1st Edition

The China-Japan Conflict over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Useful Rivalry

By Anna Costa Copyright 2018
    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book examines the foreign and security policies adopted by China and Japan since the 1970s in their competition over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.  It charts the development of a dispute that has become a potential flashpoint for conflict between the two countries. The book explains that while increasing nationalism in both China and Japan helps to fuel and sustain the dispute, a key factor is that the leaderships in both countries find competition over the islands to be a convenient vehicle supporting their wider approach to foreign and security policy, which is becoming increasingly assertive and potentially belligerent.





    CHAPTER ONE: Contested Territory

    The dispute: what it is and why it matters

    An expression of competitive politics in East Asia

    Mining data on the dispute

    Legal, historical and geographical evidence brought to sovereignty claim

    Japan’s official position

    The PRC’s official position

    The US official position

    CHAPTER TWO: Neo-Classical Realism and Managed Strategic Confrontation

    Theorizing foreign policy

    Neoclassical realism

    China and Japan as ‘useful rivals’: managed strategic confrontation

    A focus on nationalism

    Foreign and Security Policy Actors

    CHAPTER THREE: The Islands’ Economic and Strategic Value

    Economic value of the islands: EEZ and resource exploitation

    Strategic value of the islands

    The islands and China’s growing maritime power

    The islands and Japan’s shift towards greater activism

    CHAPTER FOUR: The Cold War Phase of the Dispute

    1970s—Scrambling for oil or global recognition?

    The islands and the reversion of Okinawa (1971)

    The islands, diplomatic normalisation (1972) and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1978)

    Analysis: the islands are neither a priority, nor are they in reach

    The islands, US ambivalence and the Taiwan issue

    The islands and peripheral Chinese nationalism

    1980s: Bilateral tensions and quiet around the islands

    CHAPTER FIVE: The Post-Cold War Phase of the Dispute

    1990 and 1996 cycles of the islands crisis: bilateral restraint

    2004-2005 cycle of the islands crisis: Beijing sanctions limited domestic activism

    2010 cycle: the issue becomes highly politicized

    2012 cycle: Japan’s transfer of ownership



    Anna Costa completed her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong. Her research centres on the contemporary international relations of East Asia. She is an Honorary Assistant Professor of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Department of Modern China Studies, of The University of Hong Kong.