The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Chinese Plane Threatens Japan in Game of Thrones Escalation

For the first time in more than five decades, a Chinese plane has entered Japanese airspace near the disputed Senkaku Islands, the FT reports:

Tokyo scrambled fighters and made a formal diplomatic protest after a Chinese maritime surveillance aeroplane was spotted in the territorial air space of the remote and uninhabited islands. . . .

The use of an aircraft to accompany the ships is sure to fuel calls in Japan for more assertive action against China and for the strengthening of coastguard and naval forces in the area.

Japan’s most likely next prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is a nationalist and China hawk. His reascension portends rising tensions between China and Japan:

Mr Abe has promised higher spending on Japan’s coastguard and defence forces, saying greater material resources are essential to block Chinese incursions.

The LDP [Mr Abe's party] has also pledged to consider stationing Japanese government officials on the islands—a move that would be considered hugely provocative by Beijing.

As we’ve discussed before, the Game of Thrones is not just a political struggle. China and Japan will battle it out in the economic realm too. As always, VM will be watching.

Published on December 14, 2012 12:16 pm