In East China Sea, China continued its maritime presence and conducted operations with Russia.
As of 25 Aug, Japan had spotted 95 Chinese vessels in its contiguous zone during month. It detected 16 such ships in its territorial sea over three days in Aug. Notably, China’s Maritime Security Administration 9 and 12-14 Aug held military exercises in waters adjacent to Chinese city Ningbo. Joint China-Russia flotilla consisting of around 10 ships 17 Aug operated in East China Sea, after it had sailed near Alaska earlier in Aug; China’s foreign ministry said passage was consistent with international law. Japan next day spotted two Russian IL-38 information-gathering aircraft flying between Sea of Japan and East China Sea, prompting Japan to scramble its fighter jets. Japan 25 Aug sent fighter jets to monitor two Chinese air force bombers flying between Okinawa and Miyako islands.
Last week the world watched the first-ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a U.S. president. Crisis Group offers a 360-degree view of how the summit played in the U.S., the Korean peninsula, China and Japan – and what it may mean going forward.
The greatest risk to the 12 June summit between the U.S. and North Korea is mismatched expectations. To avoid a return to escalatory rhetoric, both parties should keep hopes modest and adopt an action-for-action approach as part of a four-step plan for denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.
Facing uncertain times in U.S. policy and a pivot to diplomacy from North Korea, leaders of China, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo on 9 May to downplay historical grievances and show their support for denuclearisation, trade and better relations. But underlying disputes could still resurface.
Japan and China should use a new maritime and aerial communication mechanism to manage disputes with professionalism, dialogue and diplomacy.
The deterioration in relations between China and Japan has spiraled beyond an island sovereignty dispute and risks an armed conflict neither wants. A November regional summit is a fence-mending opportunity – if the two countries’ leaders rise above nationalism and manage multiple flashpoints.
China and Japan must begin talks on crisis prevention and mitigation regarding the disputed waters of the East China Sea to avoid an accidental clash that could lead to a larger conflict.
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