Dangerous aerial and naval encounters are rising as China and Japan spar over disputed islands in the East China Sea. A promising reconciliation process has floundered. To prevent an accident tipping the dispute into open hostility, both sides urgently need a credible crisis management protocol to insulate any negotiations from their broader rivalry.
The race for hydrocarbon reserves in the South China Sea is aggravating conflicting territorial claims. The regional players need cooperation, yet have increasingly open confrontations at sea. For peaceful joint energy development, all parties need to stop acting unilaterally and do more to understand the others’ goals and limitations.
The South China Sea is the cockpit of geopolitics in East Asia, and growing tensions pose a serious threat to stability in the region. China and ASEAN must take advantage of the currently favourable environment to establish new codes of crisis management, especially at sea, to withstand any new conflicts.
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.
China’s influence is growing rapidly in Central Asia at a time when the region is looking increasingly unstable.
The long-simmering South China Sea dispute is doomed to escalate if the countries contesting its waters fail to take steps to reduce tensions.
China is one of its own worst enemies in the South China Sea, as its local governments and agencies struggle for power and money, inflaming tensions with its neighbours, illustrated by Beijing’s latest standoff with the Philippines.
China is undermining its own security interests by downplaying North Korea’s deadly provocations in the Yellow Sea.
The Korean Standoff: Beijing's Role
24 June 2010: Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Crisis Group's China Adviser and North East Asia Project Director, discusses China's response to the sinking of the Cheonan, as well as its position on proposed UN Security Council actions against North Korea. Listen
China in Central Asia
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