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The U.S. Role in the Sino-Japanese Dispute over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, 1945–1971*


In 1996, the Sino-Japanese conflict over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands intensified to the point where the American mass circulation periodical Time asked: “Will the next Asian war be fought over a few tiny islands?” That such a question could be asked seems incredible given that the Diaoyu Islands, which lie north-east of Taiwan and west of Okinawa, consist of only five small islands and three rocky outcroppings with a total landmass of no more than 7 square kilometres or 3 square miles. Apart from their miniscule size, the islands are uninhabited, are incapable of supporting human habitation for an extended period of time and are unlikely to support any economic life of their own from indigenous resources.

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Lam Peng Er 's analysis of Japan's involvement in the South China Sea dispute, “Japan and the Spratlys dispute: aspirations and limitations,” Asian Survey, Vol. 36, No. 10 (101996) (online)

Eric Heyer , “The South China Sea disputes: implications of China's earlier territorial settlements,” Pacific Affairs, Vol. 68, No. 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 3454

You Ji and You Xu , “In search of blue water power: the PLA Navy's maritime strategy in the 1990s,” The Pacific Review, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1991), pp. 137149

Larry M. Wortzel , “China pursues traditional great-power status,” Orbis, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Spring 1994), pp. 157175

Daniel Tretiak , “The Sino-Japanese Treaty of 1978: the Senkaku incident prelude,” Asian Survey, Vol. 18, No. 12 (121978), pp. 1235–49

Erica Strecker Downs and Phillip C. Saunders , “Legitimacy and the limits of nationalism: China and the Diaoyu Islands,” International Security, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Winter 1998/1999), pp. 127131.

Masato Kimura and David A. Welch , “Specifying ‘interests’: Japan's claim to the northern territories and its implications for international relations theorizing,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 2 (1998), pp. 213244

Thomas Forsberg , “Explaining territorial disputes: from power politics to normative reasons,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 33, No. 4 (1996), pp. 433449

Paul K. Huth , Standing Your Ground: Territorial Disputes and International Conflict (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996)

Avery Goldstein , “Great expectations: interpreting China's arrival,” International Security, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Winter 1997/1998), pp. 3673

Aaron L. Friedberg , “Ripe for rivalry: prospects for peace in a multipolar Asia,” International Security, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Winter 1993/1994), pp. 533.

Norrin M. Ripsman and Jean-Marc F. Blanchard , “Commercial liberalism under fire: evidence from 1914 and 1936,” Security Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Winter 1996/1997), pp. 450

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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
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