U.S. silence over island dispute risks escalation in East China Sea, analysts say

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Mr. Shintaro’s stunt prompted a fierce reaction in China where mobs attacked Japanese diplomatic facilities and businesses. China responded by deploying coast guard and non-military patrol ships to the islands to accompany its fishing vessels, which troll the islands’ waters under a deal with Tokyo.

Since then, the islands have been the site for several high-profile confrontations between Chinese and Japanese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels.

In September, Tsai Eng-meng, a pro-China media mogul in Taiwan, underwrote sending a flotilla of 50 Taiwanese fishing vessels to the islands. The demonstration was designed to underline their rights to fish the islands’ waters, the fishermen said.

Mr. Tsai soon followed up with a call in his pro-Communist Party newspaper, the China Times, for China and Taiwan to cooperate to pursue a joint claim to the islands.

“Some countries are concerned about cooperation between Taiwan and Mainland China in dealing with sovereignty and maritime issues,” Mr. Song acknowledged.

But, he added, cooperation is necessary in areas such as “law enforcement at the lower levels.”

Such cooperation should include “a trilateral mechanism among [fisheries and law enforcement agencies of] China, Taiwan and Japan to avoid escalation of conflicts in disputed waters,” he said.

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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