NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
30th January, 1902 : Britain and Japan today signed a treaty of alliance. It is essentially an arrangement for the defence of their parallel interests in China and Korea, with each side agreeing to respect the other’s position in the area. In addition, both powers contracted not to make a treaty with third party countries without consultation.
The treaty is seen in Europe as a diplomatic coup. At a time when Britain’s interests are being threatened by other European powers, to have an ally is reassuring.
“China seems intent upon starting a war with Japan and seizing a large patch of ocean in southeast Asia. With respect to the latter, the most complete analysis of the Chinese claim is in a State Department Report No.143 entitled “Maritime Claims in the South China Sea”. What most people don’t realise about the Chinese nine-dash-claim is that it is not so much about gaining area and resources but excluding others. Commercial operators might not be affected and don’t care about filling in forms and asking permission to cross the sea or sky. The Chinese claim, if enforced, would stop any other country’s warships and military aircraft from crossing the South China Sea. Vietnam, which is 1,200 km long, would be restricted to a strip along their coastline that gets as narrow as 92 km. For Malaysia, their operating strip would be as narrow as 44 km…
This is a serious matter. My prediction: China will attack Japan and the United States.”]