Other Name(s): Diaoyu Islands (China)
The Players: China, Japan, Taiwan
The Dispute: Often described as little more than a few large rocks, this archipelago of five uninhabited islands and three reefs in the East China Sea has become the primary source of tension between China and Japan. Japan controls and patrols the area, but China and Taiwan separately also lay claim to it. A diplomatic crisis erupted in 2010, after Japan seized a Chinese fishing boat that collided with two coast guard vessels near the islands; the crew was later released. This week, Japanese police detained 14 Chinese activists who sailed from Hong Kong to the area, where seven of them jumped into the water and swam to the islands, sparking protests in China, where demonstrators burned paper flags of the Japanese military. The U.S. has officially maintained a neutral stance, urging the two nations to settle the dispute peacefully.
MORE: ‘Asia’s New Cold War’
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