Conflict between Japan and Two Chinas coming to a Head?

Up to six Chinese law enforcement agency vessels, roughly analogous to Coast Guard Cutters, have entered the territorial waters of islands administered by Japan, and Japanese Coast Guard Cutters responded. It does not look like the disagreement is going to go away quietly. Anti-Japanese anger is being nurtured in China. Both China and Japan are preparing for a leadership change, and no one wants to look weak.


Illustration: from CIA map

A good summary of events is here. A second source indicates the Chinese have “1,000” fishing vessels en route.

“And, whether we like it or not, Washington is involved.

The Chinese have taken an additional step and filed a claim on the islands with the UN describing its interpretation of where the baselines are drawn and enacted a national law that,

“prohibits foreign warships and vessels from entering the waters around the Diaoyu Islands without permission from the Chinese government.”

This seems to reflect China’s broader interpretation of the ability of a state to restrict access to its EEZ.

If the situation were not complicated enough, don’t forget there is a third party here, who are also inserting themselves in the mix. Taiwan also claims these islands and have also sent their Coast Guard into the area.

Photos of some of the players here.

93 thoughts on “Conflict between Japan and Two Chinas coming to a Head?

  1. Japan’s Coast Guard is considering hanging on to some of their overaged ship and retirees to deal with the increasing Chinese fleet of Coast Guard type ships. Note the Japanese Coast Guard has 51 ship over 1,000 tons, the largest fleet of cruising cutters in the world, but China is rapidly over taking them. Also note to the Japanese, ships are overage at 20 to 25 years old.

  2. Some interesting commentary

    First Informationdissemination correspondent Feng (also commenting as tphuang) explains why more than other border conflicts, the entire Chinese population is highly invested in this conflict.

    and a call for China to put a military presence on the disputed islands (also calls for creation of an armed Chinese Coast Guard).

  3. Another view from a commentator I greatly respect.

    including a quote from Captain James Fanell, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and Information Operations for US Pacific Fleet, “China Marine Surveillance cutters have no other mission but to harass other nations into submitting to China’s expansive claims…China Marine Surveillance is a full-time maritime sovereignty harassment organisation’.”

  4. A Chinese media report of the latest incident:

    And some personal observation by a knowledgeable commentator, found here,
    “First of all, I will just talk a little bit about the small number of military related stuff I noticed while I was there. It seems to me that a good number of Chinese citizens think that a war with Japan might happen. Watching TV, it was interesting to see the number of political/military show talking about possible conflict with Japan. I also saw programs celebrating Chinese heroes from the Sino-Japanese war of 1937-1945. There is certainly plenty of anti-Japanese sentiment in China right now…”

  5. China has kicked it up a notch by declaring an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in airspace claimed by Japan. BBC has good diagrams,

    The move has been declared “dangerous” by Japan and they refuse to recognize the new Chinese ADIZ.

    Commentary, diagram and a wealth of links here:

  6. German Navy blog reports without attribution for 25 Nov:
    Bilateral air/sea exercise “Annualex 13” kicked off in the Philippine Sea … comprehensive scenarios involving maritime training in the air, surface and subsurface battlespaces in support of the defense of Japan … US Navy participants include GEORGE WASHINGTON Carrier Strike Group.
    (rmks: in coming days, activities will also spread to the East China Sea, with a number of military flights in China’s newly declared ADIZ)

    and for 26 Nov:
    CHINA (Territorial Disputes)
    With Japan: A pair of US B-52 bombers carried out a “pre-planned” training flight mission through international air space in China’s newly declared ADIZ in the East China Sea … flew over the Seknanu islands without complying with Chinese rules and without incident.
    (rmks: setting the standard for non-compliance with the Chinese rules for all US Allies; still, the Chinese might not back down from challenging a Japanese or South Korean military flight)

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