Japan-China feud in South China Sea vexes both nations

The Japan China feud is growing. Photo by NASA images

Since the late 1800s, Japan and China have sparred over ownership of a small group of islands in the South China Sea. In September, the Japanese coast guard arrested a Chinese fishing captain in waters near the islands. The seizure of the Chinese boat further complicates already strained relations between the two countries as they position themselves to square off against each other at the Asia Pacific summit, which starts Nov. 13.

The Japan/China Senkaku dispute continues

Japan has been pressured more by Beijing about the islands because of China’s growing economic might, which is why the territorial dispute in the South China Sea has gotten stronger. The territory in question is known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China. Since Sept. 7, China-Japan relations are at their worst point in a while. This happened because a Chinese fishing boat was hit by two Japanese patrol ships. Japan’s arrest of the Chinese captain ignited a sustained campaign of diplomatic protests from Beijing that went on after Japan let the captain go. China demanded that Japan cease patrolling around the island. Japan has shown no indication it will back down.

The Japanese coast guard video

On YouTube, you can view the coast guard incident that made the Japan-China dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands even worse. The Japanese government tried to block the video because it didn’t want the dispute to get even worse. Still, on Nov. 5 it made its way to YouTube. Japanese TV broadcast the video of the collision and arrest over and over after it was released. YouTube is owned by Google. This is why prosecutors asked Google to look for who uploaded the video. Google said it would cooperate “within the legal scope” of the investigation.

Decisions for the Asia-Pacific summit

Because of the South China Sea incident, Japan and China have terrible relations. This has caused leaders from 21 nations in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to meet Nov. 13 to 15 in Yokohama. The discussion that the Asia-Pacific summit will have will be about balancing economic growth in the area. This is important because more than half the world’s economic output comes from here. Hopefully the meeting will include both Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. This way they’d be able to discuss the problem. China is blaming Japan for creating tension. Japanese analysts say that Chinese citizens don’t trust Japan at all. This is why it would be hard for China to cooperate with Japan without losing the citizens’ trust.

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