Sino-Japanese Relations on the Brink of Another Cold War?

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2014-10-84-92

K. Voda, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN), 23 Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (

Abstract.      Up to beginning of the XXI century political contradictions in Sino-Japanese relations had little influence on strong economic ties. However, since early 2010s several unstable elements that existed between the countries have been tending to discharge from political sphere into economics complicating bilateral cooperation. 
     One of the sources of contradictions in Sino-Japanese relations is referred to differences in perception of each others’ strategies and intentions. China and Japan view each other as potentially offensive while depicting themselves as defensive. The growth of defense capabilities on one side is perceived as a potential threat on the other side. Another reason for deterioration of political situation is Japan’s efforts to give a proper reaction to the rapid rise of China’s economical and political might. On the other hand, it is China’s willingness to defend its growing interests. The escalation of nationalism in both countries adds to instability in Sino-Japanese relations. 
     Sino-Japanese contradictions in economical, political, ideological and military spheres became intertwined in the territorial dispute of the East China Sea. Different expectations towards the US involvement in the potential conflict around the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands makes the situation even more difficult as it leads to the growth of military spending in both countries. Low levels of trust, the absence of clear dispute settlement and preventive diplomacy mechanisms, narrow opportunities for negotiations increase the probability that the cooling of Sino-Japanese relations will continue in future. 

Keywords: Japan, China, economic interdependence, political confrontation, territorial dispute, Senkaku/Diaoyu islands

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For citation:
Voda K. Sino-Japanese Relations on the Brink of Another Cold War? . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2014, no. 10, pp. 84-92.

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