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Sense of crisis over S. China Sea led to China’s 100-day presence near Senkakus: expert

By Bonji Ohara, senior fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation


There are some indications that China thinks that China does not want relations with Japan to deteriorate without good reason.


The Chinese foreign ministry criticized Japan’s defense white paper on July 14, saying, “It is not a white paper but a black document.” But it later removed the provocative expression “black document” from its website.


China is showing a degree of consideration to Japan possibly because it has to focus on the South China Sea rather than the periphery of the Senkakus. The U.S. has shifted to a policy of intervention in territorial issues in the South China Sea. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo insists, “[The world] will not allow China to treat the South China Sea as part of its maritime empire.” The U.S.’s intervention instilled in China a sense of crisis over the situation in the South China Sea.


China is worried about a situation where Japan and the U.S. deepen their ties, and while the U.S. applies pressure on China in the South China Sea, Japan increases its “effective control” of the Senkakus. China’s moves near the Senkakus only follow the conventional naval strategy, which aims to expand naval supremacy, and there has been no major change in this situation.  


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