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Senkaku Islands

zh-cn:钓鱼岛 zh-tw:釣魚島

The islands known as the Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島; -Shoto) in Japanese and Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台列嶼 Pinyin: Dioyti Lidǎo) in Chinese are disputed islands currently controlled by Japan but claimed by the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China.

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 Political Dispute
3 History
4 External links


The group is made up of five small volcanic islands, including: They are considered part of the Southwest Islands in Japan.

Political Dispute

They are administered by Japan as part of Okinawa prefecture, but claimed by the Republic of China as part of Daxi Village (大溪里), Toucheng Township (頭城鎮), Yilan County. They are 170 km north of Ishigaki Islands, Japan, 170 km northeast of Keelung, Taiwan and 410 km west of Okinawa Mainland. The islands sit on the edge of the continental shelf, and are separated from the Ryukyu islands by a deep sea trench.

The Republic of China and the People's Republic of China claimed that they discovered the islands in 1372. The Chinese also believe that because the islands were part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, they should have been returned after the Second World War, under provisions of the 1943 Cairo Declaration, 1945 Potsdam Proclamation, and Article 2 of the San Francisco Treaty.

Japan claimed that it discovered the islands in 1895, and that they were not transferred under the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Japan's history of controlling the islands from their discovery until the Second World War is not disputed. But the method and legitimacy of control is disputed.

In 1988, the Japan Youth Association set up a lighthouse on the main island. On July 14, 1996 they built a 5-m high, solar-powered, aluminum lighthouse on another islet. A Hong Kong protestor drowned on September 26. On October 7, protestors placed the flags of the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China on the main island, but they were later removed by the Japanese.


The Senkaku Islands were first documented during the Ming Dynasty, by royal visitors from Ming China to the Ryukyu Kingdom at the current Okinawa prefecture of Japan. The documentation mentions, "When crossing the sea, we can saw black [ocean] current underneath. The guide said, after passing this black current, they will leave the boundary of China. At this stage, we can see a series of islands that cannot be seen in the return trip."

During the Qing Dynasty, when the ex-Ming Dynasty general Zheng Jing (鄭經) was defeated, Taiwan and its surrounding islands became under the control of the Qing. The islands were not developed and were used only as a landmark for the trip to Ryukyu kingdoms. During the Cixi era, the islands were presented as a gift to a mandarin "for the purpose of collecting herbs on the islands."

After the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese started to explore the sea around them and discovered the islands. It is claimed however they did not notice the islands were previously claimed by Qing China.

It was not until Taiwan and the islands around was ceased to Japanese, that the dispute between China and Japan surfaced. It was later ruled by the court in Tokyo that "the islands mentioned shall be ruled by the government of North Taiwan Prefecture".

External links