This month Japan bought the islands, prompting large-scale protests in China. Japan has been in control since 1972 anyway. But there might be a lot of oil reserves.
The dispute was caused by the territorial claims of Japan and China. The islands are within the boundaries of both countries, because they are close to Chinese coast as well as the Japanese one. Japanese boats have been on patrol to prevent Chinese fishing boats from visiting.
It is strange that China makes a fuss of the islands. They never really seem to have cared about them; Japanese boats have been on patrol long before this dispute. What would China want to do with those islands? The oil that can be found there might be of some use, but it can’t be as important as China makes it seem. And the financial argument of China can’t possibly be better than the cultural argument of Japan. It became clear that a financial argument was possible in 1971, so why protest against the Japanese claim now? China hasn’t been able to use those oil (and gas) reserves for 40 years, it can’t be that important if you ignore those reserves for so long.
This doesn’t make Japan good though. They tell the world that China only wants those islands for the money, but isn’t it a strange coincidence that Japan is in control of the Senkaku Islands since 1972, one year after the oil discovery? And why do they want to be the official owner of the islands, when they have been in control for so long? An answer for that is the money they’ll get from the oil reserves.
Is the dispute only about oil? There is also an important military shipping lane and it offers fishing grounds. But does China need the fishing grounds or the oil? Probably not. They can’t need the strategic shipping lanes either, as if they would fear Japan more if it ‘officially’ owns these islands.
For China it is important to create an enemy. It is better for the harmony among people when they all have the same enemy; Japan. If China encourages protests, everyone in China will become mad at Japan. Normally if people protest in China, people are beaten and sent to jail. In the anti-Japan protests, no one is hurt. China is supporting the protests, if not organising them.
In front of a camera a Chinese civilian said: “They are stealing our land. War is the only solution”. If all civilians would be as easily manipulated as she is, war will be the only way to relieve their anger. What if Japan is not the chosen enemy but Europe or the United States? How easy would it be for China to start a war, to convince their people they’re right?
Is war the solution to this dispute?