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(Opinion) China's Maritime Disputes: Trouble to the South, but the East Stays Quiet

2015-06-12 08:41:34       source:The Diplomat

By Andi Zhou

June 12, 2015

"The East China and South China Seas have long been cast as twin problem spots in the Asia-Pacific security landscape. Ensnared in complex and baggage-laden histories, both disputes have seemed equally intractable and have also been focus points for Beijing to flex its burgeoning military and coercive-diplomacy muscle. All observers expected tensions to keep rising in both disputes as China continues to build up its capabilities and brandish its hardened diplomatic resolve.

But the last year has seen the disputes evolve in dramatically divergent ways. Tensions have dropped perceptibly, if not significantly, over the East China Sea. Unplanned encounters between boats and aircraft have decreased and China's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) has not substantially hampered routine air traffic over the disputed area as many feared when the ADIZ was initially declared. The leaders of China and Japan have even held two terse face-to-face meetings that nonetheless broke a long-time freeze in high-level official interaction between the two sides."

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