Since the coming into force of the United Nations Law of the Sea, states have been targeting outlying islands to expand their exclusive economic zones, simultaneously stirring up strident nationalism when such plans clash with those of neighbouring states. No such actions have brought the world closer to the brink of war than the ongoing face-off between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, an uninhabited archipelago in the East China Sea.

In this timely and original book, Godfrey Baldacchino provides a detailed exploration of seven tried and tested solution protocols that have led to innovative 'win-win' solutions to island disputes over the last four centuries. A closer look at the circumstances and processes that brought contending regional powers to an honourable, even mutually advantageous, settlement over islands provides a convincing and original argument as to why the conflict over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands need not conclude in a ‘zero-sum’ or 'winner takes all' solution, as is the likely outcome of both open conflict and international arbitration. 

The book will be of interest to scholars and practitioners concerned with the festering Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute, as well as students, scholars and policy specialists in geography, geopolitics, international relations, conflict studies, island studies, Asian studies and history.

chapter |6 pages


ByMari Katayanagi

chapter 1|11 pages


chapter 2|8 pages


Churn in the Asia-Pacific

chapter 4|7 pages

The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands saga

chapter 5|11 pages

Worth nothing, yet worth everything

Why countries (may) go to war over small islands

chapter 6|7 pages

A genealogy of creative governance

chapter 7|12 pages


chapter 8|12 pages


chapter 9|8 pages

Suppressing (or suspending) sovereignty

chapter 10|22 pages

Single sovereignty but shared jurisdiction

chapter 12|6 pages

Swapping and selling

chapter 13|4 pages

Status quo (or stalemate or standstill)

chapter 14|16 pages


chapter 15|4 pages


chapter |11 pages

Epilogue I

The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute and future development of Sino-Japanese relations
ByLiu Jiangyong

chapter |5 pages

Epilogue II

Proposing solutions to the Senkaku/Diaoyu affair
ByAkihiro Iwashita