According to an opinion piece in the SMH by Prof Hugh White, war between China and an allied Japan and USA is an increasing possibility.
The Greek historian Thucydides first explained the difference almost 2500 years ago. He wrote that the catastrophic Peloponnesian War started from a spat between Athens and one of Sparta’s allies over a relatively insignificant dispute. But what caused the war was something much graver: the growing wealth and power of Athens, and the fear this caused in Sparta.
I of course find the prospect of a war so close-to-home unnerving, but this is an interesting analysis of a series of seemingly small events that could escalate.
I recall when I was living in Japan in the early 90′s that there was press and worry about the Kuril Islands Dispute between Russia and Japan (both claim sovereignty). Fortunately that situation
seemed to be resolved peacefully (although unresolved at this writing) seems to be being negotiated diplomatically and has not resulted in military conflict.