Lingering Territorial Dispute and Taiwan-Japan-US-China Relations.
Author：Chengyi Lin, research fellow
Origin of Topic
After World War II, civil war with the Chinese Communists (1945–1949), retreat of the Republic of China (ROC) central government to the island of Taiwan, President Chiang Kaishek’s dream of recovering the Chinese Mainland and maintaining its seat in the United Nations and sufficient number of diplomatic recognitions had always topped priorities in its national security. The ROC territorial disputes with Japan and other Southeast Asian claimants in the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea or Nansha/Spratly Islands in the South China Sea were hardly perceived as a national survival in face of continuous People’s Republic of China (PRC) military threat against Taiwan. Through practices and historical documents, one could find that the ROC, not the PRC, is the one that tackled the disputed islands both with Japan and other ASEAN claimants at the first instance while suffering diplomatic entanglement from the PRC in the 1970s.
The ROC government, attempting to solicit support from overseas Chinese to demonstrate that it is the legitimate Chinese representative government, fought a three-front political battle
vis-à-vis Japan, the US, and the PRC on the Diaoyutai dispute. The PRC, neither Japan nor the US, was the major source of Taiwan’s national security threat. In 1970–1972, following the
emergence of the Diaoyutai dispute is President Nixon’s détente policy and his historical trip to China known as “the week that changed the world.” For a county on brink of being derecognized
by Japan and the US, Taiwan was able to persuade the US to maintain a neutral position regarding the final status of the Diaoyutai Islands, a considerable diplomatic achievement. With the Kuomintang (KMT), the Chinese Nationalist Party, returning to power in May 2008, the possibility of cross-Strait cooperation on the dispute to counter Japanese claim looms larger in changing three claimants’ posture into a game of two against one.(......more)
(This article was reproduced from : Lin, Cheng-Yi (2012). Lingering Territorial Dispute and Taiwan-Japan-US-China Relations. Asian Studies, 58, 4: 25-36.)