China sent its carrier near Japanese waters because Tokyo and Washington’s encroachment unties Beijing’s hands | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

China sent its carrier near Japanese waters because Tokyo and Washington’s encroachment unties Beijing’s hands

With the US and Japan all but officially teaming up in trying to encircle China in the Pacific, Beijing has made the most significant military display yet, sending an aircraft carrier group between Japanese islands and Taiwan.

On Monday morning, China announced it sent an aircraft carrier group through a location known as the Miyako Strait, an island chain which bridges the gap between the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. The area largely consists of Japanese waters and has several strategic islands such as Okinawa, the disputed territory of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, and bridging down to Taiwan itself. As Beijing sent the Liaoning steaming through this location, Tokyo sent a destroyer to monitor it. The Global Times later posted a triumphant article stating that China intends to do more of these exercises, and that its naval capabilities will only continue to grow.

Military tensions between China and Japan are not new, and anyone with even the most basic knowledge of Asia will be aware that it has a long history. Whilst there have been lots of mini standoffs with coastguard boats around the disputed islands recently, the move of sending an entire aircraft carrier group up near Japanese waters is in fact new and raises the stakes dramatically. Beijing wants to send a strong message to Tokyo, which has recently affirmed its alliance with the United States under Biden and publicly pledged to involve itself, albeit ambiguously, in any Taiwan contingency, with its prime minister also set to visit Washington soon. As a result, China is flexing its muscles in this strategic area. There’s more to come.

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