The report clearly states: “During Senate deliberations on whether to consent to the ratification of the Okinawa Reversion Treaty, the State Department asserted that the United States took a neutral position with regard to the competing claims of Japan, China, and Taiwan, despite the return of the islands to Japanese administration….”
When asked by the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee how the Okinawa Reversion Treaty would affect the determination of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai), former Secretary of State William Rogers answered that “…this treaty does not affect the legal status of those islands at all.”
The report quotes Acting Assistant Legal Adviser Robert Starr’s words: “The United States cannot add to the legal rights Japan possessed before it transferred administration of the islands to us, nor can the United States, by giving back what it received, diminish the rights of other claimants.”
It clearly means that what the US returned to Japan was only the rights of administration, instead of the sovereignty over those islands.
Perhaps because of that report, the Japanese Foreign Minister, Koichiro Gemba, has changed his wording in referring to the dispute over the sovereignty of those islands.
SCMP says in its report today that he “issued a statement through Japan’s de facto mission in Taipei on Friday, calling for calm over “pending issues” between the two sides, although he stopped short of mentioning the disputed Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands by name.”
He seemed to mean that Japan is not so firm about its sovereignty now, and seems to admit the sovereignty over the islands is one of the “pending issues” to be resolved later.
According to SCMP, “the Japan Coast Guard reported that eight mainland (Chinese) patrol boats were seen yesterday in what Tokyo considers its territorial waters near the islands, Kyodo News said.”
China has been patrolling the waters for 20 days since Japan’s nationalisation of the islands, but Japan still refrained from driving Chinese vessels away. It seems Japan has got used to the Chinese patrol, and is willing to maintain the status quo.
Tension between China and Japan is hopefully eased by the report.
- Obvious signs of eased tension between China and Japan (chinadailymail.com)
- U.S. return of Senkakus to Japan in ’72 upset China, Taiwan (chinadailymail.com)
- CIA reported in 1970s that China had no claim to Senkakus (japandailypress.com)