US base in Okinawa, via AsiaNewsNet
In a huge rhetorical shift, the People’s Daily has lightened up on its anti-Japanese territorial proclamations about islands in the East China Sea, in favor of anti-Japanese territorial proclamations about islands slightly further north in the East China Sea. China should apparently “reconsider” Japan’s sovereignty of Okinawa and the Ryukyu island chain, according to a lenghty People’s Daily article, because it totally wouldn’t be a big deal to kick out more than 1 million Japanese citizens and thousands of American troops.
According to Bloomberg and South China Morning Post, this blatant antagonism is likely just another chapter in the Diaoyu conflict. Bloomberg reports:
A move to reconsider ownership of the Ryukyus would add to strains as China and Japan assert their claims over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.[…]
“The fact that this view is carried by the People’s Daily signals that Beijing may be upping the ante,” Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, wrote in an e-mail. “This is psychological warfare and a classic Chinese negotiation tactic — trying to intimidate the opponent by raising the stakes.”
The island is home to 1.3 million Japanese citizens and an exorbitant number of American Marines; in other words, any Chinese action near the island would be a tremendous step-up from buzzing the uninhabited Diaoyus. It would also be an international clusterfuck beyond any reasonable proportion, so let’s just all assume/hope that this People’s Daily article won’t amount to much.