5 New Reasons China And Japan May Go To War Over Disputed Islands
The back-and-forth between China, Japan, and the U.S. over disputed islands in the East China Sea this week continued ratcheting up, exposing policies that could prevent any diplomatic solution.
Less than a week after Thanksgiving in the U.S. last year, China released its new “nine dash map” passport that made clear its South and East China Sea ambitions. Brushing off controversy at the time, China outraged many neighboring nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines whose territory the map annexed. Both countries refused to stamp the document, using a separate sheet of paperslipped into the book instead.
Now, China’s National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation is reportedly releasing its official state map of 2013 to include 130 disputed islands in the area. Not due to be released until the end of January, the new maps are supposed to increase the Chinese people’s awareness of national territory. Essentially reinforcing the nationalistic zeal against Japan already running through mainland China.
Prepare for war:
China’s General Staff Headquarters, which oversees the People’s Liberation Army of around 2.5 million active and reserve troops, issued training directives this week to prepare for war.
From NTD TV:
But the combative streak speaks to profound shifts in Chinese politics and foreign policy that transcend the heat of the moment. The more provocative of these officers call for “short, sharp wars” to assert China’s sovereignty. Others urge Beijing to “strike first”, “prepare for conflict” or “kill a chicken to scare the monkeys”.
They routinely denounce the Obama administration’s recent “pivot” to Asia – without naming the United States, Ren in his Melbourne speech accused “external countries” of complicating disputes in Asia.
The U.S. picked sides:
In a meeting Friday with Japan’s foreign minister, Clinton spelled out the U.S. belief that the disputed islands belonged to Japan, were under their control, and therefore under the U.S. security treaty with Tokyo.
Chinese media is reporting Clinton’s remarks effectively break the U.S. vow of neutrality in the region.
China shows what they think of the U.S. position:
Within hours of Clinton’s remarks Chinese ships entered Japan’s territorial waters around the islands. Three Chinese Marine Surveillance ships cruised the waters around the islands for five hours before traveling away from the East China Sea.
Backing up Clinton’s words, and as a counterpoint to China’s response, the Japanese foreign minister said plainly: “Japan will not concede,” and will, “uphold our fundamental position that the Senkakus are an inherent territory of Japan.”
Which all bodes poorly for peace and found the Economist Saturday saying the two countries look to be on an irreversible path. “China and Japan are sliding towards war” the magazine says in its most recent piece on the situation.
China paper calls for foreign military bases:
As part of its current $200 billion defense budget The Japan Times says China’s foreign bases are for more than supplying and protecting trade routes. This in addition to news from a Chinese state-run newspaper advising the PLA Navy to build 18 overseas naval bases. It’s an unofficial declaration and the locations are best estimates, but it’s an interesting addition when considering the charged climate of the region.
The nationalism building in both China and Japan allows little room for any leader to be seen “selling out” their country by negotiating and without negotiations the next step may be more conflict rather than less.
Estimates of where China’s new naval bases would go.