In the past few months, China and Japan have appeared to come close to blows over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Yet an outbreak of fighting is unlikely. War would run counter to Beijing’s two most fundamental national interests: promoting stability in Asia to foster China’s economic growth, and preventing the escalation of radical nationalist sentiment at home. So don’t expect China to unsheathe its sword any time soon.
ALLEN CARLSON is Associate Professor in the Government Department of Cornell University.
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