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East China Sea consists of eight uninhabited islands and rocks. The islands’ total size is

about 7 square kilometers, lies in north-east of Taiwan, east of the Chinese mainland and south-
west of Japan’s southern part, Okinawa. These islands contain a lot of potential oil and natural
gas reserves. It is also close to important shipping route and rich fishing ground which is best for
the country to develop the economic (BBC, 2014). After the end of World War II in 1895, Japan
were formally claimed and controlled over the Senkaku/Daioyu islands and privately owned by
Japanese citizens for 120 years. However, in 1970s China began to reassert claims over the
islands by citing rights to the area. Since then, both sides have increased efforts to assert
sovereignty over the islands. Recently in 2012, the tension between China and Japan resurfaced
again over the disputed island.

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Research question: What are the major factors contributing to the flare-up of the recent

II. Factors behind the recent tension:
There are three factors that pushed to a recent tension. First factor is the recent violent

protest in Beijing. Second, Chinese military activity in Japan dispute and third is the contest for
gas field which makes Sino-Japan relations become more difficult.

2.1. Recent violent protest in Beijing

The long-standing territorial dispute escalated dramatically when the three islands
known as the Daioyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan were bought by a private Japanese
owner for more than US$25 million (Taylor, 2012).This unlawful landing of the Japanese was
violating Chinese territorial sovereignty (Lei, 2012). On September 2012, there was an Anti-
Japanese protest as Chinese protestors have vandalized the Japanese embassy in Beijing (Badkar,
2012). The protests have spread throughout China and the Japanese embassy in Beijing was
attacked with rocks, eggs and bottles (Moore, 2012). More than 1,000 protesters had burned
Japanese flags, set fire and destroyed Japanese cars and companies. After the protests, Chinese


government was refused to apologize for the series of anti-Japanese protests (Watts, 2012) and
says that the main problem was because of the Japanese government has done a series of things
that have hurt the feelings of Chinese people especially in its treatment of history (Li, 2012).
Whereas, Japan says the islands have been a part of its territory since the late 19th century and
China had only shown interests over the territory after knowing the presence of potentially
valuable natural resources (McCurry, 2012). In addition, Japanese government Shinzo also
criticized Chinese violation against Japanese that it will only damage to Japanese-affiliated
companies and Japanese nationals that have made contributions to the Chinese economy as
China just want to achieve their political goal (McCurry, 2012). Furthermore, it only frustrates
Sino-Japanese trade tie and lead Japan to shift investment to other Asia country.

2.2. Chinese military naval navigate in disputed islands

China and Japan have agreed on the United Nation conventional on the Law of the Sea in
2008, which both sides agreed to navigated in their territorial maritime and not allowed their
military naval navigate in the surrounding disputed islands, which known as Senkaku islands in
2008 (Panda, 2016). However, after Japanese put three disputed islands under the control of
Japanese government in 2012, China’s response was by sending naval to navigate in disputed
area in the same year, and also sent military naval to navigate in the surrounding disputed in June
09, 2016 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 2017). This area is called contiguous area which
is forbid all kind of military capability. Yet, China always violates the agreement and sometimes
china also uses its huge military naval to reach the surrounding islands. From China’s
perspective, they consider that these islands belonged to China since ancient time even now it is
under the administration of Japan. Whereas, Japan sees the China’s action seem like they want to
change the status quo. Japan really concerned about Chinese’s action. In response, Japan has
increased its defense and also put radar system to capture the picture of Chinese’s naval. Japan
also participated in the Malabar drill with United States which is a sign that US will defense
Japanese from foreign invasion, including the Senkaku islands (Stashwick, 2016). Furthermore,
Japanese prime minister’s speech imply a message to China that no state can use its bluff or even
the military action to coerce the international community to change the norm of Unclose (Ayako
Mei, 2016). There is no best solution adopted to solve the problem even International


Community have provided recommendation to solves peacefully, yet both side still increase their
expense on defense and military (International Crisis Group, 2016).

2.3. The Contest for gas field

Japan and China have made agreement on the natural resource in East China Sea in June,
2008, in which both side can extract the natural resource and pump gas in their respective area.
Both sides also agreed to have exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in which both side cannot pump
or extract the natural resource in the area where there territorial maritime are overlapping which
is called median line (JiJi, 2017). On 2010, both sides also have made other bilateral agreement
to joint pumping oil together, in which japan need to join in the area where china is pumping oil.
However, this agreement never ratified because China claimed to draw the territorial water base
on continental shelf whereas Japan demand to follow the EEZ (Szechenyi, 2015). Nevertheless,
China still builds facilities and sends its mobile drilling ship to extract and pump natural resource
especially gas near disputed islands or called the exclusive economic zones since 2013. Japan
protest against China action and consider it as unilateral action which is intentionally violate the
agreement in 2008 in which both side need to agree to bilaterally exploit natural resource in
disputed area, and also both side need to equally benefit. In fact, China’s action contrasts to what
have agreed in the agreement. Besides, Japan also accused China for putting Radar system with
its mobile drilling ship for military purpose (Jash, 2017). From China’s perspective, they have
the right to pump the oil from that area, because according to the continental shelf the area where
Japan considers as overlapping zone belongs to China, and Japan should shorten its territorial
maritime, and also regard Japan following the EEZ as unilateral action in which China didn’t
recognize. As controversial happen, Japan response by increase more expense on defense and
strengthen its relation with its allies, whereas, China also response by created Air Identification
Zone in East China Sea. Despite the increase of arms in both sides, they can also deal the
problem peacefully by following the UN article 2 to solve conflict peacefully (Oil & Gas
Financial Journal, 2015).

III. Conclusion


In conclusion, Japan and China are facing security dilemma. In recent months, tensions

between China and Japan over the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu islands have risen due extension of
the military capabilities, radar and missile systems near the disputed islands. This tension make
nationalist sentiments rising and political mistrust. Even though, Chinese and Japanese leaders
have avoided from forcibly control over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, unauthorized action by
local private companies could result in the unintended escalation of enmity (Council Foreign
relations, 2017). In addition, Japan’s and China’s government will be preventing unintended
escalation in the East China Sea by creating and atmosphere for dispute solving with bilateral

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