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Game of Thrones
Putin Joins Asia’s Games of Thrones

Russia is conducting military drills on the Kuril Islands, a chain of four islands that is also claimed by Japan. Japan and Russia have technically been at war since WWII, due in part to this dispute over what Japan calls the Northern Territories. Reuters reports on the Russian operation:

“Exercises began involving military units in the region, which are deploying to the Kurile Islands,” Colonel Alexander Gordeyev, a spokesman for Russia’s Eastern Military District, told the Russian news agency Interfax.

He said more than 1,000 troops, five Mi-8AMTSh attack helicopters and 100 other pieces of military hardware would be involved in the manoeuvres.

Japan has responded with predictably strong words, reports the Japan Times:

Calling the military exercises on the Northern Territories “totally unacceptable,” [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe told reporters in Yamaguchi Prefecture. “We will lodge a strong protest with Russia through the Foreign Ministry.”

A senior ministry official also said, “The Northern Territories are an inherent part of Japan’s territory, and we cannot accept the move.”

Many had hoped that Russia and Japan would take steps toward resolving their century-and-a-half old territorial dispute during the age of Abe and Putin, but Japan’s alignment with the West over Putin’s actions in Ukraine has strained their previously promising working relationship. After the recent ASEAN conference in Myanmar did little to relieve tensions over competing claims in the South China Sea, things are getting even more dangerous. More and more sparks are flying around Asia’s geopolitical powder keg.

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  • PKCasimir

    Just some more Putin nonsense trying to scare people without any knowledge of Russian naval capability in the Pacific (that includes everyone who writes for this blog) , which is very limited. Fact is the Japanese Navy would make quick work of any Russian naval forces in this area.

  • Duperray

    PKC: How come a nation obliged for 70 years to not have neither an army nor a navy (self defense forces do not allow strategic offensive capability..) would be strong enough to wipe out a plain Navy of a great country? Blocked by Bosphorus, over scrutinized in Barentz Sea, most of russian navy is necessarily in the Pacific side, Kamtchatka and Okhotz Sea. This is why so many US spy planes tried to fly over these areas before satellite era…
    I am not convinced at all.

    • rheddles

      A great country? 1905 redux if Putin wants to push it. Same results for the same reason. Some people keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Russia reminds one of Paleostine.

      • Duperray

        You are a true american, don’t you? Your “americanism” drives you towards “arrogance” in present matter. Oh, it is good to be proud of his own Nation but thid not allow to express meprisals towards another Nation. Your childish “paleostine” judgement is short of History:
        Who has been able to launch the first satellite? To reach the Moon? to land the first probe on Venus? to send the first man in space? Sure you coped with, but today you are no longer able to launch a man in orbit.
        If you are still overconfident about US, please explain why 40% of US families are still close to poverty, why 21% of adults over 50 don’t have even a retirement plan (read on US sites)? I am pretty sure russian families are not so bad in comparison with.
        If you are still hard in your boots, please print your above referred jugement in big letters, pin it in your kitchen and read it in 10 years from now. By there you might deploy a little more respect towards foreign nations.
        Fortunately, the great Henry Kissinger had a more factual view and declared that USSR (by 1968) was too big a nation to be neglected. Let’s hope there are now also similar americans.

        • rheddles

          Big, yes; great, no.

    • PKCasimir

      The Russian navy in the Pacific is comprised of outdated ships manned by poorly trained sailors equipped with outdated weapons systems that are poorly maintained and barely functional most of the time. The Japanese Navy, however, is a very modern Navy equipped with the latest technology and highly motivated and trained sailors. Any one who isn’t a propagandist for a blustering Russia and who knows Naval matters will tell you the same thing.

      • Duperray

        Oh, perhaps I know as much as you…! But you forgot to tell one thing more about russian navy: They still use sailing boats with wooden hulls. The few srew propelled burn wood, coal is too modern..!
        Neverhteless this early 19th century navy was the first in the world to operate a full titanium hull (nuclear) submarine.
        From now on, I will no longer counter-argue such excessive one-sided statements.

        • PKCasimir

          Obviously the facts aren’t on your side and so you withdraw into nonsense.

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