Japan and China Step Up Drone Race, Tension Builds Over Disputed Islands

About 200 kilometers north of Taiwan are small islands claimed by major trade partners Japan and China. The islands are uninhabited, but analysts have suggested that oil and gas reserves could rest underneath nearby waters. The new leaders of the two nations are turning to drones and fighter jets for surveillance of the islands, called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan. Japan plans on purchasing US surveillance drones, lacking attack capability, and China is developing its own drone models with attack capability. “Chinese surveillance vessels have made repeated intrusions into Japanese waters since the government in Tokyo in effect nationalised the Senkakus in the summer, sparking riots in Chinese cities and damaging trade ties between Asia's two biggest economies,” report Jonathan Kaiman and Justin McCurry for the Guardian. Both countries are ratcheting up defense budgets, and analysts suggest that escalating tensions and increased surveillance could lead to drone skirmishes. – YaleGlobal

Japan and China Step Up Drone Race, Tension Builds Over Disputed Islands

Both China and Japan claim drones over disputed islands are used for surveillance, but experts warn of future skirmishes in region's airspace
Jonathan Kaiman, Justin McCurry
Friday, January 11, 2013
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