The Sino-Japanese Maritime Disputes in the East China Sea

CIMSEC – In August 2020 China lifted the annual summer ban on its fleet’s fishing in the East China Sea (ECS). Amid speculation that China may use the opportunity to assert its claim over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, U.S. and Japanese naval forces conducted a joint exercise in the ECS to deter China. While much focus is paid to the Chinese claim of sovereignty over the Senkakus (China calls them Diaoyu), the dispute over the islands is partially nested within a larger dispute over the broader Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ)/Continental Shelf boundary dispute between the two countries. As such, the implications of the islands’ sovereignty over the broader maritime boundary dispute and the respective strategies of China and Japan warrant closer examination.