18 June 2013
Territorial Disputes in Asia:
Many Players, Many Tensions
and No Solutions
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.
The conflict between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea is currently most explosive one in the region and it cannot be excluded that misperception and Chinese navy commanders acting without civilian approval from Beijing could result in a Japanese-Chinese military clash. China is not alone in the region promoting unconstructive policies related to territorial claims in East and Southeast Asia. As the authors explain, Japan, Russia, India
and South Korea too more often than not insist on refusing to negotiate on their respective territorial claims in a constructive and result-oriented manner. Helped by the re-emergence of nationalism and historical revisionism in Asia, the region’s territorial disputes are arguably an enormous waste of political resources and capital when the region should instead focus on further and result-oriented economic, financial and ideally also political integration.
Uncertain Borders:
Territorial Disputes in Asia
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...
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Hongzhou Zhang and
Mingjiang Li
Sino-Indian Border Disputes
Sino-Indian relations have been marred by their territorial disputes in the past decades. Tensions and disputes in the border region are likely to continue to occur from time to time in the foreseeable future, but the two countries have demonstrated strong political will...
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Territorial Disputes in Northeast Asia: a Primer
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...
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The Historical Background
to the Territorial Dispute
over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
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...
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Standing Up to the Challenge: China's Approach
to its Maritime Disputes
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...
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Axel Berkofsky
Senior Associate Research Fellow ISPI, presents the study.
Research Team
Axel Berkofsky (Head of Research), Mingjiang Li, Francesco Mancini, Paul O’Shea, Donatello Osti, Zhongqi Pan, Hongzhou Zhang
ISSN N° 2281-3152
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