Even today, nations battle over lines on maps. Territorial disputes have existed since the dawn of man, and today they are as prevalent as ever. Most people think of disputed land in the Middle East, and there is no doubt that exists. Palestine and Israel continue to fight over borders arbitrarily drawn by outsiders 50 years ago.
However, recent developments in the East China Sea have brought one of the modern nations, and one of the most rapidly modernizing nations into conflict. A group of islands, known as Senkaku to the Japanese, and Diaoyu in China, are the focus of this most recent tension. Taiwan also claims the islands. Last September the Japanese government nationalized the islands, increasing the levels of tension. The islands are located near lucrative natural gas fields, and shipping lanes and as China’s maritime power has grown it has further pushed the envelope. Last month China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone that includes the disputed islands and overlaps with Japan’s preexisting zone. This in itself does not mean any physical conflict is looming, but in this modern era the lines on a map should not mean enough to cause war, but the reality is much different.