There is a good chance that we will see violence erupt between a bellicose China and equally bellicose Japan over two small islands - known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China – that could lead to very strained relations between these two countries.
|Chinese ships at the islands|
Barren islands, inhabited by goats, leading to war between China and Japan?
How could that be?
Because of past wounds:
Japan has claimed the islands since 1895. The US took jurisdiction after the second world war and turned them over to Japan in 1972. But Beijing sees the purchase as an affront to its claims and its past calls for negotiations…
Protesters gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing chanting: "Japan, get out of China."
With memories of the second World War stoking the flames:
The dispute has stirred up emotional memories of Japan’s brutal occupation that ended only at the close of World War II. While Japan routinely apologizes for its wartime actions, its politicians often anger China by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, a memorial to Japan’s war dead, including top war criminals.
The dreadful first World War broke out when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot dead in Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb assassins, who wanted to combine some of Austria-Hungary’s provinces with a Greater Serbia. One month later the world war broke out.
Will shots be fired over islands in the east? There are more islands in dispute in that troubled area:
China’s increasing assertiveness has also led to friction in the South China Sea, where Beijing’s claim to the world’s busiest shipping lanes overlaps with the territorial claims of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Meanwhile, Japan has been trading rhetorical salvoes with South Korea and Russia over separate island disputes left over from the end of the Second World War.
And there are treaty obligations which could suck America into a war with China in defence of Japan:
Somebody better send a few thousand copies of Getting to Yes to the Chinese and Japanese leaders.Any escalation of the confrontation could draw in players from around the region and beyond. The United States, which last year announced it was shifting its military focus away from the Middle East and towards Asia – in large part to deal with the perceived threat posed by a rising China – is bound by treaty to defend Japan from attack. U.S. diplomats have suggested that the treaty includes the Senkaku Islands, although experts are divided on whether the surrounding waters are also covered.