The Perils of Proximity

China-Japan Security Relations

Richard C. Bush,

The Perils of Proximity: China-Japan Security Relations
 
 
While the entire world watches China grow its economy and build up its military, its regional neighbors are keeping an especially keen eye on developments in Beijing. The rivalry between Japan and China has a long and sometimes brutal history, and they continue to eye each other warily as the balance of power tips toward the Middle Kingdom. They cooperate and compete at the same time, but if competition deteriorates into military conflict, the entire world has much to lose. The Perils of Proximity evaluates the chances of armed conflict between China and Japan, presenting in stark relief the dangers it would pose and revealing the steps that could head off such a disastrous turn of events.Richard Bush’s piercing analysis of Asian security relations focuses on the problematic East China Sea region. Although Japan’s military capabilities are more considerable than some in the West realize, its defense budget has remained basically flat in recent years. On the other side of the water, however, China’s military expenditures have grown by double digits annually. More worrisome is that the emphasis of China’s military modernization is on power projection—the ability of its air and naval forces to stretch their reach to the east, encroaching on its island neighbor.The Japanese regard the growth of Chinese power and its focus on the East China Sea with deep anxiety. How should they respond? The balance of power is changing, and Japan must account for that uncomfortable fact in crafting its strategy. It is incumbent on China, Japan, and the United States to take steps to reduce the odds of clash and conflict in the East China Sea, and veteran Asia watcher Bush presents recommendations to that end. The steps he suggests won’t be easy, and effective political leadership will be absolutely critical. If implemented fully and correctly, however, they have the potential to reduce the perils of proximity in Asia.Praise for the work of Richard Bush“Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait is the most comprehensive English-language account of the vicissitudes of cross-strait relations.”—Pacific Affairs“A War Like No Other provides a riveting case study about grand crisis and the key insights for managing one successfully. . . . China-Taiwan remains a dangerous standoff, mandating that all who represent any of the actors read this study.”—General Eric K. Shinseki, U.S. Army (Retired)


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