Japan is due to switch on a new radar observation station in the East China Sea on Monday, a move that will likely infuriate Beijing and mark the latest escalation in the long-simmering dispute between the two Asian heavyweights.
Tokyo's new Self Defense Force base is located on Yonaguni, an island located 150 kilometers south of the disputed territory known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. The new base can be used as a permanent intelligence gathering post as well an outlet for military operations in the region, adding to Tokyo's existing military buildup along the Yaeyama Island chain, which includes Yonaguni, Reuters reported.
China has yet to make a statement regarding the move, but strategists say it won't deter the mainland from more aggressive expansion in the zone.
"This is the latest step in Japan's response to China's forceful symbolism in the East China Sea," noted Steve Wilford, Asia Pacific director for global risk analysis at Control Risks Group.
Japan has repeatedly called on Beijing to halt activity in the area, particularly the construction of oil-and-gas exploration platforms, after China declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) there in 2013.