China Goes Fishing in the East China Sea
China has recently been more brazen in provoking Japan.
By Jacob L. Shapiro
The latest round of Japanese and Chinese squabbling over disputed islands in the East China Sea has escalated in recent days. On Aug. 5, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as many as 230 Chinese fishing vessels and 13 coast guard ships sailed into the contiguous zones surrounding a group of islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China. Three of those ships reportedly had gun batteries, and two more Chinese government vessels allegedly got within 12 miles of the Senkakus/Diaoyus on Sunday evening.
There are two main things to note in this development. The first is that it represents a moderate intensification of tensions between Japan and China in the areas around these disputed islands where both countries’ territorial claims overlap. The second is that this escalation should not be blown out of proportion. China is not really spoiling for a fight, and Japan is not in a position to give it one.