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7 parts of Russia that other countries could call theirs

The world’s largest country didn’t start off that way. Just like every other empire it invaded, conquered, negotiated and seized the lands it now calls its own. Some of those lands are fiercely disputed to this day, some are the subjects of uneasy settlements, and some have long ago been relinquished to Russia’s unchallenged control. But here’s a list of the most important Russian territories that other countries could, if they chose, try to claim back. 

Senkaku Islands dispute calls for delicate diplomacy from the US

TOKYO — This week’s escalation of a territorial dispute between China and Japan has highlighted the delicate diplomatic task facing the US as it seeks to maintain stability in a region already shaken by North Korea’s recent rocket launch. The latest episode in the long-standing row came on Thursday morning, when a Chinese marine surveillance aircraft entered Japanese airspace over the Senkakus, a group of islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but also claimed by China.

China's latest diplomatic train wreck

TAIPEI — “The aim of China's new electronic passports is to strengthen its technological abilities and make it convenient for Chinese citizens to enter or leave the country," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. "The issue of the maps in China's new passports should not be read too much into. China is willing to remain in touch with relevant countries and promote the healthy development of the exchange of people between China and the outside world." Translation: Shut up, and take it.

China fakes new Asean reality

TAIPEI — Not happy with your diplomatic situation? Fear not. Simply create a stronger bargaining position, vigorously promote it and move forward with the reality you want to see. That was Beijing’s tactic at the Asean and East Asia summits in Cambodia this past week, where some members of the 10-party bloc pushed for talks over the increasingly volatile South China Sea.

Temperature rising in the South China Sea

BANGKOK — China’s largest claimed island in the disputed South China Sea, Yongxing, is just over half the size of New York’s Central Park. Its next-largest claim in the sea, Taiping Island, would fit inside Beijing’s Forbidden City palace with room to spare. These outcroppings are crumbs peeking up from a vast abyss. Many are swallowed by waves at high tide. Yet many of the sea’s dribs and drabs of soil are the focus of a territorial dispute with ever-sinking odds of resolution.

Japan v. China: small islands, big worry

TOKYO — Anyone who believed the territorial row between Japan and China would be a short-lived exercise in controlled aggression must now concede that the region is in this for the long haul. More than a month after Japan's government bought the islands from their private Japanese owners, sparking violent demonstrations in China, both countries continue to wage a war of brinkmanship, while trade sinks slowly toward the bottom of the East China Sea.

Senkaku dispute: Japan uses water cannons on Taiwan ships

Japan Coast Guard patrol ships fired water cannons at the Taiwanese fishing vessels after they refused to listen to warnings not to enter Japanese waters in the morning.

View from China: no mood to party

  TAIPEI — “The Japanese government, regardless of China's firm opposition, insisted on 'buying' the Diaoyu Islands, which was illegal and severely damaged China-Japan relations and ruined the atmosphere of the 40th anniversary,” state-run Xinhua reported on its website.

View from Japan: 'disappointed' in China for canceling anniversary celebration

TOKYO — The immediate threat of a clash between Chinese and Japanese vessels near the Senkakus has abated, but the recent flare-up over ownership of the islands in the East China Sea has left one of the region's most important bilateral relationships in tatters. On Sunday, China abruptly canceled an event scheduled for Thursday to celebrate 40 years since the countries normalized diplomatic ties. The row of the five islets has led to the cancellation of thousands of flight bookings, mostly from China to Japan, as well as sports and cultural events.

Despite economic hit, Japan stands by Senkaku stance

TOKYO — Days after a territorial dispute sparked demonstrations and attacks on Japanese businesses in dozens of Chinese cities, all appeared quiet in the East China Sea on Thursday.
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