Why States Fight over Rocks

Why States Fight over Rocks

The recent row between China and Japan over sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, as well as the water cannon fight between Taiwan and Japan, has highlighted again the importance of territorial issues in interstate relations. The dispute led the New York Times to speculate on other possible conflicts around the globe (perhaps fancifully), and the Monkey Cage has covered what the protests mean for both countries. What hasn’t been asked is why disputes like these matter so much for the countries involved. Why are a few rocks in the middle of the ocean so important?

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