China redraws Senkakus map to get U.N. attention

The hottest seller in bookstores in Asia is a map; a map of the disputed Senkaku Islands in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture.

The map of the Senkaku Islands is a modified version of what the islands are, and where they are, as redefined by China this month.  The new map shows a satellite image of a kidney-shape main island with little splotches of green, and then has a list of 70 affiliated “islands” that in actuality are just half-submerged rocks in the East China Sea.

Beijing has produced the new map to keep public attention focused on the islands Japan purchased from a private owner a month ago, but which China insists actually belong to the Chinese under the name Diaoyu.  Complicating the map, at least from a Japanese perspective for now, is that the new Chinese map has new territorial markers, or baselines, around the islands.  The map has been submitted to the United Nations as part of China’s claim it’s the rightful owner of the tiny uninhabited islets now administered by Ishigaki City in Okinawa Prefecture.

By submitting he baselines to the United Nations, China is making firm its declaration that it has the rights to the islands, to the waters, the fish in them, and the oil, gas and other minerals that may lie beneath them.  Until now, China has worked together with Japan to jointly process the resources through negotiation.  The dispute is putting on trial the relationship between China and Japan, the largest economic relationship in Asia as represented by the second and third largest economies in the world.