Japan China tensions rise as PRC installs radar near disputed islands
China has been flexing its muscles in the East China Sea, much to Japan’s annoyance.
This last June the Japanese discovered the gas and oil exploration platforms in the E. China Sea. The radar facilities are unnecessary for exploration operations and Japan has expressed concern that China may be in the early stages of militarization of the platforms.
There are some unoccupied islets in the E. China Sea that Japan asserts ownership of.
Japan refers to them as the Senkaku Islands and the PRC calls them the Diaoyu Islands.
Taiwan also has a claim on them.
Japan has had control of them since the 1800s and China recognized their claim until the 1970s when they began to agitate for ownership.
While the islets themselves are not rich in resources, the surrounding ocean is. China is exploring the sea bed for petroleum resources and the waters are rich in edible fish and invertebrates.
A week ago Japanese diplomats called the Chinese ambassador to task over the encroachment of their waters by a flotilla of 230 fishing boats.
The PRC in an effort to bolster their claims established the "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone" requiring all aircraft passing through the area to identify themselves.
The Japanese and US airforces have to date ignored this sally.
The PRC is also involved in claims to all of the South China Sea, claiming historical ownership.
That claim is disputed by six other countries.
The international court upheld the Philippines’ claim to part of the territory. The PRC government responded by saying that the court has no jurisdiction.
Tensions in the S. China Sea have increased markedly over the past few years as the PRC has engaged in island building and militarization of the artificial islets.
In June 2016 a Chinese fighter jet came within 50 metres of a US fighter jet in the area. John Kerry has stated that the US will not recognize the Chinese claims to the disputed territory.
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