“Rebalancing” to the Asia Pacific is the signature foreign policy initiative of the Obama administration. Despite the attention it has rightfully garnered, the rebalance remains poorly understood. In addition to misapprehension about its fundamental principles, discussion appears to be dominated by what this policy isn’t rather than what it is. This essay aims to clear up the confusion, explain what the U.S. is doing as it shifts its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region, and its implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance.
The existence of territorial and diplomatic disputes in East Asia raises serious concerns and, if escalated, could risk the region’s stability and prosperity. Focusing on three territorial and diplomatic disputes involving Japan, the Northern Territories, Takeshima, and the Senkaku Islands, this article explores ways to manage those disputes so as to maintain regional stability and prevent the situation from escalating in consistent with international law, practice and norms. The most basic principles to be adhered in this regard include, first, allowing the other party (or parties) to disagree, and second, maintaining the status quo not trying to change it by force. While these measures cannot by themselves solve the disputes, we at least need to prevent the current tensions from escalating into armed conflicts amongst the involved parties.
On December 17, 2010, Tokyo adopted new defense guidelines, the “National Defense Program Guidelines” (NDPG). The December 2010 defense guidelines outline the country’s ten-year defense strategy and call for the establishment of a flexible armed forces structure with mobile units capable of rapid deployment in the case of a regional military crisis.
Territorial disputes are very much back on Asia’s security agenda. As the papers authored by Asian and European scholars and analysts explain, China is involved in many of the region’s territorial conflicts in East and Southeast Asia. Beijing’s increasingly assertive policies related to territorial claims in the East China and South China Seas are evidence that China’s economic and military rise is not only peaceful. Japan’s assessment of China’s policies related to territorial claims in the East China Sea is equally unfavorable. Beijing’s strategy to establish what Beijing refers to as ‘dual control’ in Japanese-controlled territorial waters airspace through naval and aerial intrusions confirm policymakers in Tokyo that Beijing is indeed a military threat directly challenging Japanese territorial integrity.
Despite the recent hike in attention devoted to a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute in the East China Sea, skirmishes between China and Japan over the control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islets are nothing new. Periodically, tensions arise among Japan, China, and Taiwan over this small group of islets. This paper examines the legal grounds on which Japan’s claim to the islands rest. It emphasizes the historical ties that have led Japan to exercise administrative control over the islands.
This analysis evaluates the key factors involved in Japan's three territorial disputes with Russia, China and South Korea. First, the analysis provides a brief background for each dispute, examining their origins in Japan's pre-World War II Imperial expansion and the post-war settlement.
Territorial disputes in Asia remain a serious challenge to peace, stability, and prosperity of the region. In fact, of all interstate disputes, those over territory tend to be nearly twice as likely as other issues to lead to armed conflict. A mix of political and economic interests, normative reasons, and competition over scarce natural resources has been suggested as drivers of conflict over disputed territories. In Asia today, geopolitical shifts, natural resources, and environmental degradation are a source of concern.
In dealing with its maritime disputes, China has lately followed an intransigent approach to strengthen its sovereignty claims in the China seas (The East China Sea and South China Sea) Beijing asserts not only its sovereign right but also its actual control of those disputed islands. By regularly dispatching maritime patrol vessels and surveillance aircrafts to the surrounding waters and skies, China has brought the Huangyan islands from the Philippines back under its control and made what is referred to as 'dual control' of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands a new reality.
North Korea will continue to remain East Asia’s trouble-maker. Pyongyang’s active missile and nuclear programs leave the region’s main powers - China, Japan, South Korea and the ‘offshore balancer’ US - stay on alert, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Pyongyang has no intention whatsoever to give up and dismantle its missile and nuclear programs as it would leave the country with no bargaining tools to employ for its political blackmail policies. China remains a staunch supporter of the current status quo, i.e.