US never recognizes Japan's claim over Diaoyu Islands
Updated: 2012-10-10 21:29
BEIJING - A recent document produced by the United States government shows that the US has never recognized Japan's claim of "sovereignty" over the Diaoyu Islands.
The report, "Diaoyu Islands Dispute: US Treaty Obligations," was released on September 25 by the US Congressional Research Service and clarifies the US government stand on the sovereignty issue.
The US government position was also echoed by Henry Kissinger in his latest remarks reported by global media.
During US Senate deliberations in October 1971 on whether to consent to the ratification of the "Okinawa Reversion Treaty," the US State Department asserted that the United States took a neutral position on the competing claims of Japan and China over the islands, "despite the return of the islands to Japanese administration," said the report.
It did not mention that even the so-called return of administration of the islands to Japan ran against principles of the Cairo Declaration of 1943 and the Potsdam Proclamation of 1945.
"Department officials asserted that reversion of administrative rights to Japan did not prejudice any claims to the islands," the report said.
When asked during the "Okinawa Reversion Treaty" hearings in October 1971 how the "treaty" would affect the determination of Diaoyu Islands sovereignty, then US Secretary of State William Rogers said, "This treaty does not affect the legal status of those islands at all," according to the report.
The "Okinawa Reversion Treaty" between the US and Japan, which was signed in 1971 and entered into force in 1972, provided the return to Japan of "the Ryukyu and Daito islands, which the US had held under the Japan Peace Treaty."
The backroom deal, which arbitrarily included the Diaoyu Islands, an inherent part of Chinese territory, was strongly opposed by the Chinese government.
In 1895, the court of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) 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 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."
Both the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, which helped shape the modern international order after World War II, required that territories occupied by Japan, including Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands, be returned to China.
In 1951, the Treaty of Peace with Japan, also known as the Treaty of San Francisco, was signed among Japan, the US and other countries, ironically excluding China, which suffered the heaviest loss during Japan's all-out invasion from 1937 to 1945.
The treaty placed the Ryukyu Islands under the trusteeship of the US, but did not include Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets.
However, in 1953, the US Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands expanded its jurisdiction to the Diaoyu Islands without any form of jurisprudential justification.
The Japanese government unilaterally announced on September 10 this year the "purchase" and "nationalization" of Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands, Nan Xiaodao and Bei Xiaodao.
The Chinese government asked Japan to immediately cease all actions that infringe China's territorial sovereignty, vowing "unshakable resolve" in safeguarding its sovereignty.
The farce of Japan purchasing the islands also aroused public outrage among the Chinese people, which led to nationwide mass protests against Japan's illegal actions.
Kissinger, former US secretary of state and national security advisor, said on October 3 in Washington, D.C. that the US should not take a position on the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands.
Kissinger was quoted by Radio Australia on October 5 as saying it was his "dearest wish" that the issue be resolved by China and Japan. He also noted that late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had reached a consensus with his Japanese counterpart on the Diaoyu Islands issue.
According to Japan's Kyodo News, the "consensus" Kissinger was talking about referred to Deng's proposal to "shelve (territorial) disputes."
China and Japan signed a Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, reflecting this spirit of consensus.