Are China and Japan Going to War?
The conflict between China and Japan over a small chain of disputed islands – called “Senkaku” by Japan and “Diaoyu” by China – is fluid.
Here are some of the key recent events in this dispute:
- Japan’s Ambassador to China died mysteriously, and Chinese police used tear gas and water cannons on anti-Japan protesters
- A senior advisor to the Chinese government has called for an attack on the Japanese bond market to precipitate a funding crisis and bring the country to its knees
- Chinese hackers have launched a cyber-attack against Japan, taking down at least 19 Japanese websites – including those of a government ministry, courts and a hospital – and adding messages proclaiming Chinese sovereignty over the islands
- U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says that China and Japan may be heading towards war
- China’s most powerful military leader, in an unusual public statement, ordered military forces to prepare for combat, as Chinese warships deployed to waters near disputed islands. China is stepping up military exercises, and drilling its air force in Tibet
- After Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba met with Panetta, Gemba told the press that the Islands are covered by the security treaty between Japan and the US. In other words, Japan is claiming that America is siding with Japan
- Beijing protesters surrounded the U.S. ambassador to China’s car. They inflicted some damage to his vehicle and briefly prevented it from entering the U.S. Embassy compound in Beijing.
- The protesters chanted slogans such as (1) “down with the U.S. imperialists”; (2) “The U.S. government is the mastermind”, an apparent reference to the dispute over the island and the United States’ security treaty with Japan; and (3) “return the money!”, probably referring to the Chinese government’s purchase of U.S. government debt
What’s Going On?
The islands are small and uninhabited … so what’s really going on?