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August 8, 2014

Chinese and Japanese conflict

China, Taiwan and Japan claim ownership of the uninhabited Senkaku islands. These islands have been controlled by Japan since 1895 except between 1945 and 1972 when the United States administered the islands. The islands are close to key shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and may have significant oil reserves. The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan was signed in 1952 and it would require the United States to come to the aid of Japan if that country defended the island from takeover by China.

In the 1970's when Mao Zedong was negotiating a trade treaty with Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon a sticking point was control of Taiwan. This disagreement was resolved by Mao saying that he would allow the island to be kept under the wing of the United States initially because the United States was in a better position to protect it for the time being. When China was ready, fifty to hundred years from then, China would request the United States to return it.

China has a long history and long memories. The Chinese are a patient people including their leaders. They remember well the "century of humiliation" dating from the mid-19th century and ending after World War II in the mid 1940's. They have already taken back Hong Kong from the British. Much of China's humiliation came at the hands of Japan. The First Si-no-Japanese War, the Twenty-One Demands by Japan in the early 20th century, and the Second Si-no-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945. They certainly remember the Rape of Nanking.

In 1937 the Japanese invaded the Chinese capital, then the city of Nanking, and during a period of eight
weeks raped over 20,000 Chinese women. More Chinese died in Nanking than the combined total of those that died from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Per Iris Chang**, author of  Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, over 300 thousand Chinese died in eight weeks which is more than the combined civilian deaths in England, France and Belgium during the entirety of World War II. The above link and image to the left will take you to the URL where the C-Span series Booknotes interviews Ms. Chang.

Decapitated heads of  Chinese  citizens
 during the "Rape of Nanking"
The Chinese are a proud people with their history going back before the birth of Christ. It has been less than 80 years since the atrocities inflicted on their citizens by the Japanese as described above. Last year China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone over wide swaths of the East China Sea to include the above uninhabited islands. 

Don't expect China to surrender these islands to Japan without receiving some reparations from Japan. Also, Japan should not expect the United States to come to their military aide if there is no peaceful resolution.


** "Iris Chang appeared on Booknotes in 1997 to discuss her book, "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II."  The book documents the atrocities visited upon the people of Nanking, China, by the Japanese military during the early years of World War II. Ms. Chang describes Nanking as a laboratory in which Japanese soldiers were taught to slaughter unarmed civilians - tactics which were later used throughout Asia. She argues that the Japanese government should pay reparations and apologize for its actions. 

Ms. Chang committed suicide on November 9, 2004, at the age of 36.", Booknotes       

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