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Why this Japan-China island dispute could become the next hotspot of Asian military



China flexes military muscle amid coronavirus pandemic

Both Tokyo and Beijing claim uninhabited islands, known as Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China, as their own, but Japan has managed them since 1972.

Tension over a rocky chain, 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo, has been boiling for years, and with claims for those from hundreds of years ago, neither Japan nor China would likely retreat in areas deemed birthright nationally in both capitals.

In that respect, the islands are no different from the rocky heights of the Himalayas, where decades of tension at the unclear border between China and India erupted late Monday, triggering clashes that left at least 20 Indian troops dead. .

The battle, though deadly, was relatively limited – and both sides have eased tensions in the days since then.

But the unexpected turmoil in Senkaku / Diaoyus could trigger a military confrontation between China and the United States.

That’s because the United States has a joint defense agreement with Japan. If Japanese territory is attacked by foreign powers, the United States must defend it.

Concerns about a possible confrontation escalated last week with announcements from Japanese coast guards that Chinese government ships have been seen in waters near the Senakaku / Diaoyu Islands every day since mid-April, setting a new record for the number of consecutive days.

On Friday, the apparition reached 67 consecutive days.

Take a strong attitude

Responding to the increasing presence of Chinese people, Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, reiterated Tokyo’s determination at a press conference last Wednesday.

“The Senkaku Islands are under our control and there is no doubt that our territory is historically and international law. It is very serious that this activity continues. We will respond to the Chinese side firmly and calmly,” Suga said.

In a statement Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry echoed the sentiment of the Japanese government, from the opposite perspective.

“Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are an inherent part of Chinese territory, and it is our right to conduct patrols and law enforcement activities in these waters.”

Similar comments were recently published in China Government-run Global Times newspaper. The report entitled “Japanese Conservatives disrupted the restoration of Sino-Japanese relations by igniting the Diaoyu Islands dispute,” criticizing ongoing efforts in Okinawa’s prefecture to change the administration of the islands, noting that it could jeopardize Japan-China relations.

On the surface, the move, proposed by the Ishigaki city council, where the islands are managed, seems harmless.

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According to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, the council wants to separate the islands from the densely populated parts of Ishigaki to streamline administrative practices.

But in a resolution before the Ishigaki City Council, the city “confirmed the islands were part of Japanese territory.”

This is the type of language that tickles in Beijing.

“Changing administrative appointments at this time can only make disputes more complicated and carry more crisis risks,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the Chinese Foreign Relations University, told the Global Times.

A vote in Ishigaki is expected at a council meeting Monday.

Before last week, the latest “crisis” in the islands occurred in 2012.

That year, Japan nationalized privately owned islands to ward off planned sales to the then governor of Tokyo, a hard-line nationalist who reportedly hoped to develop the islands.

People take pictures of Japanese cars damaged during protests against Japan's nationalization & # 39; The disputed Diaoyu Islands, also known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, in the Chinese city of Xi, on 15 September 2012.
The plan sparked massive and highly unusual street protests throughout China, amid a wave of nationalist sentiment.

The demonstration turned violent when protesters threw rubble at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, searched Japanese shops and restaurants and overturned Japanese cars.

In a vivid illustration of how the islands burned into Chinese consciousness, a Chinese man was beaten to a coma by his compatriot just because he was driving a Toyota Corolla.

History of contention

China says its claims to the islands reached the 1400s, when they were used as staging points for Chinese fishermen.

However, Japan said it did not see traces of Chinese control over the islands in the 1885 survey, so officially recognized them as Japan’s sovereign territory in 1895.

A group of settlers produce dried fish and collect fur, with islands that have more than 200 inhabitants at one point, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

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Japan then sold the islands in 1932 to descendants of the original migrants, but the factory failed around 1940 and the islands were eventually abandoned. Japan surrendered at the end of World War II in 1945 only served to further obscure this problem.

The islands were managed by US occupation forces after the war. But in 1972, Washington returned them to Japan as part of their withdrawal from Okinawa.

Divided Japanese people & # 39; The Rising Sun ' The flag was installed on dead fish during a demonstration in Taipei on September 14, 2010, above the disputed Senkaku / Diaoyu island chain.

Self-governing Taiwan, which Beijing considers a Chinese province, also claims ownership of the chain.

And objections to the administrative reclassification of the islands in Taiwan shows the depth that connects each of the complainant islands.

Tsai Wen-yi, a city council member in Taiwan’s Yilan County, said if Japanese changes occur, he would arrange a fleet of fishing vessels from the area to “defend” the islands from Japan, according to a report from the Taipei Times.
Japanese Land Self Defense Forces' amphibious assault vehicles hit the beach during amphibious landing exercises in the Philippines in 2018.
The Senkaku / Diaoyus Defense has been a priority of the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) in recent years. Council on Foreign Relations Tokyo records have established a new military base nearby to protect the islands. JSDF has also built its marines and drilled it in the island war.

Although the islands are uninhabited, there are economic interests involved, according to the CFR.

The islands “have potential oil and natural gas reserves, are close to famous shipping routes, and are surrounded by rich fishing grounds,” he said.

What could trigger a clash

That all adds to the potential problems, said William Choong, a senior colleague at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore

“Compared to other flashpoints in the region – the South China Sea, Taiwan and North Korea’s weapons program – the East China Sea combines a unique and flammable mix of history, honor and region,” Choong wrote this month in The Interpreter, a blog from the Lowy Institute in Australia.
Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) painted the screenplay where something easily imaged – a defective crew or landing an aircraft on one of the islands – can turn into a serious international incident.
Small islands that could explode China-Vietnam relations

“If a Chinese fishing crew, coast guard, or military member lands on the Senkakus, then the Japanese Coast Guard will definitely try to move them in law enforcement actions. But given that China does not recognize Japanese claims, it is certainly possible that Beijing can see this as escalation, which might result in a substantial military response from China, “the AMTI website said.

In the current climate in the Indo-Pacific, China indicates it is ready to push its claim. For example, in the South China Sea, China has moved planes to the artificial islands it has built; has sunk one Vietnamese fishing boat and crashed into another; it has harassed the survey vessel chartered by Malaysia and sent one of its belongings to waters claimed by Indonesia; in the past few weeks alone, Chinese warplanes have been warned by Taiwanese fighters at least five times.

And with an ironic nod to what happened in the East China Sea, Beijing reclassified the claims of the island in the South China Sea, making the Spratly / Nansha and Paracel / Xisha islands more prominent in the country’s government hierarchy.

Then there is the India-China border in the Himalayas. Before and after the deadly clashes last Monday, Chinese state-run media were full of stories and images of new military hardware that Beijing could take to the mountains.

Choong believes it is unwise to think Senkakus / Diaoyus was not marked for the same attention at some point.

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“The question is not whether China, which is now the target of a full press trial by the Americans, wants to challenge Japan over the islands. The question is when, and how? This is what keeps Japanese (and American) policymakers awake at night,” Choong wrote.

Junko Ogura, Kaori Enjoji, Shawn Deng, and Katie Hunt from CNN contributed to this report.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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