Safeguarding the integrity of national territory has always been the prime concern for all governments in the world. Facing territorial dispute, almost no country shall concede the loss of any piece of land; accordingly, any international territorial dispute must have resulted from a conflict on competing sovereignty positions between rivalry nations. There are three primary causes for such territorial conflicts, including competing claims for sovereignty, struggle for natural resources, and struggle for strategic points, all of which have their roots in a nation’s intrinsic insistence on sovereignty and its resolution for territorial integrity. The dispute of Diaoyutai Islands (Senkaku Islands) is a typical incarnation of neo-realism.
The 21st century is a new epoch for human exploitation of the ocean as well as a critical era for the struggle of ‘blue territory.’ Since the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) came into effect in 1982, many countries have upgraded the defense of maritime interests, consolidation of maritime security, development and utilization of the ocean to the echelon of national strategy. They have adopted measures such as expedition of enactment at home and promotion of collaboration abroad to solidify their effectual control and support sovereignty claims. Ultimately, these measures serve to advance unilateral national interests.
The issue of the Diaoyutai Islands involves national core interests such as independent sovereignty, maritime interests, and territorial integrity. It is imperative for our government to formulate sound policy and strategy to deal with this critical issue and protect our immense interests.
From the perspectives of neo-realism, national power is the ultimate factor in terms of diplomatic intercourse and resolution of disputes; credibility of initiatives in international affairs is ultimately hinged upon comparative advantage in national power. Consequently, for the resolution of the issue of the Diaoyutai Islands, among all likely solutions such as observation of international laws, employment of negotiation skills, and leverage of diplomatic tact and finesse, augmentation of national power is still the prerequisite and takes the highest priority.