The spark of this conflict was the purchase last week by Japan of the privately held Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in Chinese). This purchase sparked a flurry of protests, both official and unofficial, in China. China has quelled the most violent protests, but the government has officially encouraged a boycott of Japanese products. In addition to threatening sanctions, China is sending commercial as well as scientific patrol and monitoring vessels to the disputed islands. Specifically, it could become a thorny issue in Sino-U.S. relations since Beijing views Washington as siding with Tokyo. In this analysis, LIGNET examines the rising tensions between Asia’s two largest powers and implications for the United States.
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