|Download PDF||301 KB|
Date Published:Jul 24, 2013
The contemporary standoff over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands threatens to exacerbate Japan-China relations in the long run. Despite their disagreement over the islands’ sovereignty, the two governments had successfully depoliticized the issue for nearly four decades since their diplomatic normalization in 1972. The islands issue became politicized after the collision between a Chinese trawler and the Japan Coast Guard in 2010, and has become increasingly militarized after the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the five islands from their private owner in 2012. China has boosted its civilian and military presence in maritime and airspace around the islands, confronting their Japanese counterparts regularly and raising the risk of an armed conflict which potentially involves the United States. What caused the intense politicization and increasing militarization of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute? What are the pragmatic steps which the two governments can take to depoliticize, demilitarize, and deescalate the current situation?