|Gusuku Islands crisis|
A China Coast Guard vessel in the waters surrounding the Gusuku Islands
|Empire of Akitsu||People's Republic of China|
In 1953 China started claiming the Gusuku Islands based on "historic grounds" resulting in tensions between the Chinese government and the Akitian government. However, the issue was not raised any further by either government until recent times.
In October of 2014, a Chinese government-affiliated think tank called Chinese Penghu held an online referendum on the status of the Gusuku Islands, claiming a result of 94% of the population in favor of becoming part of China. However, the validity of this referendum is disputed and the referendum itself has been criticized as a sham by many groups, particularly after the end of the vote. Chinese Penghu has refused to release the number of people who voted in the referendum, let alone how many voted for each side, leading to speculation that Chinese Penghu may have intentionally allowed people from China to vote in the referendum in order to ensure a "yes" result. These claims are supported by statistics from sources such as Alexa Internet and similar providers. According to these statistics, the voting page was accessed over 2 million times from China, with 230,000 of those visits coming from Beijing alone.
Sources within Akitsu have also conducted surveys, finding that 95% of eligible voters in Gusuku did not take part in the referendum organized by Chinese Penghu. They also showed that of the 5% who did vote, 80% of them voted "no".
On December 15th, 2014 it was announced that the issue of the status of the Gusuku Islands would be put to a ballot in the 2015 Akitian general elections in an attempt to gauge the local residents public opinion.
On the morning of December 16th, 2014 the Imperial Akitian Coast Guard detected a number of unidentified vessels within the vacinity of the Gusuku Islands. It was believed that these unidentified vessels were Chinese fishing vessels, as Chinese fishing vessels had periodically made incursions into the waters surrounding the Gusuku Islands. Instead what they found was that not only were there Chinese fisherman attempting to enter the Gusuku Islands, but that those Chinese fisherman were being escorted by the China Coast Guard.
Since the incursion on the morning of the 16th, the Akitian coast guard maintained a constant presence in the region, switching ships out when one runs low on supplies or can no longer stay in the region for some other reason. The Chinese also maintained a constant position, using the same tactics that the Akitian coast guard used.
The Akitian government sent a message of protest to the Chinese government demanding that Chinese vessels leave, but the Chinese government never answered them. In Chinese media the Chinese government stated that Chinese sovereignty over the Gusuku Islands was "indisputable" and demanded that the Akitian government "halt their provocative actions". The Akitian government responded by affirming Akitian sovereignty over the islands and stating that it was the Chinese that started this confrontation when the China Coast Guard vessels entered into waters surrounding the Gusuku Islands.
The confrontation continued into December 17th. The Akitian government again sent a message of protest to the Chinese government. This time the Chinese government did answer it, demanding that Akitsu halt halt "all provocative actions" and "violations of China's national sovereignty". Akitian coast guard vessels that had been monitoring and following Chinese vessels demanded that the Chinese vessels leave the area. This was reportedly met by a rebuke from the Chinese vessels, which asserted Chinese sovereignty over the Gusuku Islands and demanded that Akitsu withdraw from "China's inherent territory".
The Akitian government has stated that at the moment they had no plans to attempt to detain the Chinese vessels and their crews unless the Chinese did anything more provocative. China has warned that any attempts by the Akitian coast guard to detain the Chinese vessels or their crews would be met with "appropriate retaliatory measures".
As the confrontation entered into it's third day Akitsu sent another diplomatic protest to the Chinese government, which was met by a rebuke from the Chinese side which affirmed Chinese sovereignty over the Gusuku Islands. Akitian coast guard vessels again warned the Chinese vessels to leave Akitian territorial waters. The Chinese vessels rebuked this by affirming Chinese sovereignty over the islands, and demanded that the Akitian coast guard vessel leave "China's territorial waters".
The Akitian government announced that that Akitian coast guard vessels would remain in the area for as long as the Chinese vessels were there, and demanded that China cease it's "soveriegnty-infringing activities". The Akitian government also announced that starting December 19th more coast guard ships would be deployed to the area in an attempt to reinforce the vessels already there.
On December 19th, the situation escalated further. The escalation started when a Chinese fishing vessel made a break for the Gusuku Islands itself. The Akitian coast guard gave chase, demanding that the vessel halt. Instead, the Chinese fishing vessel rammed the Akitian coast guard vessel Mizuki. In response to this aggressive action by the Chinese fishing vessel, the Imperial Akitian Coast Guard began trying to detain the vessel. However, the moment that the Akitian coast guard detained the vessel and it's crew the Chinese coast guard opened fire upon the Akitian coast guard using water cannons. The Akitian coast guard has responded in kind, firing back at the Chinese coast guard with their own water cannons.
The Akitian government has sent a message of protest to the Chinese government, demanding that the Chinese leave lest Akitsu be forced to take "further measures to protect our sovereignty". China completely rejected this and started demanding that Akitsu "halt all of it's provocative actions" and "return the Penghu Islands to China" (China calls the Gusuku Islands the Penghu Islands). China further demanded the immediate release of the crew of the fishing vessel detained by Akitsu. The Akitian government has stated that the crew will not be released until they have been tried in accordance to Akitian law.
The Akitian public was generally outraged by China's actions, and it led to renewed calls by some to Akitsu to strengthen it's military. However, the recent Sakamoto nuclear disaster also resulted in calls for Akitsu to find other ways to strengthen itself other than militarily.
However, the vast majority of Akitians didn't want Akitsu to strengthen it's military directly. Instead they seemed to favor making defensive alliances with enemies of China.
The Chinese public generally seemed to be outraged by Akitsu's actions, accusing Akitsu of violating Chinese national sovereignty. Several anti-Akitian demonstrations were held in some Chinese cities on December 17th, but these protests were largely peaceful.
- Britain: The British government has officially condemned Chinese action as being "unacceptable", and has called for economic sanctions to be placed upon China.
- Canada - While it declined to support either side in the dispute, the Canadian Prime Minister, Adam Gallant, stated in an official release "...we have serious doubts about the legitimacy of the online referendum held in China in October 2014 and we ask China to investigate the referendum results to verify if they genuinely reflect the wishes of the inhabitants of the Gusuku Islands."
- Hellas - Basileus Alexander Ioannou II came out in support of the Akitsu government and stated that, from both a legal and ethnic standpoint, the Gusuku islands are Akitian, and criticized the Chinese government for "violating Akitsu's sacred right of national sovereignty". The Hellenic government has promised to give Akitsu "economic and humanitarian aid" in response to the possibility of "unwarranted aggression by the Chinese government", but has made it clear that Hellas will continue its policy of military neutrality should the conflict escalate into violence.
- Turkmenistan - The Turkmen government has remained indecisive over the issue of the Gusuku islands crisis. Foreign minister İsmail Yusuf has reportedly said the Turkish government support Chinese sovereignty stating that "just because the inhabitants speak [the Akitian language] it does not mean they are instantly part of Akitsu. Unless - seeing as how in Turkmenistan some of us speak Uzbek - we are also entitled to Uzbekistan if this is the case." Yusuf also said earlier however that "I understand why Akitans would be fearful of the Chinese. They are as bad as Western ******* with their "socialism with Chinese characteristics". Frankly I imagine living in the current fascist Akitsu is better then living in a Maoist Akitsu." Yusuf's comments has caused controversy, with president Ovezov later saying that Yusuf's views on the Chinese "do not represent that of the Turkmen government" and has subsequently apologised to China.
- Lan Na: Prime Minister Khae Leeyao has replied in outrage against China's provoking actions. "This is an act of intimidation. China knows that Akitsu is in a state of unrest and grief right now due to the incident at Sakamoto last week, and tries to force away the Gusuku Islands from them in a vulnerable moment. We will not let this happen, and come to action whenever Akitsu asks for our help." King Sarawong has not officially responded to the crisis, but hopes for a peaceful resolve.
- 22x20px Nordland - Nordish Minister of Foreign Affairs Daniel Früh commented on the incident briefly. "It has become obvious that China seeks to exploit its neighbours at their most vulnerable moments. We offer our condolences to those whose livelihoods are being unfortunately questioned by the outright infringement of territorial sovereignty and severe corruption of what the Chinese call 'democracy'."
- Russia - Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on behalf of President Vladimir Putin has emphasised that Russia "will remain neutral in this issue". Lavrov went on to elaborate that both the Akitan and Chinese arguments for sovereignty are both strong, and hopes the matter can be settled between the two nations quickly.
- Sierra - Minister of Foreign Affairs Liliana Castellano condemned China's actions near the waters around the Gusuku Islands. Sierra urged that peaceful two-point talk negotiations and cooperation help settle "any and all disputes concerning the islands" and to avoid unnecessary military action.
- United States - President Solomon detailed America's position on the issue in his speech in Washington "...we will make sure that tyranny is halted in every corner and in every crevice..." In a later interview, Solomon had little regard for the Chinese noting that the economic policies of the Chinese caused the economic depression only a few years ago and is not willing to work on any solution with Beijing. When presented with a question on "...would you attend peace talks?" from a MSNBC reporter, Solomon responded with laughter "...I'd think it would be in the best interests of the world and Akitsu that perhaps our neighbors to the West, with Mr. Hong...er I mean Mr. Chang go on behalf of American interests. Also there isn't any beer gardens in Asia to my knowledge."