.91 square kilometers and a highest elevation of 117 meters. Chiwei Yu, situated about 110 kilometers to the northeast of Diaoyu Dao, is the easternmost island in the area. It covers a landmass of approximately 0.065 square kilometers and stands 75 meters above the sea level at its peak.
1. Diaoyu Dao was first discovered, named and exploited by China
Ancient ancestors in China first discovered and named Diaoyu Dao through their production and fishery activities on the sea. In China’s historical literatures, Diaoyu Dao is also called Diaoyu Yu or Diaoyu Tai. The earliest historical record of the names of Diaoyu Dao, Chiwei Yu and other places can be found in the book Voyage with a Tail Wind (Shun Feng Xiang Song) published in 1403 (the first year of the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty). It shows that China had already discovered and named Diaoyu Dao by the 14th and 15th centuries.
In 1372 (the fifth year of the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty), the King of Ryukyu started paying tribute to the imperial court of the Ming Dynasty. In return, Emperor Hongwu (the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty) sent imperial envoys to Ryukyu. In the following five centuries until 1866 (the fifth year of the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty), the imperial courts of the Ming and Qing Dynasties sent imperial envoys to Ryukyu 24 times to confer titles on the Ryukyu King, and Diaoyu Dao was exactly located on their route to Ryukyu. Ample volume of records about Diaoyu Dao could be found in the reports written by Chinese imperial envoys at the time. For example, the Records of the Imperial Title-conferring Envoys to Ryukyu (Shi Liu Qiu Lu) written in 1534 by Chen Kan, an imperial title-conferring envoy from the Ming court, clearly stated that “the ship has passed Diaoyu Dao, Huangmao Yu, Chi Yu. Then Gumi Mountain comes into sight, that is where the land of Ryukyu begins.” The Shi Liu Qiu Lu of another imperial envoy of the Ming Dynasty, Guo Rulin, in 1562 also stated that “Chi Yu is the mountain that marks the boundary of Ryukyu”. In 1719, Xu Baoguang, a deputy title-conferring envoy to Ryukyu in the Qing Dynasty, clearly recorded in his book Records of Messages from Chong-shan (Zhong Shan Chuan Xin Lu) that the voyage from Fujian to Ryukyu passed Huaping Yu, Pengjia Yu, Diaoyu Dao, Huangwei Yu, Chiwei Yu and reached Naba (Naha) port of Ryukyu via Gumi Mountain (the mountain guarding the southwest border of Ryukyu) and Machi Island.
“The Da Ming Hun Yi Tu” is one of the oldest surviving world maps from East Asia, although the exact date of its creation remains unknown. It depicts the general form of the “Old World”, placing China in the center and stretching northward to Mongolia, southward to Java, eastward to central Japan, and westward to Africa and Europe.
This map was created in China sometime during the Ming Dynasty and handed over to the new rulers of China, the Manchus. It replicates the curvature of the Earth by compressing the areas farthest away from China (note the extreme compression of Europe),. The reduced size of these areas makes both a geographical and political statement.
The size and shape of Sub-Saharan Africa is more or less correct, and shows mountains near the southern tip of the continent. The peninsula on the west coast of the Chinese landmass is Malaysia, but India is represented by only a collection of place-names north-west of Arabia. The dependence on external sources for geographical information is evident to the south of Korea, at the far right side of the map, where Japan is over-sized and misshaped. It confusingly meets the more correctly sized and positioned island of Taiwan.
In 1650, the Annals of Chong-shan (Zhong Shan Shi Jian), the first official historical record of the Ryukyu Kingdom drafted under the supervision of Ryukyu’s prime minister Xiang Xiangxian (Kozoken), confirmed that Gumi Mountain (also called Gumi Mountain, known as Kume Island today) is part of Ryukyu’s territory, while Chi Yu (known as Chiwei Yu today) and the areas to its west are not Ryukyu’s territory. In 1708, Cheng Shunze (Tei Junsoku), a noted scholar and the Grand Master with the Purple-Golden Ribbon (Zi Jin Da Fu) of Ryukyu, recorded in his book A General Guide (Zhi Nan Guang Yi) that “Gumi Mountain is the mountain guarding the southwest border of Ryukyu”.
These historical accounts clearly demonstrate that Diaoyu Dao and Chiwei Yu belong to China and Kume Island belongs to Ryukyu, and that the separating line lies in Hei Shui Gou (today’s Okinawa Trough) between Chiwei Yu and Kume Island. In 1579, Xie Jie, a deputy imperial title-conferring envoy of the Ming Dynasty, recorded in his book, Addendum to Summarized Record of Ryukyu (Liu Qiu Lu Cuo Yao Bu Yi) that he entered Ryukyu from Cang Shui to Hei Shui, and returned to China from Hei Shui to Cang Shui. Xia Ziyang, another imperial envoy of the Ming court, wrote in 1606 that “when the water flows from Hei Shui back to Cang Shui, it enters the Chinese territory.” Miscellaneous Records of a Mission to Ryukyu (Shi Liu Qiu Za Lu), a book written in 1683 by Wang Ji, an imperial envoy of the Qing Dynasty, stated that “Hei Shui Gou”, situated outside Chi Yu, is the “boundary between China and foreign land”. In 1756, Zhou Huang, a deputy imperial envoy of the Qing Dynasty, recorded in his book, the Annals of Ryukyu (Liu Qiu Guo Zhi Lue), that Ryukyu “is separated from the waters of Fujian by Hei Shui Gou to the west”.
The waters surrounding Diaoyu Dao are traditionally Chinese fishing ground. Chinese fishermen have, for generations, engaged in fishery activities in these waters. In the past, Diaoyu Dao was used as a navigation marker by the Chinese people living on the southeast coast.
2. Diaoyu Dao had long been under China’s jurisdiction
In the early years of the Ming Dynasty, China placed Diaoyu Dao under its coastal defense to guard against the invasion of Japanese pirates along its southeast coast. In 1561 (the 40th year of the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty), An Illustrated Compendium on Maritime Security (Chou Hai Tu Bian) compiled by Zheng Ruozeng under the auspices of Hu Zongxian, the supreme commander of the southeast coastal defense of the Ming court, included the Diaoyu Dao Islands on the “Map of Coastal Mountains and Sands” (Yan Hai Shan Sha Tu) and incorporated them into the jurisdiction of the coastal defense of the Ming court. The Complete Map of Unified Maritime Territory for Coastal Defense (Qian Kun Yi Tong Hai Fang Quan Tu), drawn up by Xu Bida and others in 1605 (the 33rd year of the reign of Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty) and the Treatise on Military Preparations.Coastal Defense II.Map of Fujian’s Coastal Mountains and Sands (Wu Bei Zhi.Hai Fang Er.Fu Jian Yan Hai Shan Sha Tu), drawn up by Mao Yuanyi in 1621 (the first year of the reign of Emperor Tianqi of the Ming Dynasty), also included the Diaoyu Dao Islands as part of China’s maritime territory.
The Qing court not only incorporated the Diaoyu Dao Islands into the scope of China’s coastal defense as the Ming court did, but also clearly placed the islands under the jurisdiction of the local government of Taiwan. Official documents of the Qing court, such as A Tour of Duty in the Taiwan Strait (Tai Hai Shi Cha Lu) and Annals of Taiwan Prefecture (Tai Wan Fu Zhi) all gave detailed accounts concerning China’s administration over Diaoyu Dao. Volume 86 of Recompiled General Annals of Fujian (Chong Zuan Fu Jian Tong Zhi), a book compiled by Chen Shouqi and others in 1871 (the tenth year of the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty), included Diaoyu Dao as a strategic location for coastal defense and placed the islands under the jurisdiction of Gamalan, Taiwan (known as Yilan County today).
3. Chinese and foreign maps show that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China
The Roadmap to Ryukyu (Liu Qiu Guo Hai Tu) in the Shi Liu Qiu Lu written by imperial title-conferring envoy Xiao Chongye in 1579 (the seventh year of the reign of Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty), the Record of the Interpreters of August Ming (Huang Ming Xiang Xu Lu) written by Mao Ruizheng in 1629 (the second year of the reign of Emperor Chongzhen of the Ming Dynasty), the Great Universal Geographic Map (Kun Yu Quan Tu) created in 1767 (the 32nd year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty), and the Atlas of the Great Qing Dynasty (Huang Chao Zhong Wai Yi Tong Yu Tu) published in 1863 (the second year of the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty) all marked Diaoyu Dao as China’s territory.
The book Illustrated Outline of the Three Countries written by Hayashi Shihei in 1785 was the earliest Japanese literature to mention Diaoyu Dao. The Map of the Three Provinces and 36 Islands of Ryukyu in the book put Diaoyu Dao as being apart from the 36 islands of Ryukyu and colored it the same as the mainland of China, indicating that Diaoyu Dao was part of China’s territory.
The Map of East China Sea Littoral States created by the French cartographer Pierre Lapie and others in 1809 colored Diaoyu Dao, Huangwei Yu, Chiwei Yu and the Taiwan Island as the same. Maps such as A New Map of China from the Latest Authorities published in Britain in 1811, Colton’s China published in the United States in 1859, and A Map of China’s East Coast: Hongkong to Gulf of Liao-Tung compiled by the British Navy in 1877 all marked Diaoyu Dao as part of China’s territory.
II. Japan Grabbed Diaoyu Dao from China
Japan accelerated its invasion and external expansion after the Meiji Restoration. Japan seized Ryukyu in 1879 and changed its name to Okinawa Prefecture. Soon after that, Japan began to act covertly to invade and occupy Diaoyu Dao and secretly “included” Diaoyu Dao in its territory at the end of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. Japan then forced China to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan the island of Formosa (Taiwan), together with Diaoyu Dao and all other islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa.
1. Japan’s covert moves to seize Diaoyu Dao
In 1884, a Japanese man claimed that he first landed on Diaoyu Dao and found the island to be uninhabited. The Japanese government then dispatched secret facts-finding missions to Diaoyu Dao and attempted to invade and occupy the island. The above-mentioned plots by Japan triggered China’s alert. On September 6, 1885 (the 28th day of the 7th month in the 11th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty), the Chinese newspaper Shen-pao (Shanghai News) reported: “Recently, Japanese flags have been seen on the islands northeast to Taiwan, revealing Japan’s intention to occupy these islands.” But the Japanese government did not dare to take any further action for fear of reaction from China.
After the secret facts-finding missions to Diaoyu Dao, the governor of Okinawa Prefecture sent a report in secrecy to the Minister of Internal Affairs Yamagata Aritomo on September 22, 1885, saying that these uninhabited islands were, in fact, the same Diaoyu Tai, Huangwei Yu and Chiwe Yu that were recorded in the Records of Messages from Chong-shan (Zhong Shan Chuan Xin Lu) and known well to imperial title-conferring envoys of the Qing court on their voyages to Ryukyu, and that he had doubts as to whether or not sovereignty markers should be set up and therefore asked for instruction. The Minister of Internal Affairs Yamagata Aritomo solicited opinion from the Foreign Minister Inoue Kaoru on October 9. Inoue Kaoru replied in a letter to Yamagata Aritomo on October 21, “At present, any open moves such as placing sovereignty markers are bound to alert the Qing imperial court. Therefore, it is advisable not to go beyond field surveys and detailed reports on the shapes of the bays, land and other resources for future development. In the meantime, we will wait for a better time to engage in such activities as putting up sovereignty markers and embarking on development on the islands.” Inoue Kaoru also made a special emphasis that “it is inappropriate to publicize the missions on official gazette or newspapers.” As a result, the Japanese government did not approve of the request of Okinawa Prefecture to set up sovereignty markers.
The governor of Okinawa Prefecture submitted the matter for approval to the Minister of Internal Affairs once again on January 13, 1890, saying that Diaoyu Dao and other “above-mentioned uninhabited islands have remained under no specific jurisdiction”, and that he “intends to place them under the jurisdiction of the Office of Yaeyama Islands.” On November 2, 1893, the governor of Okinawa Prefecture applied once again for setting up sovereignty markers to incorporate the islands into Japan’s territory. The Japanese government did not respond. On May 12, 1894, two months before the Sino-Japanese War, the secret facts-finding missions to Diaoyu Dao by Okinawa Prefecture came to a final conclusion, “Ever since the prefecture police surveyed the island in 1885 (the 18th year of the Meiji period), there have been no subsequent investigations. As a result, it is difficult to provide any specific reports on it… In addition, there exist no old records related to the said island or folklore and legends demonstrating that the island belongs to our country.”
Japan’s attempts to occupy Diaoyu Dao were clearly recorded in Japan Diplomatic Documents compiled by the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Relevant documents evidently show that the Japanese government intended to occupy Diaoyu Dao, but refrained from acting impetuously as it was fully aware of China’s sovereignty over these islands.
Japan waged the Sino-Japanese War in July 1894. Towards the end of November 1894, Japanese forces seized the Chinese port of Lushun (then known as Port Arthur), virtually securing defeat of the Qing court. Against such backdrop, the Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs Yasushi Nomura wrote to Foreign Minister Mutsu Munemitsu on December 27 that the “circumstances have now changed”, and called for a decision by the cabinet on the issue of setting up sovereignty markers in Diaoyu Dao and incorporating the island into Japan’s territory. Mutsu Munemitsu expressed his support for the proposal in his reply to Yasushi Nomura on January 11, 1895. The Japanese cabinet secretly passed a resolution on January 14 to “place” Diaoyu Dao under the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture.
Japan’s official documents show that from the time of the facts-finding missions to Diaoyu Dao in 1885 to the occupation of the islands in 1895, Japan had consistently acted in secrecy without making its moves public. This further proves that Japan’s claim of sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao does not have legal effect under international law.
2. Diaoyu Dao was ceded to Japan together with the Taiwan Island
On April 17, 1895, the Qing court was defeated in the Sino-Japanese War and forced to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan “the island of Formosa (Taiwan), together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa”. The Diaoyu Dao Islands were ceded to Japan as “islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa”. In 1900, Japan changed the name of Diaoyu Dao to “Senkaku Islands”.
III. Backroom Deals Between the United States and Japan Concerning Diaoyu Dao are Illegal and Invalid
Diaoyu Dao was returned to China after the Second World War. However, the United States arbitrarily included Diaoyu Dao under its trusteeship in the 1950s and “returned” the “power of administration” over Diaoyu Dao to Japan in the 1970s. The backroom deals between the United States and Japan concerning Diaoyu Dao are acts of grave violation of China’s territorial sovereignty. They are illegal and invalid. They have not and cannot change the fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China.
1. Diaoyu Dao was returned to China after the Second World War
In December 1941, the Chinese government officially declared war against Japan together with the abrogation of all treaties between China and Japan. In December 1943, the Cairo Declaration stated in explicit terms that “all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa [Taiwan] and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed.” In July 1945, the Potsdam Proclamation stated in Article 8: “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.” On September 2, 1945, the Japanese government accepted the Potsdam Proclamation in explicit terms with the Japanese Instrument of Surrender and pledged to faithfully fulfill the obligations enshrined in the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation. On January 29, 1946, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers Instruction (SCAPIN) No.677 clearly defined Japan’s power of administration to “include the four main islands of Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku) and the approximately 1,000 smaller adjacent islands, including the Tsushima Islands and the Ryukyu Islands north of the 30th parallel of North Latitude”. On October 25, 1945, the ceremony for accepting Japan’s surrender in Taiwan Province of the China War Theater was held in Taipei, and the Chinese government officially recovered Taiwan. On September 29, 1972, the Japanese government committed with all seriousness in the China-Japan Joint Statement that “the Government of Japan fully understands and respects this stand of the Government of the People’s Republic of China [Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China], and it firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation.”
These facts show that in accordance with the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, Diaoyu Dao, as affiliated islands of Taiwan, should be returned, together with Taiwan, to China.
2. The United States illegally included Diaoyu Dao under its trusteeship
On September 8, 1951, Japan, the United States and a number of other countries signed the Treaty of Peace with Japan (commonly known as the Treaty of San Francisco) with China being excluded from it. The treaty placed the Nansei Islands south of the 29th parallel of North Latitude under United Nations’ trusteeship, with the United States as the sole administering authority. It should be pointed out that the Nansei Islands placed under the administration of the United States in the Treaty of Peace with Japan did not include Diaoyu Dao.
The United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) issued Civil Administration Ordinance No. 68 (Provisions of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands) on February 29, 1952 and Civil Administration Proclamation No. 27 (defining the “geographical boundary lines of the Ryukyu Islands”) on December 25, 1953, arbitrarily expanding its jurisdiction to include China’s Diaoyu Dao. However, there were no legal grounds whatsoever for the US act, to which China has firmly opposed.
3. The United States and Japan conducted backroom deals concerning the “power of administration” over Diaoyu Dao
On June 17, 1971, Japan and the United States signed the Agreement Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands (Okinawa Reversion Agreement), which provided that any and all powers of administration over the Ryukyu Islands and Diaoyu Dao would be “returned” to Japan. The Chinese people, including overseas Chinese, all condemned such a backroom deal. On December 30, 1971, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a solemn statement, pointing out that “it is completely illegal for the government of the United States and Japan to include China’s Diaoyu Dao Islands into the territories to be returned to Japan in the Okinawa Reversion Agreement and that it can by no means change the People’s Republic of China’s territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Dao Islands”. The Taiwan authorities also expressed firm opposition to the backroom deal between the United States and Japan.
In response to the strong opposition of the Chinese government and people, the United States had to publicly clarify its position on the sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao. In October 1971, the US administration stated that “the United States believes that a return of administrative rights over those islands to Japan, from which the rights were received, can in no way prejudice any underlying claims. The United States cannot add to the legal rights Japan possessed before it transferred administration of the islands to us, nor can the United States, by giving back what it received, diminish the rights of other claimants… The United States has made no claim to Diaoyu Dao and considers that any conflicting claims to the islands are a matter for resolution by the parties concerned.” In November 1971, when presenting the Okinawa Reversion Agreement to the US Senate for ratification, the US Department of State stressed that the United States took a neutral position with regard to the competing Japanese and Chinese claims to the islands, despite the return of administrative rights over the islands to Japan.
IV. Japan’s Claim of Sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao Is Totally Unfounded
On March 8, 1972, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the Basic View on the Sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands in an attempt to explain the Japanese government’s claims of sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao. First, Japan claims that Diaoyu Dao was “terra nullius” and not part of Pescadores, Formosa [Taiwan] or their affiliated islands which were ceded to Japan by the Qing government in accordance with the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Second, Japan claims that Diaoyu Dao was not included in the territory which Japan renounced under Article 2 of the Treaty of San Francisco, but was placed under the administration of the United States as part of the Nansei Islands in accordance with Article 3 of the said treaty, and was included in the area for which the administrative rights were reverted to Japan in accordance with the Okinawa Reversion Agreement. Third, Japan claims that China didn’t regard Diaoyu Dao as part of Taiwan and had never challenged the inclusion of the islands in the area over which the United States exercised administrative rights in accordance with Article 3 of the Treaty of San Francisco.
Such claims by Japan fly in the face of facts and are totally unfounded.
Diaoyu Dao belongs to China. It is by no means “terra nullius”. China is the indisputable owner of Diaoyu Dao as it had exercised valid jurisdiction over the island for several hundred years long before the Japanese people “discovered” it. As stated above, voluminous Japanese official documents prove that Japan was fully aware that according to international law, Diaoyu Dao has long been part of China and was not “terra nullius”. Japan’s act to include Diaoyu Dao as “terra nullius” into its territory based on the “occupation” principle is in fact an illegal act of occupying Chinese territory and has no legal effect according to international law.
Diaoyu Dao has always been affiliated to China’s Taiwan Island both in geographical terms and in accordance with China’s historical jurisdiction practice. Through the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki, Japan forced the Qing court to cede to it “the island of Taiwan, together with all islands appertaining or belonging to it”, including Diaoyu Dao. International legal documents such as the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation provide that Japan must unconditionally return the territories it has stolen from China. These documents also clearly define Japan’s territory, which by no means includes Diaoyu Dao. Japan’s attempted occupation of Diaoyu Dao, in essence, constitutes a challenge to the post-war international order established by such legal documents as the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation and seriously violates the obligations Japan should undertake according to international law.
Diaoyu Dao was not placed under the trusteeship established by the Treaty of San Francisco, which was signed between the United States and other countries with Japan and is partial in nature. The United States arbitrarily expanded the scope of trusteeship to include Diaoyu Dao, which is China’s territory, and later “returned” the “power of administration” over Diaoyu Dao to Japan. This has no legal basis and is totally invalid according to international law. The government and people of China have always explicitly opposed such illegal acts of the United States and Japan.
V. China has Taken Resolute Measures to Safeguard its Sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao
China has, over the past years, taken resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao.
China has, through the diplomatic channel, strongly protested against and condemned the backroom deals between the United States and Japan over Diaoyu Dao. On August 15, 1951, before the San Francisco Conference, the Chinese government made a statement: “If the People’s Republic of China is excluded from the preparation, formulation and signing of the peace treaty with Japan, it will, no matter what its content and outcome are, be regarded as illegal and therefore invalid by the central people’s government.” On September 18, 1951, the Chinese government issued another statement stressing that the Treaty of San Francisco is illegal and invalid and can under no circumstances be recognized. In 1971, responding to the ratifications of the Okinawa Reversion Agreement by the US Congress and Japanese Diet, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a stern statement which pointed out that the Diaoyu Dao Islands have been an indivisible part of the Chinese territory since ancient times.
In response to Japan’s illegal violation of China’s sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao, the Chinese government has taken active and forceful measures such as issuing diplomatic statements, making serious representations with Japan and submitting notes of protest to the United Nations, solemnly stating China’s consistent proposition, principle and position, firmly upholding China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and earnestly protecting the safety of life and property of Chinese citizens.
China has enacted domestic laws, which clearly provide that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China. In 1958, the Chinese government released a statement on the territorial sea, announcing that Taiwan and its adjacent islands belong to China. In light of Japan’s repeated violations of China’s sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao since the 1970s, China adopted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone in 1992, which unequivocally prescribes that “Taiwan and the various affiliated islands including Diaoyu Dao” belong to China. The 2009 Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Offshore Islands establishes the protection, development and management system of offshore islands and prescribes the determination and announcement of the names of offshore islands, on the basis of which China announced the standard names of Diaoyu Dao and some of its affiliated islands in March 2012. On September 10, 2012, the Chinese government issued a statement announcing the baselines of the territorial sea of Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands. On September 13, the Chinese government deposited the coordinates table and chart of the base points and baselines of the territorial sea of Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
China has maintained routine presence and exercised jurisdiction in the waters of Diaoyu Dao. China’s marine surveillance vessels have been carrying out law enforcement patrol missions in the waters of Diaoyu Dao, and fishery administration law enforcement vessels have been conducting regular law enforcement patrols and fishery protection missions to uphold normal fishing order in the waters of Diaoyu Dao. China has also exercised administration over Diaoyu Dao and the adjacent waters by releasing weather forecasts and through oceanographic monitoring and forecasting.
Over the years, the issue of Diaoyu Dao has attracted attention from Hong Kong and Macao compatriots, Taiwan compatriots and overseas Chinese. Diaoyu Dao has been an inherent territory of China since ancient times. This is the common position of the entire Chinese nation. The Chinese nation has the strong resolve to uphold state sovereignty and territorial integrity. The compatriots across the Taiwan Straits stand firmly together on matters of principle to the nation and in the efforts to uphold national interests and dignity. The compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and the overseas Chinese have all carried out various forms of activities to safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao, strongly expressing the just position of the Chinese nation, and displaying to the rest of the world that the peace-loving Chinese nation has the determination and the will to uphold China’s state sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Diaoyu Dao has been an inherent territory of China since ancient times, and China has indisputable sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao. As China and Japan were normalizing relations and concluding the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in the 1970s, the then leaders of the two countries, acting in the larger interest of China-Japan relations, reached important understanding and consensus on “leaving the issue of Diaoyu Dao to be resolved later.” But in recent years, Japan has repeatedly taken unilateral measures concerning Diaoyu Dao and conducted in particular the so-called “nationalization” of Diaoyu Dao. This severely infringed upon China’s sovereignty and ran counter to the understanding and consensus reached between the older generation of leaders of the two countries. It has not only seriously damaged China-Japan relations, but also rejected and challenged the outcomes of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.
China strongly urges Japan to respect history and international law and immediately stop all actions that undermine China’s territorial sovereignty. The Chinese government has the unshakable resolve and will to uphold the nation’s territorial sovereignty. It has the confidence and ability to safeguard China’s state sovereignty and territorial integrity.