The LA Times reports that Japanese and Chinese warplanes played footsie over the Senkakus.
Chinese and Japanese fighter planes tailed each other over a disputed cluster of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, raising alarm that a miscalculation could set off an armed confrontation.This was followed by the usual warnings (same article)
Chinese military authorities ordered two J-10 fighter planes to perform what China called “verification and monitoring” on Friday after a Chinese transport plane was tailed by Japanese F-15 fighter jets. The incident above the islands, known as Senkaku to the Japanese and Diaoyu to the Chinese, was the most potentially dangerous in months of escalating tensions over the islands.
"There is far more at stake here than a small cluster of islands. Crisis-mitigation mechanisms need to be urgently reinstated and communication increased between Beijing and Tokyo to reduce the risks of an accidental clash or escalation," warned Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, China and Northeast Asia project director for the International Crisis Group, in an editorial last week.Humanity's dominant mode of response to its problems is magical thinking and in our age, the two primary theaters of operation for magical thinking are advertising and politics. Crisis mitigation mechanisms and increased communication.... It's just magical thinking. Accio....solution! Imagine this as an essay question for an exam: Please explain how crisis-mitigation mechanisms will solve this problem. Be concrete.
Good luck with that one.
Let's be concrete. The crisis isn't caused by a lack of communication or crisis containment mechanisms. It didn't arise because of "tension" or ambiguous and conflicting claims. It is caused by China's desire to expand its territory at Japan's expense. It can only be solved when that desire ceases.
Hence "crisis-mitigation mechanisms" -- whatever they may be -- won't work because they help legitimate China's expansionist tendencies, either by treating them as a non-issue for future treatment ("Look, we've got to solve this immediate crisis. We can deal with the cause later.") or by treating the Chinese claim as morally equal to the Japanese one. Either way, China wins. They also help China by lowering the risk that war will occur before Beijing is ready, a fear which might otherwise deter China from taking risky actions. Perhaps they will help extend the era of peace by giving Beijing the idea that it might get the Senkakus via negotiations brokered by the other powers....
The Abe government in Japan also announced increased military spending this week, thanks to the threat from Beijing. This will be adduced by Beijing as further evidence of Japan's "re-militarization" (to understand that, see this good piece from CSIS on the way Beijing says it sees Japan). China is also deploying the old "creating tension" tactic it used so successfully against Taiwan during the Chen years:
China accused Japan yesterday of “creating tension,” a day after China’s air force scrambled two fighters in response to a flight by Japanese jets to intercept a Chinese military plane near Japan-controlled islands, the latest incident between the countries following months of tension over the disputed islands.Chinese officials have also attempted to use its old trick of transferring tension from the Beijing-Taipei relationship to the Taipei-Washington relationship, in this case, attempting to move tension between Beijing and Tokyo to the Tokyo-Washington relationship.
Jens Kastner, a local freelance reporter, argued over at World Politics Review that Japan may turn to Taiwan as it confronts China. It that happens, what will the Abe government find? A President and party allied to China in its quest to expand and happily enabling that expansion by "reducing tensions" across the Taiwan Strait -- which enables China to ramp them up elsewhere. How cooperative will such a Taiwan be? Imagine if the United States had supported the DPP candidate instead of Ma Ying-jeou. Japan (and the US) would then be facing a friendly government in Taipei with no place to turn to but Tokyo and Washington.
One key piece of positive fallout from Beijing's push in the Senkakus and the South China Sea may well be its ability to paint the next DPP government as "provoking tension." China has made it blatantly obvious that Beijing itself is the source of tension....
- Criminalization of adultery? You have to be caught in the act, and satisfying the standard is really difficult. It remains a total waste of police and prosecutorial time.
- Executions put Ma Administration on the spot. Actually, the death penalty is quite popular in Taiwan.
- People's Daily on how Chinese tourists in Taiwan are treated like cattle by their travel agencies.
- If Fourth Nuclear Plant isn't completed, electricity prices will rise! Shock doctrine fallout: if the government didn't make so many empty, stupid threats in order to get people to accept nukes, people would probably trust nuclear power more. Anyone remember the brownouts in the '90s when the government was trying to get the fourth nuke plant accepted?
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