China vs Japan: East China Sea tensions on a knife edge – Beijing ‘using force’

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In a crunch 40-minute meeting with Japan’s defence ministry, Taro Kano warned Beijing against incursions near to the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. During the meeting on Tuesday, the Japanese minister also discussed the escalating tensions in the South China Sea. The two sides have clashed repeatedly over the sovereignty of the islands.

Shoichi Yamada, a professor of international relations at Japan’s Fukui Prefectural University warned Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe may be wary of incurring any Chinese retaliation against Tokyo.

He added: “Kono spoke with the Chinese ambassador this week and asked him to ensure that the Chinese military makes no provocative moves around the islands, so the Japanese government is doing something, but they are using diplomacy while China is using force.

“I believe that one of the most simple moves would be to carry out the survey of the islands that has already been proposed, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is quite reasonably afraid that could provoke China into a military retaliation.”

The Senkaku Islands are located to the south of Japan, in the East China Sea.

They are currently administered by Japan but China maintains the islands stand within it’s One China policy.

On Sunday, China lifted its ban on fishing boats entering the waters around the islands.

Considering China’s actions in the region, professor Yamada also warned the US could no longer be relied upon to aid Japan.

He added: “We have to be realistic.

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“Right now, the Japan Self-Defence Forces are not strong enough to confront the Chinese military on our own, and it is not clear what the US is thinking at the moment.”

Taiwan also lies in the East China Sea and like the Senkaku Islands, Beijing sees it as a part of mainland China.

Following US Defense Secretary, Alex Azar’s visit to the island last week, China warned of serious repercussions in response.

Mr Azar was the first high-level official to visit Taiwan since 1979.

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Due to his arrival, Chinese officials claimed the US now risked inflaming tensions in the region.

In a further blow to China’s relations with the island, Taiwan has also stepped up to welcome new arrivals from Hong Kong.

The administration announced the provision in order to stop Chinese spies settling on the island.

President of the country, Tasi Ing-wen has maintained Taiwan’s independence throughout her tenure.

She also welcomed a new £47billion deal between the US and Taiwan.

Under this deal, Taiwan will be able to buy fighter jets from China.

However, amid escalating tensions, China has unveiled its own new weapons system.

State media showed the Tianlei 500 surface-to-air missile and munitions dispenser over the weekend.

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