For decades, the nations on the South and East China Seas have claimed the uninhabited but resource-rich islands for themselves. A timeline shows that the number and intensity of incidents has been increasing.
The Second World War ended with the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945. In its aggressive expansion, the Japanese Empire had previously not only conquered Northeastern China, but also the French colony of Indochina (now Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), Siam (Thailand), Malaysia, parts of today's Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines.
After Japan's defeat, the conquered territories were largely returned to the previous rulers. However, the status of a number of islands in the South and East China Sea remained unresolved.
For years, and in some cases for decades, hardly anyone was interested in the islands, which are often little more than a few rocks emerging from the sea. National pride was the main reason for conflict. This all changed in the 1970s, as geological surveys provided evidence that significant oil and gas reserves were located among the islands.
Since then, the number of incidents has increased. The most significant since 1945 are listed in the following timelines. They show not only the emergence of conflict, but also that the conflicts in the last two years have been increasing in intensity.