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China-Japan Territorial Dispute Mounts; U.S. Reservation About China's Expansion Likely to Fuel Tensions Updated: 2012-09-19 12:00:00 KST

China-Japan Territorial Dispute Mounts; U.S. Reservation About China's Expansion Likely to Fuel Tensions
While it is not yet clear whether 1-thousand Chinese fishing boats will make their way towards the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands as reported earlier by Chinese media, Japan has deployed 50 patrol ships to the area in the East China Sea.
This according to Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun Wednesday, a day after Beijing sent a dozen surveillance vessels to a zone near the islands.
Angry about Japan's purchase of the disputed islands, hundreds of thousands of protesters in more than 1-hundred Chinese cities continued to vandalize Japanese diplomatic missions and Japanese-owned businesses.

[Interview : Yoshihiko Noda, Japanese Prime Minister] "It's important to avoid adversities by responding in a calm manner. We strongly call for China's restraint."

Meanwhile, anti-Chinese sentiment has spread throughout Japan, with a latest report saying a smoke bomb was thrown in the direction of a Chinese consulate general in Fukuoka.
As tensions continue to escalate, Washington's implicit support of Tokyo is becoming more evident.
During talks with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta urged both sides to exercise calm and restraint, calling for a peaceful resolution through dialogue.
This, after the U.S. defense chief had earlier expressed concerns about provocations in the region, most likely referring to anti-Japanese sentiment in China.
The Chinese defense minister, meanwhile, said Beijing opposes the inclusion of the disputed territory in Washington's security pact with Tokyo, because the islands are Chinese.

[Interview : Liang Guanglie, Chinese Defense Minister] "In the future, we will continue to follow very closely the evolvement of the situation with regards of this dispute. And we reserve the rights for further actions."

With so much at stake, most analysts don't expect China and Japan to engage in a military conflict over the islands.
However, Washington's hardline stance on Beijing's growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region may fuel tensions surrounding the East China Sea.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.
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