09 July 2015

Asahi Shimbun Op-Ed: “Japan-China Crisis Management–The Urgent Need for Air-Sea Contact Mechanism”

Adam P. Liff and Andrew S. Erickson, “Japan-China Crisis Management–The Urgent Need for Air-Sea Contact Mechanism,” op-ed, Asahi Shimbun, 9 July 2015.

Since September 2012, two concrete drivers of Sino-Japanese tensions have soared to unprecedented highs: Chinese military and paramilitary activity in the waters and airspace surrounding the Senkaku (Chinese: Diaoyu) Islands, and Japanese fighter jet scrambles against approaching Chinese planes.

Meanwhile, Sino-Japanese antipathy has reached post-normalization peaks, polls suggest. The United States pledges to support Japan in the event of a conflict–a commitment U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated at April’s Washington summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Since the summit between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping last November, the ice between Tokyo and Beijing has begun to thaw. But crowded waters and airspace in the East China Sea still make the risk of miscalculation or low-level encounters escalating into a major crisis too great for comfort. …

For a shorter, Japanese-language version of the present argument, see アダム・リフ、アンドリュー・エリクソン [Adam Liff and Andrew Erickson], “日中間の危機管理–海空連絡メカニズム急げ” [Japan-China Crisis Management—Expedite an Air-Sea Contact Mechanism],(私の視点)[Our Perspective (Op-Ed)], 朝日新聞 [Asahi Shimbun], 4 July 2015.