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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2555

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Which States are understood to have made unilateral declarations of sovereignty over (a) the Spratly Islands and (b) the Paracel Islands io which Japan renounced all right, title and claim in the Peace Treaty of 8th September 1951 (Hansard, 15th September 1971, page 1396, question No. 3670 and page 1398, question No. 4060).

(2)   Which is the southernmost of the Kurile Islands to which Japan renounced all right, title and claim in the Peace Treaty (question No. 3670(3) ).

(3)   Which of the islands mentioned in article 3 of the Peace Treaty and in the Okinawa Reversion Agreement of 17th June 1971 are claimed by the governments in Peking and Taipei (question No. 3670(4) ).

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

(1)   The Governments which are believed to be or to have been claimants of sovereignty are: (a) Spratly Islands: People's Republic of China, Republic of China, France, Philippines,

United Kingdom and Republic of VietNam.

(b)   Paracel Islands: People's Republic of China, Republic of China and Republic of Viet-Nam.

In providing this information, the Government takes no stand on the merits of or the current position in respect of any of the above claims.

(2)   The individual islands in the Kurile chain to which Japan renounced all right, title and claim are not specified in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. There is a dispute between the USSR and Japan as to which islands constitute the Kurile chain. The Soviet Union is understood to have interpreted 'Kurile Islands' as including Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomais, the last being the most southerly. It has occupied all these islands. Japan claims Kunashiri and Etorofu as being the Southern Kuriles and historically and legally Japanese, and Shikotan and the Habomais to be part of Hokkaido, and hence all excluded from the scope of the San Francisco Treaty. Japan would accordingly regard the island of Urup as being the southernmost of the islands to which it renounced all right, title and claim.

(3)   The Senkaku Islands are claimed by the Governments of the People's Republic of China and of the Republic of China. These islands have been administered by the United States under Article 3 of the Peace Treaty as part of the Ryukyu group and are included within the geographical area which the United States has agreed to return to Japan under the terms of the Japan/United States Agreement concerning the Ryukyu and Daito Islands of 17th June 1971.

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