Inside China: China targets ‘military crimes’

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Japan guards the Senkakus and its nearby waters with utmost seriousness. Tokyo regards the islands as integral to the legitimacy of Japan’s post-World War II existence as arranged by the international community and protected by a strong Japan-U.S. defense alliance.

For Taiwan, the issue is more political than economic. The United States managed the Senkaku islands until 1972, when Washington returned “administrative control” to the Japanese.

Taiwan felt betrayed, but the Richard M. Nixon administration was eyeing larger strategic moves with China and was willing to sacrifice its traditional ally Taiwan. Nixon’s initiative started a trend that landed him in Beijing in 1972 and led Washington to abandon Taipei diplomatically and recognize Beijing.

Thus for the Taiwanese, the adamant stance on the Senkakus contains a strong element of restoring international legitimacy and its pre-1972 status as a globally recognized sovereign state.

Japan’s action was viewed by China as an attempt to warm ties with Taipei while isolating Beijing: The concession on fishing rights was granted to Taiwan but not China.

While Japan’s concession does not identify a clearly designated area where Taiwanese fishing vessels are permitted to operate, it is an important step toward closer Taiwan-Japan relations.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com and @yu_miles.

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