Eric Akashi - stock.adobe.com
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Editor’s Note: This piece by features quotes from CSP Senior Fellow, Grant Newsham.


Two Chinese coast guard vessels sailed into Japanese territorial waters near a group of contested East China Sea islets on Thursday, according to Tokyo.

The vessels entered the territorial waters of the Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyu Islands, at approximately 4:55 p.m., the 11th Regional Coast Guard in Okinawa prefecture stated.

“China fully intends to seize the Senkakus—when the time is right, Grant Newsham, a retired Marine colonel who served alongside Japan’s defense forces,” told Newsweek.

Calling Beijing’s strategy “taking the Senkakus by osmosis rather than by storm,” he said China’s presence in the area has expanded over the last 15 years—”in terms of frequency, location, and numbers and types of ships and boats involved.”

Newsham said China is treading more cautiously than in the South China Sea due in part to Japan’s powerful navy and its coast guard, which is large though smaller and less heavily armed than China’s.

“Will the Japanese use armed force at some point rather than just blocking Chinese ships and telling them to leave Japanese territory? Maybe. But I suspect that by the time they decide to do so, it will be too late and they’ll be faced with a fait accompli or Chinese on the Senkakus—and the People’s Liberation Army Navy parked right offshore the islands and refusing to move while Beijing threatens all-out war,” Newsham said.

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