US-Japan ‘Top Secret War Games’ Create Unnecessary Tension in South & East China Seas, Scholars Say

The US and Japan are reportedly carrying out secret drills for a possible conflict scenario with China over Taiwan. What’s behind the supposed exercises and how could they affect the status quo in the Indo-Pacific region?

Washington and Tokyo started preparing contingencies for a potential confrontation with China over Taiwan in the last year of the Trump administration. The preparations have involved “top-secret tabletop war games and joint exercises in the South China and East China seas,” according to The Financial Times.

Citing unnamed sources with knowledge of secretive drills, FT said that the allies were especially focused on the area around the Senkaku Islands, which are located some 350 kilometres to the west. The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which is claimed by both Japan and the People’s Republic of China. One of officials, cited by FT, emphasised the “urgent” need to establish the “trilateral sharing” of information between the US, Japan and Taiwan about the movements of Chinese naval and air forces.

US-Japanese Drills May Exacerbate Already Simmering Tensions

There are three goals that the US is pursuing through these drills, according to Dr. Victor Teo, project research fellow with the Beyond the Cold War & Asian Regionalism project based at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge.

First, Washington is seeking to demonstrate the resolve of the United…

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