Increasing tension between Japan and China over Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea has created an arena for Russia to raise its profile in the region. But an obstacle to a restored Russian presence is its long-standing conflict with Japan over the Kuril islands. There could be grounds for rapprochement between Russia and Japan. But if Tokyo believes that it is going to succeed in enlisting Moscow against Beijing it should think again. Russia has built what it regards as a vital partnership with China.

<i>Japan is locked with China in an escalating conflict over the Senkaku Islands. In the meantime Japan has been involved in a constructive set of negotiations wi...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Tokyo and Beijing are presently locked into a spiral of escalation where a step back would entail unacceptable loss of face
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