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The War that Never Was? Japan, China, and the Struggle for the Maritime Order
- Alessio Patalano
The rise of tensions in Sino-Japanese relations during the period 2012-2014 led a number of international commentators to stress the real risk of a war breaking out between the two neighbouring East Asian giants. Chinese claims over a set of islands under Japanese control known as Senkaku (and Diaoyu in Chinese) rested at the heart of the contention. Military tensions in the waters surrounding the islands and in the skies above them characterised the downward spiralling of the relationship. Two years on, war has not happened, and the Sino-Japanese relationship seems to be slowly improving. What has happened during this time? Have the problems that seemed insurmountable then disappeared? Is the year 2014 going down in history as the year of the ‘war that never was’?