The soft power, “peaceful rise” concept seems lost on the Middle Kingdom. The intimidate the crap out of everyone, especially Japan, The Philippines and Vietnam tact is apparently the plan of action.

Now, the PRC is claiming Okinawa.

It started with two Chinese academics earlier this month saying Japan’s claims to the islands were nonsense and that Japan’s annexation of the Ryukyu kingdom in 1879 amounted to an invasion, with the sovereignty still open for debate.

The use of the word “sovereignty” is a real rib tickler that one. Are the Chinese planning on reinstalling the old ruling class and letting them go it alone?

Now, a Chinese general has tossed in his take.

Luo Yuan, a two-star general in the People’s Liberation Army, raised the territorial stakes again this week, saying the Ryukyus had started paying tribute to China in 1372, half a millennium before they were seized by Japan.

Yuan took a nice little stroll on the rhetorical tightrope:

“Let’s for now not discuss whether [the Ryukyus] belong to China, they were certainly China’s tributary state. I am not saying all former tributary states belong to China, but we can say with certainty that the Ryukyus do not belong to Japan.”

Perhaps the islands are just some outcropping in no man’s land and I should lay my claim for a little beachfront property while I can.

You can read the rest on the unfolding Okinawa gripe, as well as the expected playing of the “Hashimoto card”, here.