The Senkaku/Diaoyutai islands: escalating dispute between China and Japan
(1 February 2016)
Weeks ago, a heavily armed Chinese coast guard vessel ventured for the first time into the area surrounding the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands between Japan and China.
These islands have been the object of a mounting dispute between these two countries; since 2010 Chinese aircraft and research vessels have been venturing into the area despite Japanese protests. In 2013, a Chinese frigate locked its weapons-targeting radar on a patrolling Japanese destroyer.
Although Japan claims sovereignty over the islands, for several decades China has considered the islands to be crucial for their maritime strategy following reports of oil reserves in the area.
China insists however it wants closer relations with Japan, which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe endorses. He and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met twice since 2014, with an Abe spokesman noting at the most recent G-20 summit that “Japan-China relations as a whole see gradual improvement.”
Beijing’s Next Gambit, the East China Sea. The Wall Street Journal, 25th January, 2016 http://www.wsj.com/articles/beijings-next-gambit-the-east-china-sea-1453745380