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Japan-China tensions over 3 islands escalates to a new high

Titanium100

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Japan's defense minister draws red line in island dispute with China


Tokyo (CNN)Japan is drawing a red line around an island chain also claimed by China, pushing back at Beijing's increasingly aggressive military posturing, and setting the stage for a potential showdown between the region's two biggest powers.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, are unquestionably Japanese territory and would be defended as such, with Tokyo matching any Chinese threat to the islands ship for ship, and beyond if necessary.

Japan has been expanding its Self-Defense Forces, adding state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets and converting warships to aircraft carriers for them. It is also building new destroyers, submarines and missiles, all the while noting its military expenditure still pales in comparison with China's increased military spending.


"Against Chinese action to Senkaku Islands and other parts of the East China Sea ... we have to demonstrate that the government of Japan is resolutely defending our territory with the greater number of Japanese coast guard vessels than that of China," Kishi said. "There is no territorial dispute relating to the Senkaku Islands between Japan and other countries," he added.

Tensions over the uninhabited rocky chain -- 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo but only a third of that distance from Shanghai -- have simmered for
years, and claims over them date back centuries.

When tensions spiked over the islands in 2012, it sparked a groundswell of nationalist sentiment in China. Public protests broke out in dozens of Chinese cities, with Japanese-branded cars smashed, Japanese stores and restaurants vandalized, and debris hurled at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

At the governmental level, China has been just as strident as Kishi is in claiming the island chain.


"The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are an inherent part of China's territory, and it is our inherent right to carry out patrols and law enforcement activities in these waters," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement last year.

China has been backing its claims in the region with its ships, and by establishing new laws that give its coast guard expanded powers.
According to Japanese authorities, Chinese Coast Guard vessels have ventured into Japanese territorial waters, or within 12 nautical miles of Japanese land, a total of 88 times between January 1 and the end of August. While in the contiguous zone, waters between islands but not within 12 miles of shore, there have been 851 Chinese incursions.

Experts say China's strategy is to put its forces in places in and around contested areas and exert Beijing's law and authority over them. Such action makes the Chinese claims seem like due course.

"Exercising coastal state rights is an important step in corroborating sovereignty through practice," said Alessio Patalano, professor of war and strategy at King's College in London.
Kishi has taken notice.


"There are actions that continue to challenge an integral part of Japan's sovereign territory. These actions are making it a fait accompli," he said.
That "integral" Japanese territory extends even closer to another possible flashpoint in the Japan-China relationship.

Taiwan's importance to Japan

Japan's westernmost island is at the very end of a string of Japanese possessions paralleling the Chinese coast and extending south some 700 miles (1,125 kilometers) from the main island of Kyushu, through the military hub of Okinawa and the resort island of Ishigaki, to the tiny island of Yonaguni.
With its 11 square miles of rock and population of fewer than 2,000 people, Yonaguni sits only 68 miles (110 kilometers) from Taiwan, the democratically governed

island over which Beijing claims sovereignty.
Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since the end of a civil war more than seven decades ago.



However, Beijing continues to view Taiwan as an inseparable part of its territory even though the Chinese Communist Party has never governed it.

China has been stepping up its military pressure on Taiwan. In June, it sent over two dozen warplanes near the island, prompting Taiwan to alert its air defenses.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping says Taiwan must be brought under Beijing's control and has not ruled out the use of force in making that happen.


That, said Kishi, has Tokyo in a constant state of vigilance.
When Tokyo released its annual defense white paper in July, it contained its strongest language ever on Taiwan, saying "stabilizing the situation surrounding Taiwan is important for Japan's security."

At the time, Kishi said it should be monitored with "a sense of crisis."
In his interview with CNN, he gave specifics.
"What's happening in Taiwan is directly linked to Japan," he said, noting the island sits astride his country's "energy lifeline."
"Ninety percent of energy that Japan uses is imported through the areas around Taiwan," Kishi said.

It's a vulnerability that Tokyo has to mitigate.
"What could happen in Taiwan could likely be an issue for Japan, and in that case, Japan will have to take the necessary response to that situation," Kishi said, while stressing that tension should be diffused through dialogue, not violence.
But Tokyo isn't just using words to back up its claims. It's also beefing up its military defenses, putting missiles and troops on Yonaguni and planning to do the same to nearby Ishigaki in the near future.

"This is to demonstrate our strong will to defend our southwestern area of Japanese territory," Kishi said.
In that regard, Tokyo has a key ally in its corner, the United States.

Tokyo and Washington share a mutual defense treaty, meaning the US is obligated to defend Japanese territory.
US President Joe Biden reaffirmed that security commitment shortly after his inauguration in January, with a White House statement specifically mentioning the Senkakus.

Kishi said this week that alliance is being strengthened, and in commenting on the Senkakus situation, said Washington has Tokyo's back.


"We will continue to conduct bilateral training with the US and multilateral training with other partners to strengthen our posture and contribute to the peace and stability of this region," he said, noting that naval exercises have been held or scheduled with partners including France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

While lining up partners, Japan is also improving its own arsenal, including developing and acquiring weapons systems that can strike areas well beyond Japanese territory.

Without saying what areas those longer range systems might target, the Japanese defense minister said it was important for the country's military to have the right equipment to defend it from any threat.

CNN's Eric Cheung, Emiko Jozuka and Junko Ogura contributed to this report.

 

aziqbal

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Senkaku belong to Japan and no one has done anything to take them

anyone has problem with that can just go to UN and complain nothing will happen
 

Beast

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Senkaku belong to Japan and no one has done anything to take them

anyone has problem with that can just go to UN and complain nothing will happen
Absolutely nonsense. Diaoyutai is forcefully ceded to Japan as part of Taiwan in 1895 when Jiawu war endedm During the end of wwII. The egypt treaty stated all defeated countries in WWII must return all unlawful land prior in 1895.

Taiwan also claim diaoyutai. Are u saying Taiwan is also wrong?
 

aziqbal

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Absolutely nonsense. Diaoyutai is forcefully ceded to Japan as part of Taiwan in 1895 when Jiawu war endedm During the end of wwII. The egypt treaty stated all defeated countries in WWII must return all unlawful land prior in 1895.

Taiwan also claim diaoyutai. Are u saying Taiwan is also wrong?
lose the war live with the loss

you cant keep complaining for next 100 years
 

applesauce

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lose the war live with the loss

you cant keep complaining for next 100 years
so why are you complaining that china is taking action now?

china has taken de facto control of the islands from japan.
it is uninhabited so whoever takes control of the surrounding waters controls the island.

in 2010, the japanese were able to arrest the chinese near the islands.

by 2020 they couldn't arrest the Chinese anymore

and more recently, news is that a chinese coast guard vessels rammed the japanese coast guard and no one seems to be posting about it.

china now operates around the island near constantly and there is nothing the japanese can do about it
 

CAPRICORN-88

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Careful what the rightist Nipponese are wishing for.

The hilarious redline by this rightist Japanese Defense Minister may leads to the separation and Independence of Kingdom of Ryuku.

In history the Kingdom of Ryuku was a tributary Kingdom of the Middle Kingdom forcefully annexed by an imperialistic and expansionistic Meiji Japan back in 1879.
Even today most Okinawans have never accepted Japan rule.
USA knew all about this and Diayutai was intentionally passed to Japan for administrative purpose with a hidden agenda in mind.

Diayutai was seized together with Taiwan back in 1896 and was NEVER a Japanese territory. It should have been returned together with Taiwan to China back in 1945 in accordance to the Potsdam Declaration. USA claimed it was a clerical mistake but due to the civil war between KMT and CPC, USA manipulated it into a time-bomb.

The name Shenkaku never existed in history until the turn of the century.

:coffee:

So today China do have an Ace card to play against Japan in Okinawa or Ryuku.
 

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