East China Sea Disputes

The potential for bilateral discord was evident in 2010, when a Chinese trawler collided with two Japanese coastguard vessels near the Senkaku islands, an uninhabited archipelago in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

Japan casts wary eye across East China Sea

Japan’s main concern is how China’s military growth will affect long-running disputes over territory and access to resources

By Justin McCurry, The Guardian

When China eclipsed Japan as the world’s second biggest economy in 2010, there was less gnashing of teeth in Tokyo than some had expected.

Given China’s size and dizzying growth over the last two decades, Japanese business leaders accepted long ago that a shift in the economic rankings was inevitable.

Japan is more concerned about China’s military growth: how it will affect long-running bilateral disputes over territory and access to energy sources, and where it will leave the regional balance of power in an era of post-US hegemony.

The potential for bilateral discord was evident in 2010, when a Chinese trawler collided with two Japanese coastguard vessels near the Senkaku islands, an uninhabited archipelago in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

The trawler’s captain was released after a short detention, but the incident, and several less volatile encounters since, have reminded Japan that, strong economic ties aside, the potential remains for lasting friction with an increasingly formidable rival.

There is much at stake for both countries. The Senkakus are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and near potentially huge undersea oil and gas deposits.

Underlying the rivalry between the countries over control of the East China Sea for strategic and economic reasons are concerns in………..[access full article]

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