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    » 01/16/2013, 00.00

    JAPAN - CHINA - USA

    Senkaku / Diaoyu: "cold war" over islands fought out in the air



    Japan and China seem unwilling to give up on the issue of disputed sovereignty of the archipelago. Beijing sends its researchers with military escort, Tokyo responds with a joint military exercise with the United States.

    Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The tension between Tokyo and Beijing over the ownership of islands in the South China Sea has now assumed Cold War dimensions. China has warned that the Japanese attempt to encircle the islands "has failed and continues to fail" and announced a series of geographical studies "to safeguard the rights of the sea". Japan for its part has responded by scrambling its military aircraft with U.S jest, though for now the exercises are taking place away from the hot zone.

    The United States and Japanese fighter jets have in fact begun a series of joint exercises that will last for 5 days in the south-western area of ​​the Japanese archipelago. The squadrons involved include 6 U.S. FA-18 bombers and 4 Japanese F-4 jets: the total exercises in will involve 90 American soldiers and an unknown number of Japanese colleagues.

    The decision to conduct joint military exercises comes a few weeks after the election of Shinzo Abe, the new Japanese prime minister considered a "hawk" in foreign policy and economics. Abe has based his campaign on a policy of toughness towards China and has repeatedly held that sovereignty over the disputed islands "is not in discussions." According to Ministry of Defense sources in Tokyo, permission to shoot at "anyone" in breach of the national territory (including air and water) is being considered.

    In recent months, China and Japan have significantly raised the tone of the stand-off. Several Chinese ships have passed through the waters of the archipelago - though Beijing has called these provocations "patriotic activities" - and the two armies have challenged each other in the air on at least three occasions. For the moment no shots have been fired, although analysts in both countries stress that their military "will never pull back."

    Known by the Chinese as Diaoyu and Senkaku by the Japanese, the islands have been in dispute for many years.More recently, the Japanese government bought the islands from a private owner. For China, this was a "provocation", further exacerbated by Tokyo's decision to send planes over the area. In response, China sent its own planes for the first time since 1958.

    The value of the islands remains unclear. They are strategically located because they are in the middle of major sea routes. The waters offer rich fishing grounds and the seabed around the islands could hold important natural gas reserves. In 2008, as a token of détente, the two governments signed an agreement for joint development and research on the islands, but it was never implemented.

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    See also

    26/11/2010 KOREA
    Growing tension between the two Koreas. Pyongyang's threat: "We are on the brink of war"
    Threat of North Korea to Seoul on the eve of joint naval exercises with the U.S. South. Alarm this morning for a few explosions in the area the island targeted on Tuesday. No shells fell south of the border.Korea north south tension crisis japan US china military exercises war

    27/08/2013 JAPAN - CHINA
    Beijing flies into Senkaku / Diaoyu airspace fueling tension in East China Sea
    The aircraft coasted the airspace of the archipelago that is disputed between China and Japan. The Japanese Defense Ministry: "We are ready to do whatever is necessary to protect our territories." Chinese Foreign Ministry: "On this basis there can be no constructive dialogue to resolve the issue."

    20/09/2010 CHINA - JAPAN
    China freezes high-level talks, Tokyo expresses "regret"
    The diplomatic row between the two countries continues indirectly. The Japanese court extends the detention of the Chinese captain. In response to Beijing "makes known" through media it is suspending relations between officials of both governments. The premiers of the two countries will be in New York this week.

    13/09/2010 JAPAN - CHINA
    Tokyo frees Chinese sailors arrested off the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands
    The captain of the vessel remains under arrest. The sailors were captured last September 9, charged with having rammed a Japanese coastguard who had ordered them to turn around. Diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Beijing still strained

    31/08/2010 CHINA
    China holds naval exercises in Yellow Sea in response to US and South Korea
    Drills begin tomorrow; they are seen as a response to recent US-South-Korea exercises. Many experts wonder how far Beijing will go to flex its muscles in lieu of choosing the diplomatic route. Chinese warships dock in Myanmar.



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