East China Sea
Japan Opens Radar Station, Upsetting China

Japan has started up its new radar station in the East China Sea, and Beijing is angry. Reuters:

Japan on Monday switched on a radar station in the East China Sea, giving it a permanent intelligence gathering post close to Taiwan and a group of islands disputed by Japan and China, drawing an angry response from Beijing.

The new Self Defence Force base on the island of Yonaguni is at the western extreme of a string of Japanese islands in the East China Sea, 150 km (90 miles) south of the disputed islands known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

China has raised concerns with its neighbors and in the West with its assertive claim to most of the South China Sea where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. Japan has long been mired in a territorial dispute with China over the East China Sea islands.

The rhetoric in the East China Sea has steadily become more assertive over the past few years, and in particular the past few months, as China and Japan have sought to dispute the other’s claims to a small group of islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China. The islands’ relative proximity to Taiwan has made the controversy even more heated—China considers Taiwan to be under its sovereignty.

Elsewhere, Tokyo expressed concern after reports that Russia is looking to build a base in the Kuril islands, which Japan and Moscow have squabbled over since the end of World War Two.

The far east is an important region to watch. If these conflicts were to escalate much more, the world would be looking at the possibility of a great power war the likes of which it hasn’t seen in many decades.

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