Six Global Hotspots to Watch

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East China Sea

While China's maritime squabbles in the South China Sea have been well documented, its increasingly contentious showdown with Japan in the East China Sea could prove to be even more treacherous. At issue are disputed Islands (Senkakus to the Japanese, Diaoyu to China) and the fishing/resource access rights sovereignty over those islands would deliver. The standoff has already resulted in several direct confrontations between China and Japan (two countries with ample bad blood born of the brutalities of the Second World War). Earlier this year, a Chinese frigate locked its fire-control radar on a Japanese Martitime Self-Defense Force destroyer, and Japans has repeatedly scrambled fighter jets to intercept Chinese aircraft it claims were entering its territory. The U.S., by dint of its treaty obligations to Japan, is taking a keen interest in how this plays out. While the official U.S. position is that it doesn't take sides, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently warned China that any attack on the disputed islands would "fall under our security obligations." (AP Photo)

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