Japan’s Containment Strategy against China

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Yusuf, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Japan has begun to play a more vigorous role in East Asia’s security affairs, and China is responding with a mixture of wariness and outright hostility. That development puts the United States in an awkward position. Japan is Washington’s most important political and military ally in the region, as well as a long-standing, crucial economic partner. But China’s economic importance to the United States, already substantial, is likely to become even more so in the coming years. And U.S. officials understand that China is a fast-rising geopolitical player in East Asia and globally.


    Ted Galen Carpenter
    Washington wants to maintain friendly, productive relations with both countries, but that task may prove extremely challenging in the coming decade. Because of historical factors, especially Imperial Japan’s brutal treatment of a weak China during the 1930s and early 1940s, Sino-Japanese relations have typically been rather cool, despite substantial economic ties. Overall bilateral relations have become even frostier over the past year or so.

    The proximate cause of that chill is the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. That simmering quarrel flared in mid and late 2012 when the Japanese government purchased some of the islands from a private owner and proceeded to tighten its administrative control. Anti-Japanese riots erupted in several Chinese cities during that period.

    Chinese leaders see Tokyo’s actions regarding the islands as symptomatic of a broader, worrisome trend in the country’s behavior. The emergence of the nationalistic Shinzo Abe as Japan’s prime minister adds to Beijing’s concerns. Indications that Tokyo might end its self-imposed limit of spending no more than one percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product on the military provoke strongly negative reactions in Beijing. The same is true of signs that Abe’s government might seek to modify article 9 of Japan’s post-World War II constitution, which places severe restrictions on the country’s use of military force. “Given the Japanese government’s refusal to apologize for Japan’s aggression during World War II, any revision of Japan’s constitution,” an editorial in China Daily warned, would be “a cause for concern in the rest of the world.”

    Japan is fast embracing a more active foreign policy, especially with regard to security matters, and much of the policy appears aimed at curbing China’s power and influence in the region. Even ostensibly non-military measures seem to have that goal. In late May, Japan canceled the remaining debt that Myanmar owed to Tokyo and then extended a new loan for $504 million. That was an unsubtle effort to dilute Beijing’s influence with a long-standing economic and security client.

    Japan’s direct moves regarding security issues have spooked Chinese leaders even more, as the Japanese government has established or strengthened security ties with several countries. In January 2013, Tokyo and Manila agreed to enhance their cooperation on maritime security. Collaboration also is growing between Japan and both Singapore and Australia on such matters. In the recent summit between Prime Minister Abe and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the first steps were taken toward cooperation between their two countries on the highly sensitive issue of nuclear technology.

    Tokyo’s rhetoric is also noticeably more assertive—and not just on its territorial dispute with China. In early April, former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba, a leading figure in the governing Liberal Democratic Party, insisted that Japan had a right to launch preemptive military strikes against North Korea—another prominent Chinese client--if officials concluded that an act of aggression was imminent.

    China has recently softened its overall policy in East Asia in an attempt to appear more reasonable to its neighbors and to focus attention (and suspicion) on Japan’s ambitions. Speaking to the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security conference in Singapore, in early June, Lt. Gen. Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, affirmed that China recognized Japan’s sovereignty over Okinawa and the other islands in the Ruyuku chain. His statement repudiated an earlier editorial in People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s main publication, which questioned Japan’s historical claim to those islands. The People’s Daily comment had sparked widespread worries that the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute might escalate dramatically, with unpleasant ramifications for the entire region.

    Beijing’s diplomatic olive branch, though, is accompanied by pressure on the United States to rein-in its Japanese ally. And there is an undertone of suspicion that Washington is actually encouraging Tokyo’s bolder stance. China rebuked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for supporting Japan’s right to administer the disputed islands. “We urge the U.S. side to take a responsible attitude towards dealing with the Diaoyu Islands,” stated Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, adding that U.S. officials needed to “be cautious in what they say and do and take concrete steps to maintain regional stability.”

    Other Chinese opinion leaders have been more caustic regarding U.S. policy. In October, veteran Chinese diplomat Chen Jia charged that Washington was deliberately using Japan as a strategic tool aimed at containing China. Chen, who earlier served as China’s ambassador to Japan, accused the United States of encouraging the revival of Japanese militarism.

    The Obama administration will continue to be buffeted by such conflicting pressures from East Asia’s two leading powers. Japan is insisting on stronger backing from its American ally, not only regarding its territorial dispute with China but on such matters as dealing with North Korea. Tokyo is seeking nothing less than Washington’s endorsement of a more active, vigorous Japanese security role in East Asia. It has already secured U.S. backing for the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute, and it is clear that the Obama administration sees Japan as a crucial component of the U.S. strategic pivot to East Asia. But if the United States embraces a more assertive Japanese regional security role, it risks antagonizing an already worried and annoyed China. Washington needs to proceed with great caution, lest it find itself in the middle of a growing power struggle between Japan and China.

    http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/japans-containment-strategy-against-china/
     
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  3. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    US has been two-timing Japan, with China, since the seventies.

    Japan, unless it breaks its populace's pacifism, overhauls its constitution, mends fences with Russia, apologizes to Korea & fixes its demographic constraints, has little chance against China.

    PRC's CCP (through its state-owned companies & MNC's) have been contributing massively to the US Democrats' election campaigns & fund-raising activities. In turn, Democrats have been paying off their debt since Clinton's first term in office. Trend has only intensified with Obama's re-election. Expect this to continue for some time to come.

    Obama would only make statements about US pivot in Asia but with little action on high-seas & littoral waters, even as PLAAN keeps on grabbing one archipelago after another from US allies. And, all US allies have already realized the futility of depending upon an emasculated US (economically & policy-wise). So, the news of ASEAN military alliance in making.

    Only when Japan has fixed its demographic issues (very long-term effort) & consequently fastened its economic recovery, taken S. Korea into full confidence/warm embrace & unshackled the citizenry as well as legislators of constitutionally imposed restrictions regarding militarization, Japan would able to take China head-on.

    Things, as they stand today, are apparently, tricky.
     
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  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Japanese have little chance against china? This reporter must be an idiot.
    Japan has more advanced nuclear program and more fissile material than china.
    Japan is planning sixth generation fighters.
     
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  5. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    pls read http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/china/920-chinas-vulnerability-malacca-strait-17.html, the dilemma lies ahead for Japan too as it has to pass through East & South China Sea.

    and Japan is not facing China alone. Russia and Japan have a bigger spat >> http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/europe-russia/7037-why-russia-holding-south-kurils.html Diaoyu looks nothing compared to Kurils.

    And America will allow Japan to get wild out of cage??:lol:
     
  6. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Given the age of Japan's nuclear plants, especially the ones that would be tapped for a fissile material breeding program, it would be easy for China to Stuxnet the living hell out of them. What would the anti-nuclear Japanese populace think if they woke up to a half-dozen Fukushimas leaking radiation all over Tokyo harbor because their government was trying to rearm in secret?

    Most nations are planning sixth gen fighters, but those fighters are decades off. In the near term, Japan is blowing its advanced fighter procurement budget on the F-35 - a fighter design which has been hacked so badly it might as well be made of glass.
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Japan is still under us nuclear umbrella.
     
  8. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    I am the idiot reporter :p I wrote this. Original thoughts, no Chinese copy-paste :rofl:
     
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  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Nice article but just a simple fact japan is China's biggest investor and second largest trading partner
    What would happen if japan pulled.out? Japan can hurt china economically and militarily.
     
  10. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    You do realise the difference between civilian nuclear tech and nuclear weapon, right?

    Yes, I am also planning to win the next super lotto.
     
  11. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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  12. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, Japan is.

    I did some analysis over these factors recently & found that Japan cannot pullout completely from China. It's stake in Chinese economy are far too deep to allow that & it would take a lot of time to do this. Chinese low-cost manufacturing, flexible labour markets, discipline, efficiency & conducive business atmosphere are factors that let it steal a march on almost all manufacturing destinations in the world.

    Economically: Yes, to a great extent.
    Militarily: No, any confrontation would result in a stalemate.

    China would not be able to inflict any significant damage to Japan in a conventional conflict while Japanese armed forces have short legs, so they could be superb for self-defence but not that great for offensive operations.
     
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  13. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    US (Read, Democrats) is the main problem.
     
  14. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    This is the typical ploy that the Chinese adopt.

    One, the official view.

    Two, a quasi official view.

    Both the views are diametrically opoosite.

    That keeps all confused, as also allows leeway to backtrack when found feasible!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
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  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The US cannot abandon Japan, S Korea and Philippines.

    The form the bulwark to keeping China in check and also the firm base for US presence in the Pacific off the Chinese seaboard.
     
  17. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, two of the three hate each other and the other is militarily impotent.
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    A common adversary makes many a strange bedfellow close shoulders.

    That apart, there is no permanent friends or permanent enemies. There is only permanent interets.

    Look at China and Pakistan.

    Pakistan merrily takes all assistance from China with both palm and then merrily kills Chinese in Balochistan and Gilgit as also assist the terrorists make merry in Xinjiang!

    And yet, China accepts all that with bruised but latent anger and only meek platitude to indicate concern!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
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  19. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes that is true. But it doesn't mean US will fight for these countries on several rocks in Pacific.
    If Japan or Philippine lost on these islands, it will only make them relying on US more than before!
     
  20. desicanuk

    desicanuk Regular Member

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    Nobody thought Nazi Germany was containable.Not only was it contained but it's hegemonistic,expansonist,aggressive and arrogant behavior led to formation of an alliance of free nations that eventually led to its defeat.There is a lesson here for......!!!!
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No, the US will not fight physically, but would do everything diplomatically, psychologically and build international consensus against China and put China in an embarrassing spot.

    China is trying to find its place as a leader of Nations and doing all it can to ensure it.

    Therefore, any adverse and sustained 'showcasing' of China as a hegemonic nation with imperialist ambition would be very counterproductive.
     

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