China-Japan Relations

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  • Rising Instability and Regional Naval Modernisation in East Asia

    Considering the complementary interests and interdependencies at stake between China and Japan as also their individual aspirations of nation building through peace and stability, a clash over the Senkakus would only result in a ‘lose-lose’ outcome.

    November 02, 2012

    On East Asian Regional Integration from the Perspective of Economic Security

    In view of putative conflict for leadership in the region between China and Japan, and barriers in various initiatives for deepening and stabilizing regional financial markets, the economic-security discourse in East Asia is still facing an uncertain prospect and should be continually monitored.

    October 23, 2012

    What the Chinese White Paper Says on Diao Yu Dao? An Opportunity to Revisit the Issue

    This Issue Brief presents the historical and legal debate surrounding the dispute and in the process underscores the inconsistencies and weaknesses in the Chinese claims.

    October 10, 2012

    Minh Tran asked: What is the U.S. position on Japan-China territorial dispute over Senkaku Islands?

    Shamshad Ahmad Khan replies: The US position on Senkaku Islands, a contested territory in the East China Sea between Japan and China and Japan and Taiwan, is ambiguous. The US State Department maintains that “the US does not take a position on the question of the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands.” However, when the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Japan and China amidst rising tension between the two neighbours following nationalisation of the Senkakus by Japan on September 11, 2012, although he stated that the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty applies to the Senkakus, but at the same time added that the US will not take sides in the territorial dispute between Japan and China. Therefore, it is not clear what practical steps the US will take in case tension between China and Japan escalates to a higher level.

    The question whether the US will come to Japan’s help in case of a military stand-off with China over Senkakus came to the fore for the first time in September 2010 when a Chinese fishing trawler collided with a Japanese Coast Guard vessel off the Senkakus. The arrest of the captain of the Chinese fishing boat had led to a diplomatic spat and suspension of high-level political meetings between Chinese and Japanese political leaders. At that time, the Obama administration decided not to state explicitly that the Senkakus are subject to the US-Japan Security Treaty, causing anxiety among the strategic circles in Japan.

    In January 2011, Benjamin Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications in the White House, had said that “the US does not have position on the question of sovereignty regarding the issue of the Diaoyu Islands.” For the first time, a senior American official had used the Chinese name Diaoyu to refer to the disputed territory. This was seen as a departure from the official position maintained by the previous Bush administration. In 2004, the US State Department had stated that the Senkaku Islands have been under the administrative control of the government of Japan since they were returned as part of the reversion of Okinawa in 1972.

    Pramod asked: What is India’s stand on Diaoyu Island issue and South China Sea?

    R.N. Das replies: The East China Sea dispute is a bilateral issue between China and Japan. India is not a party to this dispute. Government’s position is that sovereignty issues must be resolved peacefully by the countries which are parties to the dispute. As regards India’s stand on South China Sea, it may be mentioned that the ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), in collaboration with Vietnamese companies, has been engaged in exploration activity in the South China Sea since 1988. During Prime Minister’s meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Bali in November 2011, China, which is party to the South China Sea dispute, raised its concerns on India’s hydro carbon exploration and exploitation projects in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam. Government has clearly conveyed that such activity by Indian companies is purely commercial in nature and that the dispute must be resolved peacefully by the countries concerned. It may also be noted that the OVL has already taken a decision to withdraw from Bloc 128, as it is found that it is not economically and technically viable for oil exploration. Earlier, it had withdrawn from Bloc 127 on similar grounds.

    Japan’s “Nationalisation” of Senkaku: Internal and External Determinants

    Japan’s nationalisation of Senkaku Island has given China a chance to reassert its territorial claims, which has resulted in widespread anti-Japan protests as well as a diplomatic spat between Beijing and Tokyo.

    September 25, 2012

    Tensions in the East China Sea: A test case for the US ‘Pivot’?

    The Japanese cabinet’s decision to purchase three of the five Senkaku islands has led to heightened tension in East Asian region. With China adopting an assertive posture on the issue, American unwillingness or incapability to come to the rescue of Japan would impair its ‘pivot’ or ‘rebalancing’ strategy in the region.

    September 14, 2012

    Japan-China stand-off over Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

    The rise of nationalism in both Japan and China and the sovereignty issue over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea is a highly explosive mix, perhaps even more so than the South China Sea island and territorial disputes.

    August 27, 2012

    Japan’s Defence White Paper 2012 and China’s Critical Response

    Like in the 2011 edition of the Defence White Paper, this year too, the report warns that China’s military movements are “a matter of concern” for the Asian region and the international community, and “should require prudent analysis.”

    August 09, 2012

    An internal push in Japan to nationlise Islands in the East China Sea

    While the Japanese government is facing pressure from the Tokyo Metropolitan government, Ishigaki municipal assembly and the main opposition LDP to nationalise the Senkaku Islands, a section of Japanese people have been asking it not to provoke China.

    June 08, 2012