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One question typically receives little attention in connection with the ongoing dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands. That question is, what’s in it for the parties involved?

To the extent this question is asked, China is accused of pursuing an aggressive if not expansionist military policy abroad while invoking nationalism at home to deflect criticism of its one-party Communist rule. And, of course, reference is made to China’s voracious appetite for the energy resources thought to lie beneath the ocean floor adjacent to the islands.

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