Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Chinese - Japanese Dispute Over The East China Sea Is Going To Get Worse

CSIS: East China Sea Dispute is Getting Worse not Better

Following a temporary thaw in China-Japan relations after the 2015 Security Talks, maritime territorial tensions have ramped up again in the East China Sea. In the recent talks between Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe summit meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia, Abe raised concerns over China’s expanding military activity in the East China Sea.

With China’s growing naval activism through increased incursions by coast guard vessels and jet fighters in surrounding waters and airspace, Japan too has upped its defensive posture. In 2015 Chinese incursions into Japan’s airspace prompted a record-high 571 fighter scrambles, elevating Japanese concerns. Since December 2015, China has stepped up its militarization of the area by deploying Chinese navy vessels at various instances in the contiguous zone around the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands. In response, Japan has switched on a radar station in the East China Sea, giving it a permanent intelligence gathering post close to Taiwan and the disputed islands. Japan has furthermore deployed 12 coastguard vessels – successively increasing its fleet presence against China’s upped ante.

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WNU Editor: I concur with this analysis. The world's focus is on the South China Sea boundary dispute, but it is the Japanese - Chinese dispute on the East China Sea that the possibility of a serious naval or air engagement exists. Maybe not now .... but if this military buildup continues .... and no outlet for talks or negotiations occurs .... a confrontation is all but certain at some time in the future.

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