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PacNet #25 – Amidst Cooperation, “Normalcy” Returns to Northeast Asia

Prior to Japan’s March 11 earthquakes and tsunami, Northeast Asian relations were not altogether encouraging. Tokyo and Beijing staggered from an acrimonious dispute to increasingly tense relations in the East China Sea. Tokyo was also frustrated with Moscow’s strengthening of control over the contested Northern Territories (the South Kuril Islands to the Russians). Although Tokyo and Seoul were pursuing a more positive dialogue, territorial disputes remained unresolved. While assistance offered Japan by its neighbors following the March 11 disasters briefly subsumed the politics of history in Northeast Asia, the goodwill appears to be waning as territorial disputes reemerge amid the cooperation.