It’s not about the oil

China’s claim to the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands is compelling, according to our latest poll, but what’s so important about them?

It’s not about the oil

China’s dispute with Japan over a bunch of rocks in the East China Sea is a perplexing one.

The tiny islands at the centre of the furore are neighboured by Taiwan to the southwest, China to the north and Okinawa to the east. The biggest island by far is three kilometres long and barely a kilometre wide. It is often reported that the islands and their surrounding waters provide access to vast reserves of oil...

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