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The islands are part of the chess game going on in the China Seas. However, until now there have been only small talk of indirect threats. Now, the PRC has issued an air defense map in which the PRC claims it has the right to shoot down foreign aircraft.
This is a very dangerous development. These islands are administered by Japan and it will not stand by as its territory to slowly cut apart. The PRC's land claims nearly lead to war against the ROC, twice in the 1950s and once in the 1990s. The risk of conflict is approaching the same level.