Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Cold War in the East China Sea?

A Kawasaki P-1 during a test flight
The Senkaku dispute goes back several years, but only now, through ambiguity, alliances and gradual militarization, is it taking a form that increasingly looks like a Cold War 

Tensions in the East China Sea over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands seem to have plateaued off in recent weeks, with approaches by Chinese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels turning into routine, if not banal, events. However, as high-level talks between U.S. and Japanese defense officials were held on March 21-22, Beijing said it was “extremely concerned” by reports that the talks included contingency planning for joint efforts if China were to invade the disputed territory. 

Described as “regularly scheduled consultations,” the talks in Hawaii were held between Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and General Shigeru Iwasaki, joint chief of the Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF). Prior to the meeting, Kyodo News reported that the talks would touch on joint operations planning for any contingency involving the islets, and added that Locklear and Iwasaki were expected to agree to accelerate the drafting of operational plans to that effect. 

My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.

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