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The remembered history of the Second World War continues to infect contemporary relations between China and its Northeast Asian neighbours. This article argues that a ‘history spiral’ has taken hold in Northeast Asia as a result of the region's changing strategic order and domestic politics in China, Japan and South Korea. Using the case studies of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands territorial dispute, the Dokdo/Takeshima territorial disputes, and Sino-South Korean memorial diplomacy, we explore the interactive spiralling dynamics of Northeast Asia's history problems. We suggest that despite some recent signs of an improvement in Northeast Asian relations since late 2014, the ‘history spiral’ is likely to remain a fixture of Northeast Asia's international politics owing to the region's changing strategic order.
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