China trains it sights on OkinawaMay 20, 2013
A Chinese general has set off alarms in both Japan and the United States over his claim that Japanese-controlled Okinawa is in fact traditionally within the Chinese sphere of influence. Major General Luo Yuan did not claim Chinese sovereignty over Okinawa and the rest of the Ryukyu Islands, but he did refute Japanese sovereignty over them, claiming that the islands “paid tribute” to China for half a millenium, while the Japanese only took control in the late 19th century.
Okinawa is the site of several key United States military installations and would be an absolute lynchpin in the developing Asian Pivot strategy, controlling the southern approaches to Japan and South Korea (and, by extension, to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska).
China’s counter strategy to the Pivot is to dominate the First Island Chain. Prying Okinawa away from Japan would isolate Japan and Korea and drive a wedge in the India/Australia/Japan triumvirate for which the US would provide off shore balancing power.