China’s Rise = Remilitarizing Japan?

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Neil, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    Last year was a bad one for China’s soft power. Will Japan’s response prompt a dangerous spiral of arms spending—and spark conflict?

    Saying publicly for the first time what they’ve thought privately for years, Japanese defence planners in December announced a new defence posture that fingered China’s military rise as justification for a new, more proactive approach, including a refocusing of forces from Japan’s north to its southernmost islands.

    Unfortunately, China’s response was as predictable as it was unhelpful: it issued a blunt statement saying that no country had the right to make irresponsible comments about its development.

    From a distance, it’s hard not to be alarmed at the three trends that have dominated the region over the last decade: the growth of Chinese power, the relative decline of US power and the resulting remilitarisation of Japanese power. Indeed, given the growth in importance of the region to the global economy, these trends are as alarming as they are dangerous since they have the capacity to be self-fulfilling, driving a cycle of mistrust and spiralling arms spending. And, since Japan’s defence posture automatically includes the United States (which is obliged by treaty to come to Japan’s defence) any potential conflict has all the ingredients for a ‘great power war.’

    How did this happen to a China that seemed intent on managing a history defying ‘peaceful rise’? How did this happen to a United States that has sought to reassure China and give Beijing a seat at the table? And how did it happen to a pacifist Japan, led by a newly-elected political party that looked intent on building closer ties with China? A complicated mix of security dynamics, historical grievances and major shifts in aggregated power mean there’s no easy answer.

    The relationship between Japan and China has long been complex. Traditionally, the junior partner and recipient of culture, religion and writing from the 19th century on, Japan developed more quickly the tools, institutions and weapons that ultimately felled its giant neighbour. Following the 1853 US
    intrusion on its sleepy isolation, Japan began its rise as a great power by focusing on economic and military power.

    Using the slogan Fukokyu Kohei, ‘rich country, strong military,’ Japan emulated the strategic thinking of the West, with particular focus on the kind of naval power projection discussed by Alfred Thayer Mahan. Japan’s quicker development reversed its historic relationship with China, and by the time of the Boxer Rebellion in 1899, Japan was fighting alongside British, French and German forces and carving out its own trade empire on the Chinese mainland.

    While China’s rise over the last 20 years has done much to restore the historic balance between the two states, it’s more than possible this historical experience continues to shape current Chinese policy and the attitudes of policy-making elites. Defence spending, for example, has surged—doubling every five years—with much going into developing China’s blue-water naval capabilities. (When pressed on this issue Chinese diplomats tend to point to China’s past vulnerability to naval-borne threats).

    In addition, Sino-Japanese relations remain beset by historical tensions: Japan’s history textbooks stirred controversy in China in the 1990s, while former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine—a site commemorating the Japanese war dead, including Class A war criminals—sparked major anti-Japanese riots in China in 2005, and a cessation of senior level talks. For its part, China has allowed further anti-Japanese sentiment to develop in its own history books, and the establishment of a number of war museums dedicated to revealing atrocities committed by Japanese forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

    But above all, Chinese military leaders are cognizant of the fact that modern Asian security is dominated by US military power. The US Pacific Fleet is the largest naval command in the world and includes six aircraft carriers, 2000 aircraft and over 125,000 personnel deployed across bases in Japan, South Korea and other locations on China’s immediate borders.

    Back in 1985, there was a significant shift in Chinese naval strategy, from one of defending Chinese coastlines to one of meeting threats at sea, called Offshore Defence. It’s arguably this policy that has had the biggest influence on strategic thinking in the region, both as an expression of growing Chinese power and as a cause of friction with the United States and other Asian states. Coming three years after the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea had internationalised sea resource and maritime territorial issues, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) doctrine of ‘Offshore Defence’ conceived of two island chains forming geographic defence barriers to any attacking opponent.

    The first island chain supposedly stretches from the southern tip of Japan to the South China Sea and encompasses many of the region’s most important sea lanes of communication (as well as its richest fishing waters), while the second chain is supposed to stretch out into the Pacific, and includes Indonesia, Borneo, the Bonins, the Carolinas and the Philippines. The development of a Chinese submarine and anti-ship missile systems became a priority for the PLAN over the next decades, something that was hastened by the 1995-6 Taiwan Strait Crisis, in which Bill Clinton reacted to Sino-Taiwanese tensions by sending two carrier battle groups into the waters around Taiwan to demonstrate US willingness to defend the island.

    Such US muscle-flexing met with a Chinese response. Between 2002 and 2006, the Pentagon estimates that Russia sold over $11 billion in military craft to China, including Su-27 Flanker and Su-30 Flanker interceptors, 3M-54E (SS-N-27B) anti-ship cruise missiles, Il-78 Midas in-flight refuelling tankers, Il-76 Candid transport planes, Kilo-class diesel submarines and Sovremenny Class destroyers. And, alongside this build-up, China has developed naval facilities that have extended its reach into South East Asia, including a submarine base on Hainan Island, as well as developing long-distance operations through anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.

    Mahan, a US naval thinker who had a strong influence over Japan, is said to be in vogue again, this time amongst Chinese naval strategists. Diplomatically, Beijing has sought to balance these increased capabilities with reassurances to Japan and other Asian powers that its intentions are benign. And, until recently, most states had been content to accept the notion of a ‘peaceful rise.’

    Unfortunately, 2010 saw a marked increase in incidents involving Chinese naval units, unequivocal or non-compromising statements on maritime disputes and a crisis in relations with nearly all of China’s maritime neighbours.

    So how will traditional rival Japan respond? For nearly two decades, Japan’s remilitarisation has piggy-backed on North Korean bellicosity and the desire to be a more ‘normal’ country—an equal partner to the United States. But as the ‘unipolar moment’ of dominant US economic and political power has receded in the shadow of two costly wars, burgeoning national debt and the lingering effects of the financial crisis, Japan has begun to realise that it must be able to defend its interests in the same way that other normal states do, namely with economic and military hard power.

    In addition, Japan has also noted the immense inroads that Chinese trade missions have made in Africa, South-east Asia and the Middle East, many at Tokyo’s expense. While the new defence guidelines don’t alter Japan’s pacifist constitution, there are signs that some of the walls are coming down. For example, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan came very close to giving in to Japanese Ministry of Defence pressure to overturn the Three Principles Ban on Weapons Export, established in 1967 as a self-imposed moratorium on defence exports.

    In the end, a typically Japanese compromise was reached where the wording maintains the Three Principles Ban, but is also worded in a way that could allow for future ‘reform.’ It is, according to one Japanese civil servant, ‘policy-making by a thousand cuts.’ While Japan’s military budget continues to fall this year and is under one percent of GDP, it remains one the largest in the world—usually among the top ten. Japan has particularly strong maritime capabilities, and is developing better counters to Chinese anti-access strategies including a larger submarine fleet, a campaign to get a new fighter and a new helicopter-carrier in the design phase. And there are also plans to deploy ground forces with anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to the various islands that make up Japan’s southernmost territories. In addition, Japan’s relative new governing party, the Democratic Party of Japan, has backed away from its initial pan-Asian policies in favour now of consolidating and strengthening the alliance with the United States.

    When tasked with the decline in their soft power, Chinese analysts and foreign policy editorials are quick to apportion blame to the United States. Seeking to benefit from a ‘divide and conquer strategy,’ the US has beefed up its own lagging influence at China’s expense, they suggest. The problem with this narrative is that while it correctly sees China’s influence loss as the United States’ gain, it misunderstands the causes.

    China is, above all, responsible for developing a power-projection capability and for using it for short-term gain. While China’s point of view that this is no more, no less than previous rising powers have sought is understandable, such thinking, planning and acting is more characteristic of 19th century powers than of those in the 21st century.

    And the results of all this are already clear. Further Chinese militarisation will be met with further Japanese militarisation—and thus begins a dangerous cycle. By focusing on Japan’s past rather than a mutually beneficial future, and by embracing the worst elements of nationalism, Chinese leaders have sought to displace questions over legitimacy and internal political reform.

    Japan and the United States, for their part, view China as a potential partner and as a major player at the table of nations, and so must act on this positive side of the relationship. But there are questions the US will have to answer as well. After all, it has dominated Asia for nearly 60 years, and will seek to maintain its role in the region for the foreseeable future. The question, then, is how much is the United States willing to let China carve out a role for itself in the region, and how much is China willing to allow the US to share?

    While these questions are ultimately the most sensitive and the most difficult to approach openly, they can still take place at a scholarly level, in trade talks, and in the media. But it’s already clear that although the United States might be willing to afford a role to China, Beijing must tread carefully around its defence commitments in the region and avoid threatening the neighbours.

    The future of the region depends on Chinese leaders making sensible choices. But it will also depend on Japanese and American leaders offering China sensible options.



    http://the-diplomat.com/2011/01/21/chinas-rise-remilitarizing-japan/4/
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This was bound to happen hostilities have been rising in the region and the balance of power is gone. New alliances are also forming between unlikely allies like South Korea and Japan.
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Japan and SK have to independently start to posture against China.That would help India no end as China will be forced to look east and not south.
     
  5. kickok1975

    kickok1975 Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    China's policy is always look at East than South. In history Japan is always a threat to China and Chinese people has deep resent for Japan. For India is a different story, Chinese people has no hate and many of them are attracted by Indian culture.
     
  6. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

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    i know what japanese did with china in ww2
    my only concern in china turning into new era japan.
     
  7. kickok1975

    kickok1975 Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Japanese and Chinese look similar. But they are different. Japanese culture has a sense of deep sorrow. They worship death and sacrifice and will do extrodinary things for it. Chinese people in general follow the doctrine of Confucius and value Harmony and Peace. It was just recently when communism come to China that some violence was encouraged.
     
  8. JustForLaughs

    JustForLaughs Regular Member

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    good. China is going to build up its military regardless, if an invader not even 100 years ago wants to re-arm, China gains a potential better reason. besides, how long you think Japan can hold up in an arms race against China? a new kind of label was created when countries like Soviet Union and United States were at their peak. it is a group Japan can never hope to be in, but China can.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is true regarding Japan and China standoff.

    However, Japan has a stronger backer - the US.

    And ever since hostilities are warming up in the South China Seas and China's claim of many islands involving all the countries that own the islands/ claim the islands, there has been a slowly inching towards the US.

    There are news reports that comment that the US is trying to 'encircle' China.

    If that be the case, then it is not good news for China.
     
  10. JustForLaughs

    JustForLaughs Regular Member

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    China cant be contained and will replace US as the most powerful force in Asia sooner or later. US presence in Asia has done very little to deter China pursuing its claims and interests. also if China-US ties warm up checkmate just comes sooner.
     
  11. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    When was their ever a balance of power? China has always been dwarfed by US power. Now that PLAN is growing a little bit, the US is forming regional alliances that again dwarf China.
     
  12. JustForLaughs

    JustForLaughs Regular Member

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    US has less influence than it did in the past. US always had Japan and South Korea from the get go. however in recent years their clout in South East Asia is losing to Chinese influence. the only time south east asian countries distanced from China was due to Chinese pushes, not American pull. China is the one calling the shots in SEA. US is more like a lifeline for SEA countries that feel they are being dragged into a whirlpool controlled by China.
     
  13. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    You are right about USA influence getting less but notoriety and aggressive and reckless behavior of China last yeasr has more than compensated for it. Vietnam is firmly with USA and so is India. Japan and South Korea are both rearming themself. anyone can notice it but you people have selective myopia and only see things that you want to see.
     
  14. JustForLaughs

    JustForLaughs Regular Member

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    you need to learn how to read. you basically repeated what i said and added nothing.

    i already stated, US decline in influence is directly due to Chinese pulls. any so called distancing was also because of Chinese moves, in this case pushes.

    so, what do you call it when China's pulls and pushes is what decides what happens in SEA?

    you describe it as China calls the shots in SEA.

    as i mention before, if China and US do warm up, the ace card is gone and China runs free in Asia, moreso than before.

    you may bring up Chinese actions pushing other countries to the US. however you completely miss that this shows China will pursue its interests regardless if the US is there or not. US simply cant contain or stop China. this is reality. how much longer do you think running to the US is going to do anything?

    hasnt helped south korea with north korea much. didnt help japan when china and russia had territorial issues with them. Japan and SK re-arming only shows they do not have faith US still has the power to back their interests.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  15. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    well sir I will be obliged if you can help me with this . I am a nerd and can get some help from a scholar of your calibre .
    respected sir what do you mean by Chinese pull and push? I am sorry I cannot understand anything from your sentence.Are you chinese playing push and pull at sea?

    Keep on day dreaming that Asia is under china control while truth is that China is digging its own grave.
    respected sir are you on grass or some other kind of hallucinating drugs?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  16. JustForLaughs

    JustForLaughs Regular Member

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    OK, ill give you some very basic examples so even someone like you can understand.


    Chinese pull = economic influence
    Chinese push = territorial claims


    LMAO digging a grave? thats funny. well, if we had this convo 10 years ago, and we decide to let reality dictate who is more correct, i think the answer is clear. i guess we can just let future events decide who is dreaming again.
     
  17. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    well if you can troll and talk something that has almost no sense so can I . talk sense and I am all sensible guy for you. Lets have some sensible debate here and future will definitely decide who is right and who is wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  18. JustForLaughs

    JustForLaughs Regular Member

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    sorry, everyone i said is common knowledge. who doesnt know Chinese influence in SEA has dramatically increased at US expense? who doesnt know Chinese territorial ambition push the idea that SEA go back with US?

    what i added was insight. that combining the 2 you can see that it is others that are reacting to China's moves. that regardless of the 2, China is pursuing its interest.


    im sure you can give me a very long list of Chinese aggressive moves throughout Asia. OK. but dont then turn around and tell me other countries are seriously considering running to the US like that means anything because that long list you have was done with the US being the most powerful force in Asia.
     
  19. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    As I said earlier USA influence reduced in Asia or rather whole world . China should have used it as opportunity to gain influence . Instead it decided to do some aggressive military moves to threaten and scare neighbours .
    What USA is doing is just balancing the equation here or rather using the opportunity due to foolishness of china to capitalize on opportunity . China itself gave a golden opportunity to USA to come in its backyard . Japan is rethinking on changing its military doctrine and will be more aggressive. I agree when it comes to country wise military strength China will be number one in Asia. But way things are going on A NATO like structure in Asia against Chinese Hegemonly is not very far away. If anyone is to be blamed its China . China plans to rule the world but will be bogged down in Asia itself. thats the diffrent between USA and China. USA is wise enough to have a peaceful neighborhood while china itself created so many enemies due to its attitude.
     
  20. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    double post by accident
    please delete this one - tia
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  21. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    kickoff - this is very interesting . I have had chinese friends in the past as the overseas chinese population is pretty large but not japanese friends as their number is far smaller . It would be good if you could start a thread explaining to us non-chinese ( and non-japanese ) the differences albeit from your vantage point . It would be much appreciated.

    It i a great pity that violence had entered the chinese nation - no doubt it had to have been perpetrated by communists - who else !
     

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