China’s behavior and rhetoric toward Japan regarding a range of controversial events in the East China Sea—from resource claims to naval transits and island territories—constitute a major component of an arguably escalating pattern of assertiveness between Beijing and several of its maritime neighbors. Among these altercations, Beijing’s increasingly acrimonious confrontation with Tokyo over five small islands northeast of Taiwan (called the Diaoyu Islands by China and the Senkaku Islands by Japan) is arguably the most dangerous.

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