Although nearly all the fighting took place in northern China, Japan had important territorial ambitions in southern China. As the war approached its end, the Japanese took steps to ensure that Taiwan would be ceded to Japan under the eventual peace treaty and that they were well placed militarily to occupy the island. Although hostilities in northern China were suspended during these negotiations, Taiwan and the Pescadores were specifically excluded from the scope of the armistice. This exclusion allowed the Japanese to mount a military operation against the Pescadores Islands in March without imperilling the negotiations. The Pescadores, lying midway between mainland China and Taiwan, were the key to a successful occupation of Taiwan.