The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

China and Ja­pan are locked in a heated dis­pute over the Senkaku Is­lands, a group of un­in­hab­ited islets said to con­tain large un­der­sea re­serves of gas and oil.

Ja­pan has claimed the is­lands since the end of World War II, but China claims them as the Diaoyu.

The dis­pute height­ened a year ago af­ter Tokyo pur­chased sev­eral of the is­lands from pri­vate Ja­panese own­ers in an at­tempt to set­tle the dis­pute. In­stead, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment set off na­tion­al­ist anti-Ja­pan ri­ots.

In Novem­ber, ten­sions in­creased af­ter China de­clared an air de­fense iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zone cov­er­ing the is­lands. Ja­pan, South Korea and the United States said they do not rec­og­nize the Chi­nese zone.

A de­clas­si­fied CIA in­tel­li­gence re­port from May 1971 — “The Senkaku Is­lands Dis­pute: Oil Un­der Trou­bled Waters?” — makes clear that the is­lands are Ja­panese.

The re­port stated that China’s claims to the is­lands date to the Ming dy­nasty as early as 1403. The CIA then said the Senkakus are part of Ja­pan’s Ryuku Is­lands, which have been Ja­panese for cen­turies.

“In con­trast, it is likely that the ear­li­est Ja­panese ref­er­ences to the islets were made some­time in the late 19th Cen­tury,” the re­port said. “Ja­panese in­volve­ment with the Ryukus, how­ever, is dated from around 1166, the year of the first king of Ok­i­nawa, whose fa­ther was a Ja­panese noble­man in ex­ile.”

For­mer State Depart­ment China an­a­lyst John Tkacik said the CIA re­port, de­clas­si­fied in 2007, is a “pretty con­clu­sive as­sess­ment.”

“The Senkakus are, and al­ways were, Ja­panese, and Tai­wan his­tor­i­cal claims were fab­ri­ca­tions,” he said.

Con­tact Bill Gertz at @Bil­lGertz.

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