Senkaku Islands Dispute: War Between China and Japan As Likely As the Cubs Winning the World Series

Japan and China going to war over the Senkaku Islands is about as likely the Cubs winning the World Series, according to an expert based in Asia. 

Reports of China maneuvering 11 warships into Japanese-controlled waters near the resource-rich, disputed Senkaku Islands sent the international media into a tizzy over the prospect of a war between the two fierce rivals that could potentially put the United States into the position of having to choose between an important ally and its biggest trading partner.

“That isn’t going to happen,” said the source, unauthorized to talk to the media about this matter and declining to be named. Japan has claims to the island going back to the Meiji era, which mainly took place in the last half of the 19th century, the expert added.

The latest row over the islands is the result of Japan purchasing the islands from a private family, setting off massive protests in China – especially Xi’an – and causing the Chinese warships to patrol the waters around the islands.

China, which calls the islands Diaoyu, only became interested in the islands after oil reserves were discovered under them in 1968. And, along with Taiwan, has claimed sovereignty over them since.

Likely due to the history of strained relations between the two countries, China refuses to accept international arbitration, the source says. The Communist regime, which has a history of brutally suppressing any rebellions, seems willing to allow this one to continue.

“Reminding the Chinese population about (Manchuria) every so often creates an external enemy,” the expert said. “A billion angry peasants being [unhappy with] the Japanese is better than them being [unhappy with] the central government.”

The source also noted that CCTV is airing propaganda about the issue and not reporting real facts in order to rile up the population, possibly to distract them from the upcoming change of leadership within the Communist Party.

“Meanwhile, the Japanese population [doesn’t] take it seriously,” added the expert.

While the source doesn’t see war as a real possibility, a stray shot fired over a few brows isn’t necessarily out of the question.

“The real tragedy right now,” the source says, “there’s some 24-year-old kid in the Japanese Coast Guard who has a family and friends. At some point he’s going to take a .50 caliber round over this.”

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Ryan Gorman

Ryan's work has been featured in the NY Daily News, Gothamist and the Wall Street Letter. His work has been cited by both the Colbert Report and Time Magazine's website. Ryan worked on Wall Street for five years before returning to school to finish a degree in journalism at St. John's University.

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