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A Game of Chicken over the Senkaku Islands

Updated on November 28, 2013

China has raised the dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the South China sea to high levels. The Chinese, Japan and Tawian claim them as theirs. Neither side has good past history and both dislike one another. Japan and China have a mutual friend, America, yet, only Japan has a treaty with the US for self-defense.

So, when China declared a new air defense around these islands. All foreign air or naval must identify themselves and seek approval from China to transit through. Those that do not comply with the regulation face a Chinese reaction that so far is absent. Was this a Chinese bluff? I doubt it. China does not like to lose "face" over this now that it has been announced. Yet, in defiance, the US and Japan both flew aircraft directly into and over the islands. The US sent two B-52 bombers. China then sent two large scouting aircraft escorted by fighters into Japan's long existing air defense zone. China has been laying claim to nearly 1 million square miles of ocean known as the East China Sea, insisting that the sea's energy resources and fisheries belong to China.

The US and Japan will be conducting maneuvers in the area consisting of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam, guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur, USS Lassen, USS McCampbell, USS Mustin, maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and a Navy submarine. China is upset about this.

So, China sent fighter jets and an early warning aircraft to patrol around the islands. They have also sent its only aircraft carrier to train in the area, suspicious at least. The only sure thing about what China might do to further intrusions is that nearly any other nation that enters this zone by air or sea will most likely get a no reaction. If, however, a Japanese ship or aircraft does so again, military action may result.

What China has done has increased the threat of war with such belligerent action from their rapid growth in the past 10 years. The islands have long belonged to Japan until China has become a world power. Suddenly, China feels it can act out on something they have long wanted to. This is worrisome for what other beliefs to they have that they have not acted upon because they do not feel strong enough?

A few weeks ago, Chinese TV ran press and radio programs about how Chinese submarines can now fire ICBM's with nuclear warheads to destroy many of the the US west coast cities from the South China Sea. The programs had maps and targeted cities and estimated that 12 million Americans would be killed.

What is the point to this rhetoric? Are they hinting that despite the close relations, there is a dark side to their military policy that differs from the political party?


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      Thanks, good insight, we'll see how this thing spins!

    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      This isn't suspicious at all. We all know what's going on now. It's the cold war version of one-upsmanship. We do something that annoys China, then they do something to annoy us and/or Japan. It is EXTREMELY unlikely that this will turn into a shooting war unless a commander on one side or the other does something really stupid, and even then it will be a short engagement that neither side will want to continue or escalate. This will go on for a while, and China will demand that their rules apply and we will demand that our rules apply. It's all to determine who has the bigger chip at the negotiating table. It wouldn't surprise me at all if China really doesn't want these islands, but wants something else that it will trade jurisdiction of the islands for.

      This is NOT.. I repeat NOT China throwing its weight around. They don't get anything out of a shooting war and neither do we or Japan. If China thought that they could seize the islands without any political repercussions, they already would have done so. They're not testing us to see if we'll push back if they pushed. They already know, or they wouldn't be there trying to "claim" jurisdiction.

      This is a political move by the Chinese. They want something, and I don't think it's those islands. They aren't in any better a position to take them by force than they were a year ago, ten years ago. So ask yourself; Why now?