Reblog of Patrick Boehler’s blog at SCMP on May 15, 2013
A hawkish Chinese general has possibly opened a Pandora’s box on territorial disputes in East Asia by saying that the Ryukyu Islands including Okinawa do not belong to Japan.
Luo Yuan, a People’s Liberation Army two-star general, has said that Japan could not rightfully claim sovereignty over the islands, because they had started paying tribute to China half a millenium before they had done so to Japan.
The islands had started paying tribute to China in 1372, the general said in an interview with China News Service on Tuesday. Only in 1872, 500 years later, did Japan exploit China’s weakness to force the Ryukuyu Islands into submission, he said.
Okinawa, the chain’s largest island, hosts several US military bases. The islands were controlled by the United States under a UN mandate until 1972, when they were handed over to…
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