Kimie HARA: Micronesia .. “An American Lake”

Roundup: Talking About History

The post-war Asia-Pacific witnessed many conflicts involving major regional players. These include the divided Korean Peninsula, the Cross-Taiwan Strait problem, and the sovereignty disputes over the Southern Kuriles/“Northern Territories”, and the Tokdo/Takeshima, Diaoyu/Senkaku, and Spratly/Nansha islands. These and others, such as the ongoing Okinawa problem, emblematic of the large US military presence in the region, and the US-imposed outcomes in Micronesia, all share an important common foundation in the post-war disposition of Japan, notably the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. Prepared and signed by multiple countries under US initiative, this treaty largely framed the post-war political and security order in the region, and with its associated security arrangements, laid the foundation for the regional Cold War structure, namely the “San Francisco System”.

My recent book, Cold War Frontiers in the Asia-Pacific, from which the present article draws, examines the history and contemporary implications of the “San Francisco System” with particular attention to frontier and unresolved territorial problems that are among its important legacies. Drawing on extensive archival research as well as contemporary documentary analysis, it uncovers key links between regional problems in the Asia-Pacific and their underlying association with Japan, and explores clues for their resolution within the multilateral context in which they originated. The work’s contents illustrate its range and scope.

Introduction: Rethinking the "Cold War" in the Asia-Pacific. (1) Korea: The Divided Peninsula and the Tokdo/Takeshima Dispute. (2) Formosa: The Cross-Taiwan Strait Problem. (3) The Kurile Islands: The "Northern Territories" Dispute. (4) Micronesia: "An American Lake". (5) Antarctica. (6) The Spratlys and the Paracels: The South China Sea Dispute. (7) The Ryukyus: Okinawa and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dispute. Conclusion


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