The two largest economies in the Asia-Pacific region are bashing one another over a small archipelago in the South China Sea. Japan claims it owns the group of islands it calls the Senkaku Islands. China claims it owns the same group of islands it calls the Diaoyu Islands. So contested are the islands that some are suggesting the conflict between China and Japan could erupt into war, with the US caught in the middle.
Washington has taken the official stance of not taking a stance on the dispute, trying its best to stay out of the conflict. But the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty between the US and Japan suggests ownership of the islands belongs to the Japanese, and is backed by another treaty, the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
But another treaty, this one in 1943, between the US and the Republic of China, states that, "Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific" that it seized, occupied, or stole since 1914, and that they will be returned to China – including, according to China, the Diaoyu Islands.
Wow, late on the uptake I read this before going to bed. The U.S. said it will stand by it's treaty obligations to defend Japan. So here we have yet another reason that a World War could erupt. Ironic, last time the Japs dragged us into the fire with them. This time we could wind up in World War 3, once more because of them - only defendin' them. By the way Politix you neglected to mention that this started because Japan purchased three privately held Senkaku island. So in my opinion China can stfu 'cause they could've outbid Japan if they really wanted to.
The whole conflict is stupid. It's not about the islands themselves, it's about the oil and gas rights to the surrounding sub-oceanic shale. Something like 5 countries claim it. Wouldn't it consume less time, resources, and money to just work out an agreement to share the development rights?
This is the kind of dispute the UN should be able to resolve if it were not hopelessly dysfunctional.
Then China or Japan should say to the other "OK, you can have the islands on one condition, we get all the oil and gas rights to the surrounding sub-oceanic shale." When the other side protests this offer it reveals that the whole fight is over fossil fuels and not the islands.
Washington has taken the official stance of not taking a stance on the dispute and we need to maintain that stance. If they want, we can act as an Independent Arbitrator. But that needs to be the extent of our involvement.
I just wonder who brought this into the light during an United States election year? Couldn't have come up the year before or the year after, just had to happen this year. I would not be surprised if someone wasn't stoking this fire.
I am for the U.S. staying out of it as long as China does not attempt to invade or destroy mainland Japan. While at the same time admonishing Japan if they attempt that with China. That is of course should they resort to combat!
Japan will not attack China with their defense only, civilian/military. However, if China attacks, we have an obligation to defend Japan. The numerous U.S. Marines and Sailors stationed in Japan and Okinawa are not only there for strategic purposes.