Rekindling China-Japan Conflict: The Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands Clash

An article in Japan Focus looks at long-term and far-reaching consequences of the recent tensions between Japan and China over claims to the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands. From the introduction:

Why did the Japan Coast Guard, on September 7th, arrest a Chinese fishing boat captain and detain his ship, setting off the most serious China-Japan conflict in decades? Investigative journalist Tanaka Sakai offers no definitive answer in the following historically-and geopolitically-informed analysis of the roots of the conflict. He does show, definitively, that the Japanese action marked a striking departure from policies that have been in effect since at least 1978 when China and Japan resumed diplomatic relations and Deng Xiaoping crafted an agreement to defer action on competing claims to the Senkaku/Diaoyutai islands. Writing ten days after the incident, Tanaka observed that “The Senkaku Islands, along with the Nansha Islands and the Yellow Sea, has been upgraded to a world-level maritime dispute in which China and countries around it, with US support, confront one another.” He locates the incident, and its potentially far-reaching, even disastrous consequences, in the changing politics of Japan’s Democratic Party administration, and US policies pertaining to Japan, China and Korea. With the release of the Chinese captain, it is appropriate to revisit the incident and locate it within the broader parameters of the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific.


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