Despite high levels of integration between the world’s second and third largest economies, Sino-Japanese relations remain contentious. Historical animosity and territorial disputes are two commonly cited sources of tension between the two great powers. Recent developments have heightened friction in the bilateral relationship. On August 6, 2016, approximately 230 fishing vessels and 6 Chinese Coast Guard ships sailed near the disputed the Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, prompting Japanese diplomatic protest.
Chinese pressure on Japan may be due to growing Japanese involvement in the South China Sea, where China has built artificial islands that strengthen Chinese control over regional commerce and security. To better understand the dynamics and the balance of power behind the Sino-Japanese relations, both historically and in the wake of recent events we are joined by Dr. Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and Adjunct Professor at the Asian Studies Department at Georgetown University.