Is there going to be a war over the Tiaoyu Islands, which the Japanese call the Senkakus? According to a joint poll conducted by Taiwan’s Want Want China Times Public Opinion Survey Center and China’s “Global Times (環球時報),” a little over half of the people on the Chinese mainland believe Beijing would resort to force of arms to protect its sovereignty over what is known as the Diaoyutai group of eight small uninhabited islets, only 120 miles northeast of Keelung, Taiwan’s major international seaport in the north. Taiwan, China, and Japan have a sovereignty dispute over the small archipelago.
The chances that there may occur armed conflict are rising as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda declared a nationalization of the land on three of the Senkaku islands which Governor Shintaro Ishihara of Tokyo is raising over 1.3 billion yen or US$18.6 million to purchase for his metropolis and a Chinese tycoon is applying to Beijing for developing a leisure resort on the disputed islets. Tong Zeng, chairman of the Zhong Xiang Investment Corporation and president of the Chinese People’s League for the Protection of the Diaoyu Islands, has filed applications with Beijing’s National Oceanic Bureau to lease the same islets for the development of the resort and is ready to send a survey team, probably almost at the same time an Ishihara mission will be visiting the islands next month. As part of his development project, Tong is applying to open a cruise route from Amoy in Fujian or Zhoushan in Zhejiang to the Diaoyutais.