East China Sea Tensions

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In November 2013 China imposed an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea. Tensions in the region already were elevated over bitter historical quarrels and disputed territories, most notably the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. China’s move to impose an ADIZ prompted concerns not only from neighboring South Korea and Japan, but also from the United States. In an effort to further constructive dialogue on these issues, in mid-February 2014 the Mansfield Foundation initiated a multi-part program on maritime and territorial disputes in East Asian waters.  The program included private and public meetings in Washington and Tokyo. In each city leading experts from the United States and Asia met to discuss issues related to these disputes in private and public forums.  The private sessions allowed participants to examine the issues and explore solutions in frank, non-political, and off-the-record settings.  The private meetings were followed by public events that provided opportunities to engage on the issues with representatives of the think tank, media, government, business and academic communities in Washington, D.C., and Tokyo. Several of the participants and other experts were asked to author brief essays addressing issues related to the maritime and territorial disputes.  The essays were revised to reflect the private and public sessions in Washington, and were compiled in a compendium, “East China Sea Tensions, Perspectives and Implications,” published in March 2014.

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