The China and Japan face off over five islands has sunk relations to a 40-year low - the worst since diplomatic relations began. But the sabre rattling is just for show, say analysts.
To protest the US's arms sales to Taiwan, China halted contact between the two nations' militaries, which has expanded in recent months to include study tours and naval exercises. China also threatened Tuesday to retaliate against US companies involved in the arms sales.
China's second-ranking PLA officer is visiting the US this week as the two powers try to put relations on a more cordial footing. But mutual suspicion is likely to remain strong as China expands its naval presence in the Pacific.