In response to John J. Tkacik Jr.’s claim that “the Senkakus have been Japanese for more than 130 years,” (“China tests U.S.-Japan alliance,” Opinion, Oct. 6) I would like to set the record straight in two respects.
First, the the Diaoyutai Islets - or the Senkaku Islands as the Japanese call them - have been historically part of Taiwan, with Taiwanese fishermen and Chinese officials and people using them since the 15th century. Even during Japanese colonial rule of Taiwan, which was annexed by Japan after the first Sino-Japanese war in 1895, Japanese cartographers included the Diaoyutai Islets as part of Taiwan. Just after World War II, Japan agreed to return Taiwan, including the Diaoyutai Islets, to the Republic of China. The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty confirmed this in April of 1952.
Second, the U.S. government has never recognized this group of islets as Japan’s sovereign territory; it simply transferred administrative rights of the Diaoyutai Islets along with the Ryukyu Islands to Japan in 1972. However, prior to the transfer on June 11, 1971, the Taiwan government resolutely declared that it could not accept this action, nor would this transfer affect Taiwan’s sovereignty over the islets.
FRANK YEE WANG
Director, Press Division
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States