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Will Asia succumb to internecine warfare a mere century after Europe did?In November, China declared an "air defense identification zone" that covers territory also claimed by Japan, including the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands (to China, the Diaoyu Islands). Three days after China announced its ADIZ, the United States deployed two B-52 bombers to the zone without notifying China, and on Dec. 5, a U.S. Navy warship and a Chinese vessel nearly collided in the South China Sea.Finally, the U.S. would almost certainly intervene in the event of a Sino-Japanese clash.While it is likely that China and Japan will not go to war, the possibility could hang over the Asia-Pacific like a sword of Damocles, preventing the region from devoting energy to challenges such as environmental degradation and resource shortages. Even if war does not occur, moreover, sustained tension – between the U.S. and China and between China and Japan – could undermine cooperation between the U.S. and China as well as nascent efforts to form the skeleton of an Asian community.
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