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US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty Has No Legal Authority to Cover Diaoyutai Islands

icon2014/05/02
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 A Commentary 

 
US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty Has No Legal Authority to Cover Diaoyutai Islands
 
Hsieh Chih-chuan
Assistant Research Fellow
National Policy Foundation
 
Source: China Times
 
April 30, 2014
 
In an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun before departing on a state visit to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, US President Barack Obama said that the scope of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan covered the Diaoyutai Islands (Pinnacle Islands).  This is not only the first time that President Obama has stated that Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan includes the Diaoyutai Islands, but he is also the first US President to ever make such a statement.  Such a brazen statement is an attempt to lure Japan into a confrontation with 【Mainland】China and also shows how arrogant and egoistic the US is.  
 
The Diaoyutai Islands were marked on maps as territory of China since the period of Jiajing Emperor (1507-1567) of the Ming Dynasty.  The Diaoyutai Islands remained territory of China until the First Sino-Japanese War (甲午戰爭1894-1895).  The Japanese Cabinet annexed the Diaoyutai Islands secretly without any declaration in January 1895, three months before the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, in an act analogous to a theft.
 
President Obama’s statement is in clear violation of the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation, and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.  The Cairo Declaration stipulates that after the end of WWII Japan must return all territories stolen from China to the Republic of China.  The Potsdam Proclamation also stipulates that Japan’s territory shall be restricted to Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, and that the Cairo declaration must be carried out in full.  This was the first mistake the US committed.
 
When the US turned over Ryukyu to Japan in 1972, it also turned over the administrative control of the Diaoyutais to Japan.  Although the US had strategic considerations at the time, the US, in a diplomatic note in response to a solemn protest issued by the government of the Republic of China (ROC), stated that it took no position on the sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, but only turned over the administrative control of the Diaoyutai Islands to Japan.  This was the second mistake the US committed.
 
Now President Obama has attempted to curry favor with Japan by announcing that the scope of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan covered the Diaoyutai Islands.  How can the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan extend to the Diaoyutai Islands if the US takes no position on the issue of Diaoyutai sovereignty and Japan only possesses administrative control over the islands?  The US clearly chose sides on the dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands.  This is the third mistake the US has committed.
 
Japan has always prepared to defend the Diaoyutai Islands by military means and conducts military exercises to simulate retaking control over the Diaoyutai Islands.  Japan also purchases military equipment for its marines and strengthens the military preparedness of its Maritime and Air Self-Defense Force.  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has been doing his utmost to return Japan to its status as a “normal state,” i.e., revise its peace constitution, and wants to lift Japan’s restrictions on exports of weapons, which has led to concerns about a return of Japan’s militarism.  Japan has still not made formal apologies to the Asian countries it invaded and occupied during WWII.   With US support, Japan is slowly moving toward the status of a normal state, heightening tensions in East Asia and the rest of Asia as well. 
 
The US publicly declared a “Pivot to Asia” policy, but also made a statement vis-à-vis the Diaoyutai Islands which was in violation of international justice and international law.  How can the US called itself the paradigm of democracy in the world?  After WWII, the US was one of the Allied Powers which sent Japan’s A-class war criminals to the gallows to be hanged.  However, now the US does whatever it thinks will promote its own national interests, so it is no wonder that the US’s favorable impression in other countries has been declining year by year.  The US has no authority to extend the scope of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan to cover the Diaoyutai Islands in terms of the history or international law.  The US will have to take the blame if any military confrontation takes place in East Asia, destroying the peace and stability in the region.    
 

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