Despite commentary that China and the United States are moving closer together, the opposite is the case. In fact, China is mounting a direct, if subtle, challenge to the international order the United States created in the Far East after World War II. Most are aware that China is attempting to leverage growing military strength into a larger, dominating position by laying claims to islands in the East and South China Seas. Few realize that China is attempting to overturn the legal underpinnings of the US position in the western Pacific.
Like the Chinese proverb “to point at the mulberry tree to curse the locust tree”, Beijing’s challenge to Japan’s sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands is in fact a bid to abolish the entire structure of Far Eastern international relations established by the San Francisco Treaty of September 1951. (The Chinese refer to the Senkakus as Dyiaoyutai, literally a “fishing platform”, but in recent months Beijing has taken to calling Dyiaoyutai the Dyiaoyu Islands to add legal heft to the dispute.) Continue reading