There is a dispute between China and Japan about a set of fishing islands in the East China Sea about which country rightly claims the islands.
China and Japan are disputing which country rightly claims a set of fishing islands in the East China Sea.
The islands are known as Senkaku Islands in Japan and Diaoyu Islands in China.
Both countries believe the islands may have valuable natural resources, but neither is sure if these resources are actually on the island.
To make matters more complicated, Chinese fishermen catch a lot of their fish around these islands, making the area a valuable fishing resource.
The question is raised: If no one is sure whether or not there are natural resources on the island, why are China and Japan in a dispute?
“Japan wants these islands for an oil resource, which they really don’t have right now,” said Ellen Pirro, lecturer in political science, “and China needs the waters for their fishing fleets for their population. There is much history and tradition around [the] islands for both countries.”
Dianjun Zhu, senior in finance and president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, believes the appeal is in the resources already available to China.
“Natural resources such as food and oil are very important to China, and China knows there is plenty of oil there,” Zhu said.
Shinichi Kogi, president of the Japanese Association and sophomore in communications studies, feels differently.
“Japan is smaller than China and doesn’t have as many resources already,” Kogi said. “There are also historical documents showing the islands belong to Japan.”
There are concerns that if a war were to break out between China and Japan over the islands and their resources, the conflict would have a negative impact on the global economy.
“War would have many negative effects on both countries,” Pirro said. “Both are huge trading partners, and so wouldn’t do anything to interrupt trade,“
Despite the concerns of war, both Zhu and Kogi believe China and Japan are not interested in going to war.
“China is a peaceful country; they do not want war,” Zhu said. “But any country would protect what is rightfully theirs.”
Kogi is more optimistic.
“It wont go that far,” Kogi said. “Neither side wants to go to war.”
A concern that some may believe will cause a conflict between China and Japan is China’s trend toward a more nationalistic country.
“China might be a threat because of size of population,” Kogi said, “and from what I’ve heard from Chinese exchange students, the government encourages the nationalism.”
Zhu refuted that China’s nationalism would cause war.
“China is peaceful; other countries shouldn’t be worried,” Zhu said. “The Chinese government never wants to go to war.”
The dispute over the islands is still unfolding, although the United States has not taken an official position on the ownership of the area.