Washington could be drawn into dispute as Japan and China square up over uninhabited islands – The Independent

‘He estimated the chances of some kind of military conflict were “certainly no higher than 20 per cent”, …’

Dr John Swenson-Wright, senior consulting fellow at Chatham House and Cambridge University expert on modern Japanese politics and international relations, said yesterday that many experts on the region were becoming increasingly alarmed, particularly because China was building up forces that could “directly challenge Japan’s ability to maintain control over the islands”.

He estimated the chances of some kind of military conflict were “certainly no higher than 20 per cent”, but added: “I think we should be worried about it, because we have seen in the last two years a growing, steady increase in the willingness of China to challenge Japan’s claim …China knows it would be outclassed [militarily] by the US and Japan, notwithstanding all the talk about the rise of China as a maritime power.

“Nobody wants a war – but that’s what they said in 1914.”

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He said the US would be “very worried” about the situation and would probably try to build bridges.

Washington could be drawn into dispute as Japan and China square up over uninhabited islands – Asia – World – The Independent

What does 20% mean? Does it mean that within the next year there is no more than a 20% chance of military conflict?

In my opinion based on what we know today, China and Japan are on a path that has a high probablity of military conflict. Continued escalation by China, and refusal to back down by Japan puts them on a path to eventual conflict. Something big has to change in order to avoid that conflict, and right now that does not look likely to happen.

If China and Japan get into some kind of conflict, how can the US do nothing?