BEIJING — For many observers, rising friction between China and Japan over a group of remote and uninhabited islands in the East China Sea is worrying enough.
But if some influential Chinese nationalist commentators have their way, the spat over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands — which Beijing calls the Diaoyu — could widen into a dispute over a much more important archipelago.
In a fiery editorial this month, the Global Times newspaper urged Beijing to consider challenging Japan’s control over its southern prefecture of Okinawa, an island chain with a population of 1.4 million people that bristles with U.S. military bases.
“China should not be afraid of engaging with Japan in a mutual undermining of territorial integrity,” the Communist Party-run paper declared.
Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan, head of the strategy research institute at China’s National Defense University, went even further. He told state-run radio that limiting discussion to the Diaoyu was “too narrow,” saying Beijing should question ownership of the whole Ryukyu archipelago, which by some definitions extends beyond Okinawa.
Not. Gonna. Happen. The Japanese consider Okinawa as one of the Home Islands, which is one reason why they fought so viciously there in 1945. China has already ticked the Japanese off with their dispute over the Senkaku Islands, and this will just make things worse. However, China is unlikely to ever do anything about Okinawa militarily, as that would start a war with Japan, and eventually the U.S.. Right now this appears to be just a bit of political posturing for the people on the Chinese part. Not to mention that the movement to get U.S. soldiers off of Okinawa will probably fade because of this.
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