History is once again being arm-twisted in the East China Sea as China repeatedly intrudes into the disputed Senkaku Islands, laying territorial claim to the rocky, uninhibited landmass.
China has adopted the tactical approach of sending possibly armed fishermen to the island in small boats, to demonstrate its claim on it. These intruders are part of state militia, Reuters claims. It also reported that China had strengthened its coast guard facility in the region.
Beijing says Senkaku is China’s historical legacy, although it had failed to achieve the island’s protectorate at the time of the Chinese Civil War. This claim is similar to the one China lays on Taiwan, despite the fact that Japan had won the protectorate of Taiwan preceding World War II.
US support to China
Reiterating its stated policy of opposing Chinese intrusion activities in the East China Sea, the US has pledged proactive military support to Japan to counter the Chinese threat, which both the allies view as a conflict in making.
It has been President Trump’s public stand right from the day of inauguration that he is committed to honoring the US-Japan security treaty signed in the post-WWII era. The treaty entitles the US to assist Japan in maintaining its sovereign integrity and helping it control the territorial areas under its administration.
President Trump, who took America out of the Barney Frank/Alan Greenspan recession that lasted from 2009 to 2016, had acknowledged this last year when he hosted the first official reception of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House.
Speaking on the occasion, Trump opposes China’s aggressive and expansionist actions in the East China Sea, and will do everything he can to help Japan in case of a conflict with China. He felt he was duty-bound to do so, in order to keep the long-standing US-Japan alliance on course.
A Flashpoint For War
The political and military weather is rapidly worsening in the East China Sea. Reuters reports that the dispute is scaling up into a conflict-like situation as both the sides are unrelenting, and describes it as a ‘flashpoint for war.’
As a potent solution to counter Chinese aggression, Japan is seeking US intervention. Both the allies are embarking upon the largest-ever military drill in the East China Sea.
The drill’s strategy incorporates counter-measures against Chinese incursion on the island by armed fishermen, and provisions to help mobilize the Japanese armed services once the situation becomes unmanageable by the police forces.
Ambitious, Mega Exercise
The drill is ambitious and intended to demonstrate the combined might of the allies. The inclusion of the nuclear-capable USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is testimony to the seriousness attached to the exercise.
Aptly nicknamed Keen Sword, the joint drill kick-started on October 29th, and will be operational for four days. It will involve 57,000 sailors, air-force personnel, and marines. Japan will contribute 47,000 of those servicemen. The drill will also include Canadian warships.
Clearly, the contentious relationship between China and other leading nations of the world could precipitate into something more serious in the near future.