Are Senkaku islets first line of defense against rising China? | The Japan Times Online

While most explanations for the territorial rows focus on nationalistic pride and access to rich fishing grounds or potentially large reserves of oil and gas, the Senkaku island chain once figured prominently in strategic calculations — and some say still has strategic relevance today. Military interest in the chain dates from at least the 1920s, when American planners concluded the islands could play a key role in helping the U.S. defend against Japan’s rising militarism. After the communist victory in China’s civil war in 1949, Washington came to regard the chain as an important vehicle for containing China’s military expansion, with special emphasis on Taiwan’s role.

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