East China Sea dispute casts long shadow
Hina's recent conduct in its bitter dispute with Japan over the ownership of islands, fisheries and seabed resources in the East China Sea raises some geopolitical storm warnings for South-east Asia.
While often seen as separate issues, the conflicting sovereignty claims of China and Japan over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea are closely connected with Beijing's much larger territorial and maritime boundary claims in the South China Sea.
The Chinese claims in South-east Asia's maritime heart overlap with those of atoll and reef ownership by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, and with exclusive economic zone and continental shelf resource claims by those four countries and Indonesia.
In this context, South-east Asian strategic analysts will have watched with considerable alarm the virulent outbreak of Chinese nationalism and anti-Japan protests following the Japanese government's move earlier this month to buy three of the Senkaku islands from their private owners.