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contiguous zone, and therefore did not enter Japan’s territorial waters, this is the first time that a PLAN vessel came this close to the Senkakus, which are also claimed by China (where they are called the Diaoyus). The incident came only a few days after a Chinese J-10 fighter jet resorted to risky maneuvers, flying too close to intercept a U.S. RC-135 surveillance aircraft that was flying over the East China Sea on a routine surveillance flight. Japan’s government reacted strongly. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately directed his governmenttocontinue to monitor the situation closely, maintain close contact with the UnitedStates, and be prepared for any unexpected turn of the events. Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, on his way home from his visit to Myanmar, Thailand, and Timor-Leste following his attendance at the Shangri-La Dialogue, expressed his grave concern over China’s behavior. The Japanese foreign minister summoned China’s ambassador to express the government’s serious concern and protests. One can only speculate the motives behind this sudden spike in assertive behavior by the Chinese PLA in East China Sea. Most probably the driver is the diplomatic isolation Beijing faced at the Shangri-La Dialogue over the last weekend. During the conference, China found itself encircled by countries that directly and indirectly criticized China’s behavior in the South China Sea. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called for a “principled security network” in the region that upholds international norms, in addition to calling out China for its behavior more than a dozen times. Japan’s own Nakatani outlined in detail Japan’s concern with “unilateral” behavior in the East and South China Seas. And it was not just the United States and Japan. Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar discussed his country’s firm determination to “uphold freedom of navigation and/or flight in accordance with international law.” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian emphasized the importance of a rule-based order and reaffirmed that France would continue to send its ships and aircrafts “wherever international allows and operations require.” Put simply, the critical views vis-à-vis China in the South China Sea are growing beyond the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, the ruling on the case brought by thePhilippines to the Permanent Court of Arbitration looms. Given these developments, China may have felt compelled to assert its position in the East China Sea, thereby also trying to distract attention away from the South China Sea. There is no question that China is testingthe resolve of Japan and the United States with its heightened activities in the East China Sea. Against Tokyo, Beijing is pushing the envelope to see if their activities would trigger a Japanese overreaction, which China then can useas a reason to justify its enhanced activities in the East China Sea.