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Bridging Troubled Waters

China, Japan, and Maritime Order in the East China Sea

James Manicom

Publication Year: 2014

Sino-Japanese relations have been repeatedly strained by the territorial dispute over a group of small islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China. The rich fishing grounds, key shipping lanes, and perhaps especially, potentially rich oil deposits around the islands exacerbate this dispute in a confluence of resource pressures, growing nationalism, and rising military spending in the region.

Bridging Troubled Waters reminds us that the tensions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are only a part of a long history of both conflict and cooperation in maritime relations between Japan and China. James Manicom examines the cooperative history between China and Japan at sea and explains the conditions under which two rivals can manage disputes over issues such as territory, often correlated with war.

China and Japan appear incapable of putting history behind them, are poised on the brink of a strategic rivalry, and seem at risk of falling into an unintentional war over disputed maritime claims. Bridging Troubled Waters challenges this view by offering a case-by-case analysis of how China and Japan have managed maritime tensions since the dispute erupted in 1970. The author advances an approach that offers a trade-off between the most important stakes in the disputed maritime area with a view to establishing a stable maritime order in the East China Sea. The book will be of interest to policymakers, academics, and regional specialists in Asia, security studies, and international conflict and cooperation.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This Work began as a PhD dissertation in international relations at Flinders University in Adelaide. Therefore, thanks are due first and foremost to my supervisor, Andrew O’Neil, who has supported my work since 2004 and continues to provide mentorship and friendship. The School of Political...

List of Acronyms

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Disorder at Sea?

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pp. 1-14

On Spetember 7, 2010, a Chinese fishing boat collided with a Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) vessel in the East China Sea. The collision took place near a group of islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Totaling an area of 7 square kilometers, the five islets and nearby rock

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Chapter One: Cooperation and the Value of Maritime Space

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pp. 15-41

This is a book about the ebb and flow of cooperation between two rivals over disputed maritime space. The analysis compares five attempts at cooperation in the East China Sea in the areas of disputed sovereignty, fisheries management, marine surveys, and hydrocarbon resource development...

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Chapter Two: The Collapse of Cooperation over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

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pp. 42-65

The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands lie at the center of Sino-Japanese maritime relations. Claims to the islands emerged following the publication of a bullish report on the hydrocarbon wealth of the East Asian seabed in 1969. This chapter examines the origins of the dispute and traces the evolution...

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Chapter Three: Cooperation on Fisheries, 1997–2000

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pp. 66-91

China and Japan reached a compromise on their maritime jurisdiction in the East China Sea in November 1997, when they signed the China– Japan Fisheries Agreement. The final agreement was not completed until February 2000, and it came into force in June 2000.1 The agreement is an...

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Chapter Four: Cooperation on Marine Research Activities, 2000–2001

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pp. 92-121

The second instance of Sino-Japanese cooperation over the East China Sea dispute occurred in February 2001, when the two sides exchanged a note verbale promising to notify the other when they undertook marine surveys in disputed waters. Once again, the conflict of interest...

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Chapter Five: Resource Development in the East China Sea, 2005–2008

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pp. 122-165

In 2004 China and Japan became embroiled in a dispute over hydrocarbon resource development in the East China Sea. The Chunxiao gas field lies approximately 5 kilometers west of Japan’s median line in China’s claimed waters. It was discovered in 2001 and is operated by the China...

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CHAPTER SIX: Managing Two Maritime Powers

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pp. 166-198

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, cooperation over contested jurisdiction in the East China Sea seems farfetched. In 2012, the contestedsymbolic issue of the sovereignty of the disputed islands resurfaced after a secondary political actor, Tokyo governor Ishihara Shintaro, embarked on...

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Conclusion: Building Maritime Order in the East China Sea

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pp. 199-208

Despite periods of severe tension, the evidence presented in this book suggests that China and Japan are quite capable of managing the tensions that arise from their contested sovereignty and jurisdiction in the East China Sea. Beijing and Tokyo have repeatedly articulated some kind...


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pp. 209-252


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pp. 253-266

E-ISBN-13: 9781626160361
E-ISBN-10: 1626160368

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 3 maps, 7 figures, 2 tables
Publication Year: 2014