The Nelson Report (no link, have to subscribe) reports:
SUMMARY: the long-simmering Japan-China contest over maritime sovereignty and resources in the Senkakus (Daiyou in Beijing and Taipei) reached a new crisis point today with China denying the informally presumed "median line" and saying it had the right to go after oil and natural gas anywhere it wants.Anyone who imagines that China will keep a "grand bargain" under which Taiwan can be annexed to China in return for something is on crack.
In short, that per the controversial "9-Dash Line" declarations which are seen by much of Asia as China's way of claiming control over virtually the entire East and South China Seas resources, Beijing today seems to be claiming rights to everything up to the Okinawa Trough.
The specific cause of outrage from Tokyo, and concern in the US and elsewhere, is a Chinese oil rig under construction since 2013, but carefully placed on the "Chinese side" of the median line, presumably to align with the 2008 joint development agreement with Japan.
Unfortunately, as the Japanese are correct in pointing out, China has since then repeatedly refused to agree to implementation of the deal...this one isn't on Tokyo, experts agree.
So now the concern is that "next" will be China taking the risk of placing a drill on the "Japan side" of the line, with the customary "escort" of armed PLA Coast Guard et al, and a consequent crisis-inducing decision if Abe feels he must try and stop it.
That the PM has been worried about precisely this sort of war-risk decision is clear from his two private complaints to President Xi Jingping, last November in Beijing, and this year in Jakarta, sources note. And to emphasize Abe's concerns, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga "went public" on July 6...obviously to no avail.
Loyal Reader experts speculate that Suga was turned loose for several reasons: first, and most obviously, Japan is really angry; second, China's actions were and are seen as boosting Abe's case with the public and the Diet for amending Japan's security policy and legislation; third, possibly to deflect from the lack of an "apology" to China in the PM's upcoming WW2 70th Anniversary statement.
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