East China Sea Disputes, Potentially Most Explosive?

SSK DY

Qn2 : “The conflicting claims by China, Japan and Taiwan to the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea is the maritime territorial dispute with “the greatest potential for dangerous escalation” in the region. In answering whether you agree or disagree with this statement, compare the situation in the East China Sea with the island disputes in the South China Sea and Sea of Japan.”

As the global trend of territorial expansion via clamiant increases, it is no wonder that Asia, with its unique ways of conflict resolution. seems plagued with an unusual amount of disputes. The emergent superpower to be, China, while increasing its economical clot globally, is eager to extend its influence beyond its mainlands. The untold riches of old, in the form of oil and gas reserves underneath the rockbeds of the ocean, seems to beckon not just China, but also developing states in ASEAN, Japan and Korea. The dispute inevitably also draws in the United States as it continues its influence in the area via its allies, flagging economic power and United States Navy.

The seas in the region, or the Indo-Pacific is dotted with numerous claimant disputes, including the most potentially explosive dispute, involving the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in East China Sea. The claimants for the islands includes China, Japan and Taiwan. With the involvement of these states, the United States is the background player, lending its military weight to Japan, its ally in the region.

However, we also must recognise that, while China is intensely looking at the progress of the Senkaku/Diaoyu disputes, it has also has other claimant issues with other states. So does Japan. The Spratly Islands involves numerous claimaint as it involves a chain of islands, with different claimant taking various stand on their claims. The Takeshima/Dok-do Island is ladened with historical baggages as Japan and Korea has not always been the best neighbours. Kuril Island in the north of Japan is also in dispute with Russia’s claimant dating back to WWII. Of course, there is Okinotori-Shima’s EEZ issue which remains unanswered. The Senkaku/Diaoyu stands unique in the sense that it has international eyes on the issue and thus, may be less explosive as the world, US in particular, seeks to restrain both sides. The numerous unseen issues in the region, however, may be more explosive than meet the eye.

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