Panny Shan


Since China’s rapid economic and military rise, The East China Sea has become a site of heated disputes between a rising China and an established Japan. Because of the complex economic and political relations between Japan and China, the East China Sea dispute has the potential to be a flashpoint for war.[1] In particular, overlapping air defense zones, which mandate airlines to notify the country before flying into certain airspaces, and a lack of crisis hotlines make rapid escalation into war a distinct possibility.[2] Recent displays of military power from both sides only increased tensions further. From both countries flying fighters over the disputed areas to the deployment of long-range missiles, tensions continue to escalate.[3] China has also been rapidly developing its navy in order to map the sea floor and test the capabilities of Japan’s military.[4] Concomitantly, Japan has been building up its surveillance capabilities in order to monitor and respond to China’s actions.[5] The nexus point of conflict is a small disputed island chain called the Senkaku Islands by Japan and the Diaoyu islands but China.[6] A survey of the region conducted by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) has found that there are potentially large amounts of oil and natural gas near the islands, giving both countries a vested interested in acquiring the territory for their own economic gain (fig 2).[7] In order to maintain its unprecedented economic growth, China needs access to vast fossil fuels. Japan, too, requires greater fossil fuel access, as it was forced to switch back to fossil fuels after the Fukushima disaster.[8]  In fact, China and Japan are among the largest importers of oil in the world, further illustrating the importance of increased energy access for both economies(fig 1).[9] If either country acquired the islands, the surrounding waters would also belong to them, thus allowing them to gain access to rich resources. However, the dispute over the islands extends further than the mere drive for oil; it involves historic antagonisms dating back to World War II. The humiliation suffered by the Chinese people has fueled resentment and hatred, and China’s recent economic growth has facilitated military development and permitted China to pursue an assertive foreign policy in the region.[10]

Under the Law of the Sea Convention (LOS), the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ, extending 200 nautical miles beyond a country’s borders) of China and Japan overlap in the East China Sea (fig 2).[11] LOS states that when there are competing claims regarding EEZs, the two nations must use a median line that stands in the middle of the disputed waters until a compromise can be reached over the delimitation.[12] While both countries have avoided diplomatically resolving the territorial dispute, they still claim that the territory is rightfully theirs.[13] China maintains that Japan stole the territory during the Sino-Japanese war, and Japan claims to have incorporated the islands into its territory in accordance with international law.[14] At the conclusion of the Sino-Japanese War, the Treaty of Shimonoseki stipulated that China would give Japan Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands; the Senkaku islands were not mentioned because Japan claims to have acquired the islands through the international legal principle of terra nullius.[15] Terra nullius – a term that means “land belonging to no one” – has been used by Japan to argue that China never controlled the Senakakus. Japan argues that because it incorporated the islands into its territory through “acquisition through occupation,” they rightfully belong to Japan.[16] However, China disputes this claim and does not recognize Japan’s actions through international law. The legal claims were further complicated by World War II. The 1943 Cairo Declaration stated that Japan would “restore to the Republic of China all the territories Japan has stolen from the Qing Dynasty of China such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores.”[17] Even if Japan had taken the island from China after the Sino-Japanese war, China argues that this agreement proves that Japan returned the island after the world war, even if the islands were not explicitly mentioned. However, Japan still maintains that it acquired the islands through international law, and thus these treaties do not matter. This disagreement is the basis for the conflict today.

Despite the severe antagonism, the two nations have reached some agreements for jointly developing resources. In 1997, they agreed to jointly explore fisheries in certain areas in the East China Sea, and in 2008 they reached an agreement for joint development of the Chunxiao Oil and Gas field near the islands.[18] Unfortunately, many of the agreements, especially attempts at extracting fossil fuels, have fallen apart.[19] Furthermore, since both nations have consistently used nationalism to help maintain stability within their respective countries, they have little incentive to cooperate with each other.[20] Especially since Japanese military strategy has historically been tied to its cultural values of willpower and honor, relinquishing its rights to a territory Japan believes to be rightfully its own is not an option.

Additionally, while the ongoing conflict has greatly escalated tensions and hurt Sino-Japanese relations, China and Japan’s economic relationship has steadily grown.[23] In 2002, the Japanese economic growth was almost entirely driven by its exports to China.[24] In fact, the Chinese market has now surpassed the United State’s market in its importance to the Japanese economy.[25] Unsurprisingly, this dynamic of economic interdependence between the two countries has led to businesses in Japan becoming increasingly discontent with the state of Sino-Japanese relations.[26] With all these moving parts in play, the two countries must work towards a compromise or risk the possibility of a regional war.

Alternate Policy Proposals

The highly contentious nature of the Sino-Japanese conflict has led many scholars to consider possible solutions. One proposed solution is structured co-development. There is already a history of cooperation, as China and Japan have previously agreed to jointly develop the Chunxiao gas field while the two government explored possibilities for delimitation. Specifically, the two sides agreed upon a specific block of the East China Sea in which they would be allowed to jointly extract resources. While China would control extraction rights, it would allow Japanese consultants to help determine drilling sites. Then, Japan and China would equally share the profits.[28] While this agreement seemed like a huge step towards reconciliation, cooperation eventually fell apart. In mid-2015, Japan accused China of unilaterally extracting resources in the East China Sea.[29] Japan released evidence of Chinese drilling platforms that they claimed were placed without the consultation of the Japanese government, thus violating the 2008 agreement for joint development.[30] In response, China claimed that their development was “fully justified and legitimate,” thus ending both sides’ observation of the agreement.[31] The collapse of the agreement stemmed from both countries having differing views regarding what the agreement entailed.[32] In particular, because China does not observe the median line in accordance with international law, it often develops areas it believes are within its sovereignty.[33] The agreement also exposed another fundamental problem with current joint development programs. While Japan attempts to adhere to international law protocol, China does not observe the same restrictions. These fundamental disagreements over what the two countries should do while the delimitation has not been agreed upon are the root of many recent disputes. For delimitation talks to proceed, the countries cannot continue to have peripheral conflicts. As a result, a solution that will quell these conflicts is a necessary prerequisite for an ultimate binding agreement over the currently disputed territory.

Academics have proposed solutions beyond just the attempts at resolution by China and Japan. The most obvious solution, used for territorial disputes like the one over the East China Sea, is the International Court of Justice (ICJ).[34] However, since the dispute involves not only politics but also economics and history, China has declared its unwillingness to allow international arbitration.[35] Additionally, a ruling by the ICJ may have implications for China’s other territorial claims such as the Spratly islands in the South China Sea. Again, this result would be detrimental to Chinese interests.

Another possible solution, proposed by academics from the United States, China, and Japan, outlines many guidelines that would involve concessions from all sides but would also not infringe on core interests of any country.[36] They propose a short-term solution as well as a  more long-term, legally binding solution. In the short-term, they argue that an “interim freeze,” where both sides halt resource extraction and renounce any claims on the islands, would allow tensions to ease and more durable, long-term compromises to be discussed.[37] However, these scholars fail to account for both China and Japan’s deep interests in the region. Since they have a history of violating agreements, even if Japan and China agree to a freeze on the surface, it is highly likely that one or both sides will attempt to extract resources anyway. Additionally, because the freeze only includes the islands, either side could interpret it to be strictly concerning the landmass itself and, therefore, continue to extract resources from fields like the Chunxiao oil reserve. Thus, the easing of tensions these academics hope for will likely not occur. For their binding solution, these scholars propose essentially setting aside the island dispute from other territorial disputes and resolving it independently.[38] China would have to relinquish legal rights to the islands, but administration over the islands would still be done jointly.[39] Finally, neither country would be allowed to deploy military forces in the vicinity of the islands.[40] Unfortunately, a number of problems exist with this solution. As I discussed previously, a large factor in the dispute over the islands is the resource abundance in the surrounding waters. Therefore, attempting to decouple the two disputes remains exceedingly difficult, as both sides will continue to want the islands to facilitate resource extraction. Furthermore, this plan neglects the historical reasons why the dispute is occurring. Since China has been using nationalism as a political strategy, relinquishing legal rights to the island would run counter to its entire message of painting Japan as an antagonistic foe. Additionally, since the Chinese government believes the islands to sovereign territory, it has no reason to relinquish its claim. Instead, China would argue that Japan should give up its right to the island, thus continuing the dispute over who rightfully owns the islands.

However, Mark Valencia, in his book The East China Sea Dispute: Context, Claims, Issues, and Possible Solutions, takes a different approach to resolving the Sino-Japanese dispute in the East China Sea: economics. Even though the dispute has substantially hurt relations between the two countries, trade steadily increases every year.[41] This trend means that even if the countries are at odds politically, they are increasingly reliant economically; they even cooperate over fisheries in the East China Sea in order to support their fishing industries.[42] Recently, however, the ECS has become increasingly polluted, potentially hurting industries in both countries.[43] Valencia argues that increased cooperation on environmental issues could help reduce tensions and ultimately lead to a solution over the delimitation.[44] Unfortunately, fisheries development isn’t the only factor in the ECS dispute, which is the reason current cooperation over fisheries has been insufficient to resolve the conflict. Even if the two countries increase cooperation over fishery pollution, disputes over other factors would still leave the issue unresolved. Valencia also proposes a framework for compromise to occur: both countries must agree not to use the islands as justifications for control of surrounding waters, agree upon a single boundary where Chinese territory ends and Japanese territory begins, and agree to share resources found in the East China Sea regardless of boundaries.[45] This compromise over the single boundary line would be equidistant from China and Japan and would not use the islands for delineation.[46] Unfortunately, this, too, is insufficient. First, the equidistant line would obviously lead to problems because it would result in the two sides sharing the islands. As the 2008 agreement demonstrates, both countries will inevitably cross over the line at some point, resulting in a major diplomatic dispute and likely collapsing the agreement. Additionally, the sharing of resources will be hard to enforce, thus also leading to inevitable disputes. Either side might feel resentment at having to share resources found because they would feel that extracted grants ownership. Finally, having to share resources found even within the undisputed territory would cause further resentment. While Valencia’s particular proposal might not be effective in resolving the dispute, there is growing pressure in both countries to reach a compromise.[47] Thus, some type of compromise is inevitable. Compromise is possible, and both countries’ desires for resources mean that China and Japan will be prepared to accept an agreement that they can both benefit from.

My Proposal

While the dispute remains extremely difficult to solve, it is possible to create a policy that incentivizes both countries to quell conflict instead of escalating it. First, the two countries should develop better ways of jointly developing the East China Sea. Instead of opening up the entire sea like Valencia proposes, the joint development should be contained to the region where the EEZs overlap. Because the amount the EEZ extends beyond a country’s border is not disputed by either country, they can both agree on the region where the two zones overlap, ridding the current situation of its ambiguity. Additionally, this resolves previous problems that arose when China extracted resources within regions it claimed to possess, but which lay over the median line. Marking the entire overlapping area as “disputed waters” also eliminates the troublesome median line; both countries can develop resources in the entirety of its claimed EEZ. Furthermore, this eliminates problems that arise when one side believes the other to be unilaterally developing resources without consultation. By marking the overlapping EEZs as “disputed,” both countries would be able to unilaterally extract resources without the other’s permission. However, because both countries technically share the territory, both nations should receive a portion of the resources. As mentioned above, sharing resources may cause resentment among the country that does the physical extraction. Therefore, I propose that that country that extracts the resources should receive three-fourths of the oil found while the other country receives the remaining one-fourth. This imbalanced sharing of oil incentivizes both countries to develop the resources on their own in order to gain an increased share of resources. This would allow both countries to access the oil they desire while negotiations over a binding delimitation continued. Additionally, this method of joint development de-incentivizes disputes because a collapse of the agreement would mean neither country would be able to access any resources, thus hurting their national interests.

Trade can further incentivize both countries to seek peace instead of conflict. As previously mentioned, there has been growing pressure in both countries to ease tensions over the East China Sea dispute. In order to calm relations between the two nations, China and Japan should explore methods of further integrating their economies. Even with the ongoing disputes, it is indisputable that China’s economic rise has substantially increased Japan’s reliance on it.[48] As both countries specialize in the production of product required by the other’s economy, they have a naturally symbiotic trade relationship.[49] For example, cheaper labor in China attracts manufacturers in Japan that seek to lower their production costs.[50] Nevertheless, there still exist many barriers to trade that arise from the two nations’ antagonistic relationship. In Japan, the massive influx of imports has spurred protectionist legislation designed to support faltering domestic companies being pushed out by Chinese competition.[51] Likewise in China, high tariffs mean that exports do not return as much revenue as Japanese companies would like, so they instead prefer to invest directly in the economy.[52] However, because the Chinese hold negative opinions of the Japanese, companies in China often struggle to gain revenue and return a profit.[53] In order to strengthen trade ties, China and Japan should work to lower current barriers to trade. In particular, they should negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). A trade agreement would eliminate the current tariffs and protectionist legislation, allowing trade to flow much more freely and further increasing economic interdependence between the two countries. While increasing trade will not resolve the East China Sea dispute, it can resolve more macro level issues of antagonism between the two countries, and an overall easing of tensions could set the stage for a binding solution in the disputed waters. Dale Copeland introduces trade expectations theory in his book Economic Interdependence and War and argues that future expectations of trade will be influences a state’s decision-making, making it less likely that they initiate conflict with their trade partners.[54] In particular, he argues that states are less likely to exhibit aggressive behavior when they perceive future trade flows to grow because they consider the opportunity cost from lost trade to be too high .[55] In this case, not only is trade important to a country’s economy, but it is also crucial to its geopolitical influence. Copeland demonstrates this in his case study on the Soviet Union. In 1972, the Soviets began to demonstrate a willingness to compromise and reduce tensions when they believed that détente would create a more positive trade relationship with the U.S, thus providing their economy a much-needed boost and granting them access to advanced American technology.[56]

Finally, in order to prevent conflicts from escalating, China and Japan should establish a hotline of communication. Since both countries use nationalism to distract their citizenry from other issues, they feel that concessions to an enemy country are politically impossible. However, a hotline would allow minor disputes to be resolved quickly and effectively. Additionally, resolving disputes would over time signal to both countries that cooperation and compromise are possible, thus potentially leading to negotiations that would formally end the dispute over the East China Sea. If nothing else, the hotline would at least lower the decrease the escalatory dynamics of the current military situation in the East China Sea.

The East China Sea dispute is a complicated and multi-faceted issue that has defied resolution for many decades. Policies that are proposed to resolve the issue often attempt to accomplish too much and thus prove ineffective. Even solutions that are smaller in scope are often too Pollyannaish. However, by taking small steps to gradually ease tensions, an eventual solution is possible. Even though my policy does not attempt to prescribe a binding legal solution to the ECS dispute, it sets the groundwork for an eventual long-term settlement.


[1] Avery Goldstein and Edward Mansfield, eds., Nexus of Economics, Security, and International Relations in East Asia (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), 130, accessed March 21, 2016,

[2] Allison Jackson, “War between Japan and China is an accident waiting to happen,” Global Post, November 25, 2013, accessed April 14, 2016,

[3] Ibid.

[4] Mark J. Valencia, “The East China Sea Dispute: Context, Claims, Issues, and Possible Solutions,” Asian Perspective 31, no. 1 (2007): 129, accessed March 21, 2016,

[5] Ibid.

[6] Goldstein and Mansfield, Nexus of Economics, Security, 130.

[7] Tadashi Ikeda, “Getting Senkaku History Right,” The Diplomat, November 23, 2013, accessed March 19, 2016,

[8] Matt Shiavenza, “How a Tiny Island Chain Explains the China-Japan Dispute,” The Atlantic, December 3, 2013, accessed March 21, 2016,

[9] Top Ten Annual Net Oil Importers, 2014, photograph, US Energy Information Administration, May 2015, accessed April 6, 2016,

[10] Shiavenza, “How a Tiny Island.”

[11] Goldstein and Mansfield, Nexus of Economics, Security, 130.

[12] Ramses Amer and Keyuan Zou, eds., Conflict Management and Dispute Settlement in East Asia (Burlington, VT: Ash gate, 2011), [Page 150], accessed March 21, 2016,

[13] Ikeda, “Getting Senkaku History Right.”

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Amer and Zou, Conflict Management and Dispute, 159.

[19] Goldstein and Mansfield, Nexus of Economics, Security, 130.

[20] Shiavenza, “How a Tiny Island.”

[21] Thomas G. Mahnken and Dan Blumenthal, Strategy in Asia: The Past, Present, and Future of Regional Security (Stanford, CA: Standford Security Studies, an imprint of Stanford University Press, 2014), 131, accessed April 13, 2016,

[22] Ibid, 142.

[23] Robert S. Ross, “Balance of Power Politics and the Rise of China: Accommodation and Balancing in East Asia,” Security Studies 15, no. 3 (2006): 377, accessed April 13, 2016,

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Akikazu Hashimoto, Michael O’Hanlon, and Wu Xinbo, “A framework for resolving Japan-China dispute over islands,” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2014, accessed March 21, 2016,

[28] Ibid.

[29] Nicholas Szechenyi, “China and Japan: A Resource Showdown in the East China Sea?,” National Interest, August 10, 2015, accessed April 14, 2016,

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ikeda, “Getting Senkaku History Right.”

[35] Amer and Zou, Conflict Management and Dispute, 152.

[36] Akikazu Hashimoto, Michael O’Hanlon, and Wu Xinbo, “A framework for resolving Japan-China dispute over islands,” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2014, accessed March 21, 2016,

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Valencia, “The East China Sea Dispute,” 157.

[42] Ikeda, “Getting Senkaku History Right.”

[43] Valencia, “The East China Sea Dispute,” 157.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid, 158.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Hanns-Günther Hilpert and René Haak, Japan and China: Cooperation, Competition, and Conflict (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 20, accessed April 13, 2016,

[49] Ibid, 44.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Dale C. Copeland, Economic Interdependence and War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), 428.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid, 432.


Amer, Ramses, and Keyuan Zou, eds. Conflict Management and Dispute Settlement in East Asia. Burlington, VT: Ash gate, 2011. Accessed March 21, 2016.

The book discusses various conflicts in the Asia Pacific region and explores major nexus points of conflict. Specifically, it provides a the international law behind settling maritime disputes through the Law of the Sea Convention, providing a legal background in the Sino-Japanese conflict. It also applies the LOS to the conflict over the East China Sea, but merely gives some examples of actions that have been previously taken to reduce tensions. However, the book does not provide an in depth analysis of how previous solutions could be applied to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Copeland, Dale C. Economic Interdependence and War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.

Copeland argues for using trade expectations theory to explain economic relations between nations; he says that increasing future beneficial prospects of trade can dramatically reduce the likelihood of conflict. This theory can be applied to the Sino-Japanese conflict over the islands in the East China Sea. However, while the theory proves highly applicable, he does specifically discuss the conflict, which means he does not take into account other factors into conflict such as nationalism or resources.

“Diaoyu Senkaku Islands Dispute Map.” Map. Oil Peak. October 10, 2012. Accessed April 14, 2016.

This map shows the two EEZ borders that are claims by China and Japan. It also labels the disputed area and some of the specific disputed territories such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, thus providing a good visual of the area China and Japan are fighting over. Unfortunately, it does not outline some other geographic features like the agreed upon median line.

Goldstein, Avery, and Edward Mansfield, eds. Nexus of Economics, Security, and International Relations in East Asia. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012. Accessed March 21, 2016.

This book’s section on the Sino-Japanese dispute over the ECS outlines general areas of competing interest from both sides. These overlapping interests have resulted in the dispute over territory being at a stalemate for decades. Goldstein and Mansfield discuss the general development of the conflict then the recent implications the conflict has had over relations between the two countries. Therefore, it provides a useful guideline for the different types of conflicts that all factor into the overall ECS dispute; however, it fails to discuss each of the categories in depth and thus need the other sources to supplement it’s framework.

Hashimoto, Akikazu, Michael O’Hanlon, and Wu Xinbo. “A framework for resolving Japan-China dispute over islands.” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2014. Accessed March 21, 2016.

Hashimoto, O’Hanlon, and Xinbo proposed a short term and a long term solution to the China Japan conflict over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. The first would temporary reduce tensions and allow for more binding resolutions to be explored, and the second is an example of a binding resolution. While both proposals have merit, the article does not discuss the rationale behind each of the facets of the proposal. Therefore, it remains unclear what each portion aims to solve in the ongoing conflict.

Hilpert, Hanns-Günther, and René Haak. Japan and China: Cooperation, Competition, and Conflict. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Accessed April 13, 2016.

This book explores China’s economic rise and its implications for the economies of surrounding nations like Japan. Specifically, it looks that how China and Japan’s economic relationship has changed due to China’s massive economic growth in recent years, and argues that while there have been some barriers to trade, the overall trade dependence has increases. However, because it mainly focuses on the economic aspect of trade and not the political aspect, it does not provide insight into how the trade relationship can change the two countries’ political relationship.

Ikeda, Tadashi. “Getting Senkaku History Right.” The Diplomat, November 23, 2013. Accessed March 19, 2016.

Tadashi Ikeda describes the history of both Chinese and Japanese claims in the Senkaku Islands. He argues that Japanese claims to the islands are legitimate while China fabricates justifications for its territorial claims, providing a bias on the Japanese side. However, he only examines the territorial claim history and not other factors of international law, such as Exclusive Economic Zones. Additionally, while his description of the history is comprehensive, he fails to examine the underlying motivations from both countries that fueled the conflict in the first place.

Jackson, Allison. “War between Japan and China is an accident waiting to happen.” Global Post, November 25, 2013. Accessed April 14, 2016.

This article provides a more recent view of the current conflict between China and Japan, and outlines some aspects of the conflict that would potentially escalate into war. It provides useful information to describe the standoff between the two countries, but does not delve deeper into specific facets of the conflicts like the other sources.

Mahnken, Thomas G., and Dan Blumenthal. Strategy in Asia: The Past, Present, and Future of Regional Security. Stanford, CA: Standford Security Studies, an imprint of Stanford University Press, 2014. Accessed April 13, 2016.

This book discusses how Japanese culture influences Japanese military and international policy. Specifically, it examines how Japanese values shaped its approach the World War II, and as a result it helps the reader understand how those same values could shape it’s approach to conflict even today. However, the book does make the concession that the world war somewhat changed Japanese emphasis on its values over the best strategic option. Still, it does not apply those values to Japan’s approach to its conflict with China over the East China Sea.

Ross, Robert S. “Balance of Power Politics and the Rise of China: Accommodation and Balancing in East Asia.” Security Studies 15, no. 3 (2006): 355-95. Accessed April 13, 2016.

Robert Ross discussed the economic and political rise of China and its implications for nations in the East Asia region. Specifically, he discusses how its rise has changed Japan’s main trade partner from the United States to China. This shift in relation has had implications for the increasingly tense Chinese-Japanese relationships, and helps provide context for possible ways to help ease tensions between the two nations. However, the article does not specifically address the growing tensions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and only discusses the broader Sino-Japan relations.

Shiavenza, Matt. “How a Tiny Island Chain Explains the China-Japan Dispute.” The Atlantic, December 3, 2013. Accessed March 21, 2016.

Matt Shiavenza explores in his article the motivations behind China and Japan’s standoff over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Factors like nationalism, resources, and historical ill-sentiment all contribute to the tenuous East China Sea conflict today. While the article does not discuss the background and history of the claims on the islands, it does try to pinpoint the motivations behind the claims in the first place.

Szechenyi, Nicholas. “China and Japan: A Resource Showdown in the East China Sea?” National Interest, August 10, 2015. Accessed April 14, 2016.

The National Interest article discusses the aftermath of the 2008 agreement between China and Japan to conduct joint development in the East China Sea. It describes attempts to follow through the agreement and conflicts that arose as a result of the agreement, therefore exposing flaws in the agreement and tensions between the two countries. However, while it does provide a good response to the Xinhua article, it does not prescribe a possible solution the problems that arose.

Top Ten Annual Net Oil Importers, 2014. Photograph. US Energy Information Administration. May 2015. Accessed April 6, 2016.

The US Department of the Energy found the top ten annual net oil importers. They communicated the information using graph that showed each country’s imports in millions of barrels per day, with China at the top. While it does effectively show that China and Japan rely heavily on oil imports, it does not compare the imports to the daily consumption of each country. Adding that element would show how reliant China and Japan on are their imports and how self-sufficient they are.

Valencia, Mark J. “The East China Sea Dispute: Context, Claims, Issues, and Possible Solutions.” Asian Perspective 31, no. 1 (2007): 127-67. Accessed March 21, 2016.

Mark J Valencia explores in his article recent actions in by China and Japan that have rapidly escalated tensions in the East China Sea. He specifically focuses on how oil drilling ventures on both sides have increased conflicts and helped collapse dialogue and negotiations. Then, his proposed solution also involved joint resource development, which is interesting because other journals have focused on remedying nationalist tendencies. However, while he does outline possibilities for resource development, he doesn’t specifically address the conditions for development both sides would have to agree to. These conditions would complicated the two nations’ abilities to work with each other.

Xinhua (China). “China, Japan reach principled consensus on East China Sea issue.” June 18, 2008. Accessed April 13, 2016.

Xinhua is a Chinese news source and it is reporting on the joint development agreement between China and Japan. This article is useful because it discusses the specific stipulations of the agreement and the exact agreements between the two countries. However, it is merely a news article reporting on the agreement and does not include the context of why the agreement was needed or the international law behind the delimitations process, issues that are addressed in book about conflict management in East Asia.