China's top newspaper on Wednesday published a call for a review of Japan's sovereignty over the island of Okinawa -- home to major US bases -- with the Asian powers already embroiled in a territorial row.A little POL-MIL hip-check? That is the happy view.
The lengthy article in the People's Daily, China's most-circulated newspaper and the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party, argued that the country may have rights to the Ryukyu chain, which includes Okinawa.
The island is home to major US Air Force and Marine bases as well as 1.3 million people, who are considered more closely related to Japan in ethnic and linguistic terms than to China.
The authors of the article, two scholars at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, considered China's top state-run think-tank, said the Ryukyus were a "vassal state" of China before Japan annexed the islands in the late 1800s.
"Unresolved problems relating to the Ryukyu Islands have reached the time for reconsideration," wrote Zhang Haipeng and Li Guoqiang, citing post-World War II declarations that required Japan to return Chinese territory.
The unhappy view is that this fits a pattern of China going back in to her history book of grievances - something the Russians need to keep an eye on as well.
Is this case as serious as what is going on in Ladakh? As a side-note, if you want to get a solid historical understanding of what is going on at the Chinese-Indian border - read your Hopkirk.