chapter  5
A Constructive Role for International Law in the Senkaku Islands?
Pages 26

The bubbling dispute between China and Japan over the uninhabited Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea is widely feared as a potential trigger for great power conflict in East Asia.2 The Senkaku dispute-and, in particular, the recurrent and hostile incidents to which it has given rise-should be of concern to all interested in maintaining peace in Asia. It should be of particular importance to policymakers in the United States, which is bound to Japan by a mutual security treaty and has publicly interpreted this commitment to apply to the Senkaku Islands.3 Dealing with the third question raised in the introductory chapter about possible solutions, this chapter proposes one way in which international legal processes might contribute to reducing the intensity and danger of the dispute over the Senkakus, even while leaving the underlying historical and legal claims to sovereignty over the islands unresolved.