September 5, 2012
“Why Asia is Arguing Over its Islands”
This article first gives a background to the Asian countries and then tells us that they are having disputes and troubles over the Kurils, Dokdo/Takeshima, Senkaku/Diaoyu/Tioyu islands and the four major island groups of the South China Sea. Most of the countries have not been able to assert their ownership militarily over the islands prior to the past years partly because of imperialism. Another problem is that there aren’t any truly formal agreements as to whose island is whose. In addition, China is causing problems by taking over Vietnam’s island for example, and doing other things to put itself ahead of the game.
This article relates to what we learned today in class about treaties and imperialism in Africa. First of all, the Asian countries of China, Japan, and Korea (to name a few) are, as the title suggests, arguing over their islands. In today’s lesson, the European countries weren’t arguing over their African territories, but rather agreeing to respect each other’s African territories. The thing they avoided was that if one country were to expand, they would have to take from another since all was already taken. In the article, it mentions that tensions between neighboring countries are heightening due to increase in military arms. This is similar to the reason why European countries felt the need to form alliances, whether they be formal or secret. Germany for example, wanted to form alliances with others (even if they contradicted already standing treaties) so that it could benefit them militarily or economically. Just like Germany, China is trying to get ahead of the other countries. There is a lot of evidence proving that China is limiting trade and deliberately breaking agreements to get a lead, just like Germany did.
10:36 AM ET
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Why Asia is arguing over its islands
By Christian Le Mière, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Christian Le Mière is a research fellow for naval forces and maritime security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The views expressed are his own.
It still amazes me how much media interest there currently is in the various maritime disputes of Asia. Five years ago, to find information on these then-obscure disagreements over tiny pieces of land required diligence and patience. Now, and in particular since the much-vaunted U.S. pivot to Asia, every week seems to bring new stories about these islands.
It is therefore worth our taking a step back and asking how we got here. What have been the drivers for the maritime disputes over the past five years, do they share any similarities, and why, when these disputes have existed for decades, have they become so tense now?
First, a reminder of the context. The islands in dispute are the Kurils (claimed by Japan and Russia); the Dokdo/Takeshima islands (South Korea and Japan); the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Tiaoyu islands (China, Taiwan and Japan); and the four major island groups of the South China Sea (in whole or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam). Other island disputes exist in East Asia (such as the Northern Limit Line between the Korea), but these four