Sino-Japan relations in Asia’s maritime worlds
This chapter evaluates the extent to which this bilateral relationship has observable effects in the maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. It endeavours to do both in some measure with reference to the operation of Sino-Japanese rivalry in the politics of the South China Sea disputes. Direct operational confrontation between Chinese and Japanese vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would be an important milestone in the incorporation of Sino-Japanese rivalry into the South China Sea disputes and the establishment of a robust East Asian multiplex. Japan's expanding operational presence in the South China Sea and Chinese reactions to it provides the strongest evidence of the centrality of Sino-Japanese rivalry to the nature of Japan's engagement with the South China Sea. The chapter concludes with increasing extension of Sino-Japanese rivalry from the East China Sea into the South China Sea, and what that might portend for the East Asian seascape.