Territorial disputes between China and its neighbors have reached a boiling point in the South China Sea.
Protests have erupted in Japan, Hong Kong and Beijing, accompanied by threats of military action and trade boycotts.
Japan detained five members of an activist group from China after they planted a Chinese flag on a disputed island in the South China Sea.
“The hard facts prove that Japan is a monster, a devil,” said a member of the Federation for Defending the Diaoyu Islands. “We must eliminate the beast in order to protect the Chinese nation.”
Control over Asia’s seaways has become one of the most contentious geopolitical issues this year, and could disrupt trade routes and alliances.
China claims sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea and has dispatched naval boats to patrol the region.
But the Philippines and others stand behind their own sovereignty claims.
Indeed, deeply rooted hostilities and old prejudices have turned the new epicenter of global economic growth into a powder keg.