China and Escalation over the Senkaku Islands

In a recent article for a new journal, Global Summitry, I examine China’s behavior in the dispute with Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands. Before 2010, China adopted a low-key approach to the dispute. After 2010, however, China chose to escalate the dispute, first in response to Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing vessel in [...]

Maritime Awareness Project

A new website that I've helped to develop, the Maritime Awareness Project, launched yesterday. The main feature is an interactive map that allows users to depict different dimensions of the dispute.  The goal is to illuminate the complexity and consequences of maritime disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea. The site also [...]

China, Japan, and the U.S.—Will Cooler Heads Prevail?

I joined the conversation over the Asia Society's ChinaFile on tensions between the China, the United States and Japan. Specifically, I addressed a question “will China attempt to take the Senkakus by force?” Let me pick up on Isaac’s first question, “will China attempt to take the Senkakus by force?” Iain Johnston and I recently analyzed data on the frequency [...]

Chinese signaling in the East China Sea?

Iain Johnston and I have written a short piece over on The Monkey Cage blog.  Using new data from Japan's Coast Guard, we identify a significant decline in the frequency of Chinese patrols around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and explore some reasons for this change in behavior. Read the story here.

Xi Jinping and China’s Maritime Disputes

At the end of July, the Chinese Communist Party’s ruling Politburo held a special study session on the nation’s growing maritime power, which has helped cause controversy with several neighboring states. Official media reports about the meeting emphasized a speech by President Xi Jinping that repeated the main policy themes from the recent 18th Party [...]

Sinica podcast

During a recent trip to Beijing, I met up with Kaiser Kuo, one of the hosts of the outstanding Sinica podcast. We discussed recent developments in China's maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas, as well as the state of the Chinese navy. You can listen to the podcast here.  I had so [...]

Redefining the Status Quo

The most striking feature of China’s behavior in its maritime disputes this year has been efforts to redefine the status quo.  In its disputes with the Philippines and Japan, China has used the presence of its civilian maritime law enforcement agencies to create new facts on the water to strengthen China’s sovereignty claims. Before April [...]

Doubling Down in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands?

High-ranking diplomats from China and Japan met in Shanghai recently to hold consultations over the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands. Zhang Zhijun, vice minister of foreign affairs, met with his counterpart, Chikao Kawai. Details of the talks were not disclosed, but the continuation of consultations that started in September is important if the two sides seek [...]

Easing China-Japan Island Tensions

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently announced that Luo Zhaohui, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs, had made an unpublicized visit to Japan.  The purpose of his trip was to prepare for the next round of talks over the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands at the vice ministerial level, similar to those heldin late September. Overall, this [...]