Japanese PM Naoto Kan warns of China's military rise

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Rahul92, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Rahul92

    Rahul92 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 4, 2010
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    Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has expressed concern over China's maritime activities and military build-up, amid a lingering diplomatic row.

    He called on China to act as a "responsible member of the international community".

    Mr Kan made the comments in his first major policy speech since surviving a leadership challenge last month.

    Relations between the two countries hit a low point last month over a maritime incident near a disputed island chain.

    Mr Kan said the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, also claimed by China, belonged to Japan

    "The rise of China has been remarkable in recent years," Mr Kan told Japan's parliament.

    "But we are concerned about its strengthening defence capabilities without transparency and accelerating maritime activities spanning from the Indian Ocean to the East China Sea."

    Earlier this year, China announced its military spending would rise by 7.5% in 2010, ending a long run of double digit growth.

    Many experts believe the actual amount spent by China on its armed forces is far higher than the published amount.

    Chinese officials say that as a proportion of GDP, China still spends less than other countries, such as the US.
    Angry reaction

    The diplomatic row was touched off by the collision of a Chinese fishing vessel and two Japanese patrol boats in waters off a chain of small islands claimed by both countries.

    China reacted angrily when Japan detained the captain of the fishing vessel for more than two weeks, demanding an apology from Tokyo and compensation over the incident.

    Beijing suspended high-level talks with Tokyo, exports to Japan of rare earth metals were temporarily halted and four Japanese men were detained for allegedly entering a restricted military area.

    Three of them have been released and returned to Japan on Friday, but a fourth remained in detention.

    In another development, China's national tourism agency warned Chinese tourists to watch their safety in Japan.

    The warning was issued after a bus carrying Chinese visitors to the country was surrounded by dozens of vehicles. People then reportedly started kicking the bus and shouting abuse at the tourists inside.
    'Uncertainty and instability'

    The seas around the uninhabited chain of islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, may have rich oil and gas deposits.

    Mr Kan repeated Japan's claim to the islands.

    "The Senkaku islands are an integral part of our country, historically and under international law," he said.

    He said good relations with China - Japan's largest trading partner - were vital to both countries, but said China must act as a responsible member of the international community.

    Japan needed to adopt more active foreign and defence policies to deal with "uncertainty and instability that exist in areas surrounding our country", Mr Kan said.

    His speech followed remarks from China's foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday urging Japan to "stop making irresponsible remarks and safeguard the larger interests of bilateral relations with concrete actions".

    The spokesman, Jiang Yu, said: "We are willing to resolve our disputes through friendly negotiations but the Chinese government's and people's will and resolve are unswerving on issues involving China's territorial integrity and sovereignty."


    Ongoing disputes

    * Gas fields: The countries argue over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea
    * Disputed islands: Both countries claim ownership of Senkaku/Diaoyu islands
    * Yasukuni Shrine: Memorial to Japan's war dead which China sees as glorifying war criminals

    BBC News - Japanese PM Naoto Kan warns of China's military rise
  3. Patriot

    Patriot Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 11, 2010
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    Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
    How to Improve China-Japan Ties | The Diplomat

    This week’s Asia-Europe Meeting would be an excellent place for the two to launch a new initiative—tackling chemical weapons.

    Promoting global economic recovery and managing the consequences of climate change might officially top the agenda at this week’s Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels. But most international attention has been focused on something quite different—whether Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would actually speak to each other.

    The two did reportedly meet for almost half an hour after dinner last night, the kind of exchange that's essential if the two sides are going to start addressing lingering tensions over the September 8 incident in which a Chinese fishing trawler collided—the Japanese say deliberately—with two Japan Coast Guard patrol boats sent to escort the vessel from disputed islands in the East China Sea. The uninhabited islets (Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China) are controlled by Japan, but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

    The Japanese initially detained the crew before releasing most of them several days later. But they kept the captain for further questioning and possible trial. The Chinese government responded with increasingly vehement protests and warnings, with authorities eventually arresting four employees of Japan’s Fujita Corp, as well as an accompanying Chinese worker, on September 20. The Chinese accused them of supposedly entering and filming a restricted military zone in Shijiazhuang.

    The Japanese have since released the captain, but the Chinese continue to detain one of the four Fujita employees. Yoshiro Sasaki, Hiroki Hashimoto and Junichi Iguchi returned home this weekend, but Sadamu Takahashi remains in custody pending further investigation.

    Although the four Fujita employers were detained as possible Japanese spies, they were actually assessing whether to bid on a Japanese government project to construct a facility to dispose of chemical weapons the Imperial Japanese Army abandoned in China at the end of World War II. Ironically, then, the September 25 arrests have actually highlighted an area of past Sino-Japanese conflict in which the two countries are now cooperating—chemical weapons.

    The Imperial Japanese Army, which brutally occupied much of China in the years leading up to 1945, left hundreds of thousands of chemical weapons shells on Chinese territory after Japan surrendered. But it’s only relatively recently that the two countries have begun eliminating these weapons, following years of delays.

    The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which took effect in 1997, requires its parties to destroy any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of another country. Japan has accordingly committed to paying all the costs associated with eliminating the former Imperial Japanese Army’s stockpile, including excavating the weapons, transporting them to a disposal point and eliminating them in an environmentally acceptable manner.

    Unfortunately, the CWC set unrealistic dates for eliminating all chemical weapons. The original timeline required each party to destroy its stockpiles, including weapons ‘abandoned’ on the territory of another country, within a decade. The United States, Russia, Japan and other countries have had to request multiple extensions beyond the original April 2007 deadline, with the United States itself not expected to finish disposing of its chemical weapons stockpile until around 2021.

    Last month, Hideo Hiraoka, then senior vice minister with the Cabinet Office, announced that the process of eliminating China’s chemical weapons had begun following Fujita’s construction of a mobile detoxification and disposal facility near Nanjing (the Cabinet Office's Abandoned Chemical Weapons Office had hired Fujita last year to build the mobile facility). The corporation is now considering bidding on proposals to construct additional chemical weapons disposal projects in other parts of China.

    But the arrests threaten a further postponement. ‘We'd hoped to start accepting bids for construction this fiscal year,’ one Cabinet Office official noted. ‘All we can do now is try to advance the project, but considering the timing of the arrests, I'm worried it might be affected.’

    It would be a shame if this latest spat disrupted progress on the issue, because addressing mutual chemical weapons threats in the rest of Asia and beyond could provide the basis for much-needed future security collaboration between China and Japan and help ease tensions between the two. After all, it wouldn’t have to stop there—in addition to eliminating abandoned Japanese chemical weapons in China, the two countries could jointly develop strategies to counter regional and global chemical weapons threats.

    Both countries have important assets that they can apply to chemical disarmament. China, whose government likes to describe itself as a leading developing country that seeks to advance the interests of other developing states, often enjoys leadership status with this group. Meanwhile, the Non-Aligned Movement, a recognized bloc at CWC meetings, presently includes 112 of the 187 CWC States Parties.

    Japan for its part has regularly provided generous funding for international non-proliferation initiatives, giving special priority to supporting WMD disarmament efforts in Asia. Due to the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese non-proliferation efforts have focused on curbing the spread of nuclear weapons. But the Japanese are also eager to prevent the use of chemicals as weapons following their own horrifying experience with chemical terrorism—the most deadly post-war attack to occur in Japan transpired in March 1995, when the Aum Shinrikyo cult released toxic sarin gas inside the Tokyo Metro. Although only a dozen people died, 50 were seriously injured and hundreds more suffered vision and other temporary health problems. If it weren’t for some simple mistakes made by the cult’s operators, thousands could have been killed.

    One area where Beijing and Tokyo can collaborate, with the support of other countries, is to encourage the few remaining outliers to join the treaty. Although the CWC has experienced unprecedented membership growth for a major disarmament treaty—188 countries representing 98 percent of the world’s population, landmass and global chemical industry have joined—several Asian governments remain aloof from the convention. Burma, for example, signed the CWC in 1993 but hasn’t ratified the treaty, while the North Korean government has never signed the convention.

    Although China, Japan and other countries have rightly prioritized eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, the potential ease of use by terrorist groups means it would still be worthwhile pressing Pyongyang to destroy its chemical weapons as well.

    Chinese officials are generally seen as having considerable influence with the regimes in both Burma and North Korea, and so could persuasively argue that joining the convention would help strengthen these two governments’ tarnished non-proliferation reputations. Japan for its part could appeal to their more pecuniary interests by offering to cover the costs involved in their becoming CWC compliant.

    And Tokyo would not need to bear this burden alone. Although the CWC specifies that parties must incur all the costs of verifiably eliminating their chemical weapons stockpiles, in practice foreign governments have provided financial and other support for such activities. Albania, Iraq and especially Russia have received billions of dollars worth of assistance through international threat-reduction programmes.

    Indeed, Japan has already joined with the United States and the European Union in providing funding and other support for these initiatives. Brussels and especially Washington should therefore be equally generous in the case of the Asian outliers since transnational terrorists exploiting illicit trafficking networks could use any chemical weapons they acquire to attack targets anywhere on earth.

    And a good place to begin this new partnership would be at the current Asia-Europe Meeting. With the diplomatic and financial encouragement of the other attendees, Kan and Wen could reap enormous dividends if they could agree to accelerate removal of all abandoned chemical weapons from China and start a joint outreach effort to induce Burma and North Korea to enter the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    First though, they need to keep talking to each other.
  4. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

    Aug 20, 2010
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    Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    Well if you see the map, the island belongs to Japanese geographically. Okinawa islands are connected to it in a chain and since Okinawa is Japanese the Senkaku Islands also should be Japanese. I wonder why the Chinese are abusing their power by harassing smaller countries over small matters that hold no ground. First us, then Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines and now Japan. Does China seriously think that it can afford a military confrontation with 5 countries?
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Mr. Kan, stop wasting time

    It has taken the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) two long months to settle on the continuation of Kan Naoto as prime minister. Whatever past grudges or future intricacies might exist, the Kan Cabinet must get down to work without further delay.

    It is excruciating to think how much time the DPJ has wasted since it came to power last year concerning Japan's national interest in its foreign and security policies. The recent incident off the Senkaku Islands is particularly alarming and reminds us that we cannot afford to lose any more time.

    After twists and turns, the DPJ government finally decided to uphold the original plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, as proposed by the former Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito government. While these twists themselves have been a tremendous waste of time, they have further complicated the problem.

    Moreover, because of this wishy-washy handling of affairs, Japan's international standing has suffered lasting damage. The reference to Japan as the cornerstone of East Asia — a set phrase used to describe Japan for decades — has disappeared from U.S. documents on national defense released in the first half of this year. It might take years to bring back the phrase now that it has been removed. It may never come back.

    International situations are in constant flux and they have changed drastically in this wasted year. More conspicuous is the tremendous expansion of China's military power. Even more important is the change in the U.S. perception of the threat from China.

    To be sure, there are some short-term factors behind the recent changes in American perceptions. President Barack Obama, in anticipation of his first official visit to China last November, postponed any measures that could provoke China, including arms sales to Taiwan, a meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama (the supreme Tibetan spiritual leader) as well as any denunciation of human rights conditions in China.

    Since none of these measures could be put off indefinitely, Obama started carrying them out one after another this year, which invited strong (unnecessarily too strong, in my opinion) negative reactions from China that, in turn, worsened bilateral relations.

    While this may prove to be a temporary phenomenon, the appeasing stance of the Obama government vis-a-vis China may have perpetually influenced the power balance between the dove and hawk factions within China. In any event, China's expansion of its military power is a continuous, long-term trend, and it is inevitable that the United States and Japan will heighten their alert.

    Countermeasures to greater Chinese military power available to the U.S. will be either the expansion of its own military capabilities or further reliance on its allies' contributions. Since it has also become increasingly apparent during the past year that the U.S. is under tremendous financial strain because of the decline in tax revenue, the cost of the war in Afghanistan and financial outlays such as Medicare, greater expectations will naturally be placed on contributions from allies.

    In fact, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallace Gregson in congressional testimony stressed the need for an expansion of Japan's defense budget and, particularly, the need for Japan to sustain its host-nation support to U.S. military forces.

    To be sure, this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. In the early 1980s, for example, the U.S., in the face of the Soviet Union's rapid military expansion, appealed to its allies to expand their own war preparedness, resulting in a powerful collaboration among America's allies, which, in the end, won them the Cold War.

    It should be recalled, though, that the events at that time took place on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization front. What is happening this time is on the East Asian front and, therefore, it is Japan that will have to respond first to the U.S. request ahead of other allies.

    A mountain of issues related to the strengthening of the U.S.-Japan alliance awaits the Kan government's attention, including the upgrading of its defense budget, host-nation support and the exercise of the right to collective self-defense. The National Defense Program Outline has long been left unattended. The situation in Asia has also changed greatly. Most of all, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's declaration of the U.S. return to Asia, the Obama government is steering a course for stronger relations with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

    ASEAN had originally been a stronghold of Japan. It was Japan that persuaded Southeast Asian countries to accept China and Korea into the ASEAN Regional Forum. It must have been on the assumption that Japan retained great influence over ASEAN that then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama advocated an East Asia Community at the outset of his government and that then Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada announced that the proposed community would not include the U.S.

    ASEAN member nations have found that only the U.S. is reliable, having witnessed Secretary Clinton's determined opposition to China's territorial expansion in the South China Sea. They expect nothing from Japan concerning their vital security affairs. The Obama government has announced its intention to participate in meetings related to the ASEAN Summit and is reportedly considering stationing its ambassador to ASEAN in Jakarta. It is conceivable that the leadership of ASEAN might shift to the hands of the U.S. in the future.

    While the U.S. will not be so narrow-minded as to exclude Japan from the regional community, Japan must render its full support for the return of the U.S. to Asia, leaving behind what happened during the months of the Hatoyama government. This is a crucial issue for Japan itself, especially in light of the Senkaku Islands dispute.

    It so happens that the blue-ribbon committee on security and defense capabilities, appointed during the Hatoyama government, has recently published its final report. Since it is the report of the first committee officially set up under the DPJ government, the Kan administration must respect its recommendations.

    If the DPJ wishes to emphasize its originality, it could start by reviewing the three-point ban on weapons exports that LDP governments dared not to address. It would contribute to the U.S.-Japan joint exploration of weapon systems. It is high time that the DPJ government depart from its student activistlike fervor and return to the basics of assuring the security of the Japanese people and strengthening the alliance with the U.S.

    Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party government in the United Kingdom, which followed the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, succeeded in defending its national interest of maintaining the solid U.S.-British alliance by cooperating militarily with the U.S. in the war in Iraq — under calls for ethical action.

    Strengthening the alliance with the U.S. under the banner of "freedom values" should be easy to swallow for the "liberal" DPJ government.

    There is no time to waste. I urge the Kan government to push forward to address crucial issues.

    Hisahiko Okazaki is former ambassador to Thailand. This article is a translation of his Sept. 17 Seiron column in the Sankei Shimbun, with some modification.
  6. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

    May 20, 2009
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    you should have read more history book and geography book before you express your comment.

    1.Andaman Islands is much closer to Burma and Tailand than India,but it belongs still to India. So, distance doesn't matter here.

    2. the disputies Island is in the mid-way BTW Japan and China .

    3. The history of Diaoyu Island is much complicated than you think
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Japan's loss, America's gain?

    WATERLOO, Ontario — At the inaugural Singapore Global Dialogue on Sept. 23-24, there was a sharp exchange between retired Chinese and Japanese officials. In response to a question after his opening keynote address, former Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan admonished Japan for its inexplicable stance over the uninhabited but disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, the detention of the captain of the Chinese trawler that had collided with Japan Coast Guard vessels on Sept. 7, and the decision to try him in a Japanese court. He demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the captain.

    I shared a panel with Hitoshi Tanaka, Japan's former deputy foreign minister. The audience expected a rebuttal from him but instead he announced, to scattered applause, that just minutes ago, Japan had decided to release the captain. He called the incident a misunderstanding in the context of a leadership challenge in Japan. Because Japan effectively controls the islands, he said, Tokyo had no intention of making an issue of it.

    Chinese Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, who had drawn attention recently by warning Washington that any U.S. attack on China over Taiwan would invite a nuclear response, bluntly told Tanaka to stop spreading lies. The islands had been taken by Japan during the Sino-Japanese war in 1893 but should have been returned to China in accordance with international agreements, he insisted.

    The broader context to the diplomatic spat is the big global geopolitical shift under way. U.S. influence and prestige have fallen, but it remains the most influential international and the only truly global actor; Japan continues its slow decline; Russia is marking time; Europe's reach is strangely shorter than its grasp; India is starting to recapture world attention and interest; and the real winner is China with an ascendant economy, growing poise and expanding soft-power assets.

    Driven by strategic narcissism, the $3 trillion wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have helped to bankrupt America, which, by outsourcing manufacturing to China and services to India, has enfeebled its capacity to produce enough goods and services to pay its bills. The demonstration of the limits to U.S. power in Iraq and Afghanistan has left others fearful of U.S. power. Abusive practices in the war on terror and the global financial collapse have made them less respectful of American values. Their own resilience through the financial crisis has enhanced their self-confidence.

    China has strongly outpaced the industrial world in GDP and trade. It is no longer dependent on U.S. markets, managerial knowhow and technology, nor on U.S. power as a counterweight to a Soviet threat. It will be the major player in setting energy, mineral and commodity prices. The process, structures and rules of the game of international politics must be accommodated to China's growing clout.

    China has become much more assertive on a range of issues around the world. From the Copenhagen climate-change conference to Internet freedom, relations with India, and territorial disputes with Asian countries in the South China Sea, Chinese officials and analysts from its state-funded think tanks have issued a string of tough statements.

    Against this backdrop, the trigger to the initially measured but increasingly harsh denunciations of Japan over the fishing captain was not so much his detention as the decision to charge him in a Japanese court of law. This was interpreted as a formal assertion of Japanese sovereignty over a disputed territory that could not go unchallenged. The strident rhetoric was matched by concrete retaliation in the form of stopping shipments of rare-earth minerals, suspending unrelated negotiations, and arresting visiting Japanese private sector employees. Japan had badly miscalculated China's sensitivity and bargaining leverage and overestimated its relative negotiating strength.

    Tokyo capitulated and the shock waves are still rippling across the world. The consequences will be manifold. The new government has been humiliated domestically and denounced bitterly by political opponents and commentators. It totally mishandled the incident. Past practice has been to stop Chinese fishermen but not arrest them. Tokyo raised the ante and Beijing called its bluff.

    But the same government had been calibrating relations away from Washington toward Beijing. That will now be reversed. China's demands for an apology and compensation have been brusquely rejected. The long-standing U.S. alliance will be strengthened. Sentiment in favor of an independent nuclear capacity will gather force. The Japanese elite is quite capable of deciding on this regardless of public opinion, without taking the public into confidence.

    Other Asia-Pacific governments will accelerate the shift in respectful attention from Tokyo to Beijing. But they too will reaffirm, by word and deed, the value of an ongoing U.S. military presence and role in the region. Recent statements from senior U.S. officials suggest Washington's openness to such overtures.

    Instead of demonstrating unlimited U.S. power, Iraq and Afghanistan brutally exposed the limits to U.S. capacity to impose American will on local populations willing to fight back. China has been busy exploiting commercial opportunities behind U.S. Army lines in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as also in Iran. Beijing reaps the rewards where Washington pays in blood and treasure.

    Professor Paul Kennedy's thesis of implosion caused by unavoidable overreach by the logic of imperial rise and fall may yet prove correct, but not anytime soon. Washington can still veto most international action and no major world problem can be settled by working against it. The U.S. remains the guarantor of the trans-Atlantic, trans- Pacific and trans-American security orders.

    Washington will likely recalibrate relations with Beijing to avoid bankrolling its only serious geopolitical rival in the foreseeable future. When China declared the South China sea a "core interest," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded by declaring the area to be part of U.S. national interests and offered to mediate in the disputes.

    The risk of offending Beijing is outweighed by the need to reassure other Asian governments and peoples.

    As the decade of strategic distraction comes to an end, Washington may rediscover the geopolitical importance of Asia-Pacific to its enduring interests. The new world order will pivot on its relations with Beijing. Violent conflict is not in any country's interest or intention, but could erupt from accident, miscalculation, miscommunication — or hubris.

    Ramesh Thakur is a political science professor at the University of Waterloo, and a former U.N. assistant secretary general.
  8. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

    Aug 20, 2010
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    Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    Technically even Burma was a part of British India meaning that they're also supposed to be a part of the union. But we don't want more population burden. Burmese don't claim Andaman chains and respect our territorial integrity. I know you have suffered atrocities at the hands of Japanese but now getting back at them is not something good since your government is provoking around half a dozen countries behind not just Senkaku islands but other Southeast Asian Islands as well as certain provinces of our country. Your main objective is oil and mineral wealth but this is sheer bullying to demand something from others what is theirs.

    By your logic, we should be claiming almost every island country in Indian Ocean as ours since they're sitting in our ocean. This is not how things are supposed to work and brute force is not the way to get everything always you know.
  9. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 18, 2009
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    What is Japan worrying about?

    Japan has the best Navy, Airforce, and Army in Asia. No asian country can beat Japan.
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    The new Japanese PM is really worried of China and more so after the recent spat over territory.

    Japan is also worried about North Korea and its missile advancement.

    He is also firming in on the US Japan cooperation and has out the Okinawa base issue in the cold storage.

    48.000 US troops are in Japan.
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Without strategic depth, a nation is very vulnerable.
  12. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    Recently Japan gets very anxious about Medvedev's plan to visit southern Kuril Islands (4) which USSR / Russia captured in WW2. Japan once even controlled South Sakhlin Island which Russia ceded to Japan after the fiasco in Japan-Russia War (1904-1905) over Manchuria of China.

    Diaoyu is among the islands to be returned to China after WW2 in the Potsdam Proclamation. Okinawa (Ryukyu Kingdom) was annexed by Japan in 1879.

    In the recent visit Medvedev and Hu have reaffirmed their stance not allowing revision of 'historical conclusions' over WWII.
    Seen through the prism of Japan being part of the US's 1st island chain, China and Russia's recent approaches were just natural on the 'oriental front'.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A half-pike up the nostril

    China’s overreaction to a Japanese “provocation” has set its regional diplomacy back years

    Sep 30th 2010

    WHEN he woke up in Lilliput, bound by a lattice of slender ligatures, to find dozens of tiny men disporting themselves on his chest, Lemuel Gulliver let out a roar “so loud that they all ran back in fright”. Another waking giant, China, seems these days to be adopting a similar foreign policy. It has found it just as effective. But as Gulliver discovered, it has its drawbacks.

    The loudest roar has been aimed at Japan. After a Chinese trawler on September 7th rammed two of its coastguard vessels in waters off the disputed, Japanese-administered, islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, Japan detained the captain for a fortnight. China’s reaction was, in the words of Seiji Maehara, Japan’s foreign minister, “fairly hysterical”. And Mr Maehara saw signs of Chinese pressure “in various places”.

    Indeed, as Chinese officials issued dire warnings of unspecified consequences if their skipper were not freed, some odd things started happening. Sino-Japanese trade was held up by unusually thorough customs inspections. Exports of rare earths were subject to an unannounced weeklong ban (see article). And it was hard to see the detention of four Japanese construction-company employees on mysterious charges of photographing military facilities as mere coincidence.

    Related items
    Rare earths and China: Dirty business
    Sep 30th 2010
    Japan seemed to take fright. On September 24th local prosecutors freed the captain. Bizarrely, they cited the importance of relations with China, as if the foreign ministry had subcontracted its diplomatic responsibilities to a low level of the judiciary. China refused to be mollified, insisting it was owed an apology and compensation. Japan’s prime minister, Naoto Kan, smarting from criticism for the climb-down, demanded that China pay for the repair of the damaged boats. But after the initial exchange of indignation, tempers seemed to cool (and China released three of the four Japanese detainees). Just as well. A crowded calendar of multilateral talkfests looms. After the Asia-Europe meeting in Brussels on October 4th come, in a few weeks, the G20, East Asian and Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summits. It would be embarrassing if all were dominated by speculation about whether the Chinese and Japanese leaders shake hands.

    As diplomatic trials of strength go, this one seems fairly easy to score: China 1, Japan 0. Mr Kan’s administration has appeared unco-ordinated, confused and weak. It has made a mockery of the idea of judicial independence, and managed to make China seem to have greater respect for legal process. China, on the other hand, has forcibly demonstrated that it regards the islands as its own, despite Japan’s control of them, and has shown that it has the commercial and diplomatic clout to make its point.

    The message was heard elsewhere. Members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), alarmed by China’s vague, unexplained but sweeping claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, encouraged America to involve itself in the issue. In July Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, obliged. She told a regional forum in Hanoi that the sea was an American national interest, and made an oblique rallying-call to unity among China’s various rival claimants for bits of the sea.

    A mild iteration of this was included in a draft of the joint statement to be issued after the second America-ASEAN summit—held by President Barack Obama in New York on September 24th. The draft deplored the “use or threat of force by any claimant attempting to enforce disputed claims” in the sea—ie, it was a warning to China. When the statement emerged, however, cooler heads in ASEAN prevailed. It avoided mention of the sea at all, merely reaffirming “the importance of regional peace and stability, maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation”. Also motherhood and apple pie.

    India, too, has been watching carefully. Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, has voiced concern about China’s maritime ambitions. His government has been worried by China’s provocative refusal to give a proper visa to an Indian general, apparently because he served in a “disputed” region, Kashmir. China has in the past couple of years seemed eager to prod the two countries’ huge but dormant territorial quarrels—over what India thinks of as Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh—back into life.

    As a vigorous rising power, China is predictably prickly about its sovereignty. But it must be debatable whether its “victory” over Japan has really furthered its own interests. As Japan’s Mr Maehara puts it, its behaviour over the disputed islands gave “quite a few countries a glimpse of the essence of China”. It is fair to guess they did not entirely like what they saw.

    China sneezes, Asia shivers

    To list some of the effects of China’s fierce—almost bellicose—reaction: forcing America to confirm that its security treaty with Japan covers conflict over the disputed islands; concentrating Japanese minds on seeking other sources of raw materials such as rare earths; and pushing South-East Asian countries closer to America. As China’s own officials might say: it picked up a rock only to drop it on its own feet.

    Japanese officials see this in terms of the growing clout of China’s armed forces, a power struggle ahead of the transfer of leadership to a new generation at the next Communist Party congress in 2012 and the search for something (such as nationalism) that might give the party a new source of legitimacy. But perhaps such rationalisations miss the point. The second time Gulliver wakes up in Lilliput, it is after passing out, having drunk wine laced with a sleeping-draught. A curious Lilliputian, inspecting his comatose form, puts the sharp end of his half-pike a good way up his nostril. It tickles. Gulliver sneezes violently. Sometimes, awakening giants simply can’t help themselves—which was of scant comfort to the Lilliputians.
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Japan-China relations stand at ground zero


    2010/10/09PrintShare Article
    To my friend in China,

    How did you enjoy this year's China National Day?

    I attended a party in Tokyo hosted by the Chinese ambassador to mark the occasion. It was a somewhat lonely affair as less than half of the number of Diet members attended compared with last year's party. This was likely due to fallout from the recent row over the Senkaku Islands.

    The reason I am writing to you today is because I have serious reservations about the way the Chinese government acted toward Japan over the incident involving a violation of territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands by a Chinese trawler, and especially, after the boat's captain was arrested.

    In Japan, public opinion has been highly critical of the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan, with its decisions described as "a national disgrace brought about through diplomatic defeat."

    Admittedly, many measures taken by the government were half-hearted, from the lack of any decision by prosecutors to indict the captain to the handling of a Japan Coast Guard video of the collision between the trawler and two patrol vessels.

    One cannot help but conclude that Japan is either still clumsy in its diplomatic efforts or simply a poor fighter. In comparison, the various measures taken by the Chinese government to apply pressure on Japan can only be described as a diplomatic "shock and awe" campaign.

    However, my take on the incident is as follows:

    The captain was arrested by Japanese authorities for allegedly interfering with the duties of public officials. The incident demonstrated that Japan had effective control over the Senkaku Islands by carrying out legal procedures.

    In addition, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clearly stated that any area under the administrative control of Japan would be covered by Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obligates the United States to come to the defense of Japan.

    That was a public acknowledgement to the world that the Senkaku Islands were under the effective control of Japan.

    On the other hand, China was able to publicly show to the world that "a territorial issue" does exist over the Senkaku Islands, in opposition to Japan repeatedly emphasizing that no territorial issue existed.

    Viewed in this way, I believe this contest can be said to have ended in a draw.

    Of course, I mean a draw in the sense that Japan and China were even in the manner in which they both unexpectedly demonstrated how underdeveloped both of their diplomatic efforts were.

    This summer when I visited the Shanghai World Expo 2010, I was struck by a visit to the China pavilion.

    The panels on display presented a view that China's modern history began in 1979 with the economic reform and open door policy. In other words, the past 30 years of economic development and the path to becoming an economic superpower were the genesis of modern China.

    However, "China's miracle" was made possible by the fact that the international environment surrounding China was one of peace and stability. There was no mention of that fact in the panels.

    That international environment was fostered by the low-profile stance called for by the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (as well as the peaceful rise doctrine that was an extension of that stance) and the stabilizing power of the Japan-U.S. security alliance.

    Including the Senkaku Islands issue, China has recently created tension with a number of neighboring maritime nations. This maritime issue is the first critical test to the peaceful rise doctrine at its very roots.

    A Chinese friend of mine, a successful entrepreneur, laughed about my concern and said, "The peaceful rise concept was one that was taken when China's standing was weak."

    If that is the case, what will be the principles China employs when it is in a stronger position?

    Would it be the position discussed at the Central Economic Work Conference held last winter of being "a superpower that does not have responsibility forced upon it?"

    Of the questions I had which I mentioned earlier, the very first pertains to this point.

    The second question I have is about China's maritime views.

    If China tries to draw a maritime Maginot line of sorts, by turning the waters of East Asia into its own "near sea," treating it as surrounding waters and capturing it as a "core interest," it could lead to gaps within the Asia-Pacific region, which is a maritime civilization.

    At the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Hanoi in July, China found itself isolated as the foreign ministers of 12 nations expressed concerns about Beijing's actions in the South China Sea. One can see this as an expression of the concerns about China's maritime views held by seafaring Asian nations.

    The final question I have concerns the fact that China used economic cards in its retaliatory diplomacy against Japan.

    One example is the virtual ban on exports of rare earth metals to Japan. Although Beijing denied any such ban had been imposed, there is no doubt that China used economics as a diplomatic tool, be it the rights to gas fields on the seabed of the East China Sea or the safety of Japanese company employees.

    It would be ironic and tragic if the export ban against Japan was the salute to mark China passing Japan as the world's second biggest economy.

    Are the Chinese people aware of the extent to which distrust toward China was triggered in not only Asia, but in the West as well, over China's indiscriminate economic retaliatory measures?

    What is difficult to fathom is why China does not do more to jointly protect and further foster the "liberal internationalist order" that has brought so many benefits to China in terms of currency, trade and maritime interests.

    In your last e-mail, you asked how Japan's views of China would change in the future.

    There are still some uncertainties because the emotions of the people are still boiling over. However, if China continues to act as it has, we Japanese will be prepared to engage in a long, long struggle with China.

    More specifically, it would involve the following:

    Relations with China would have as the main objective the pursuit of practical benefits. That pursuit would remain unchanged.

    However, we would have to take inventory of the dreams, ideals and pursuit of a frontier that Japan held about China after World War II, and especially after diplomatic relations were normalized.

    Japan would discard its naivete, lower its expectations, acquire needed insurance and, in some cases, cut its losses.

    China would be treated with respect and moderation. A plain and ordinary level of exchange would be considered acceptable.

    However, Japan would not hold on to the fantasy of creating a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests."

    Japan would be prepared to deal with China with bitter resolve tinged with a form of resignation.

    This would also apply to how Japan relates with Taiwan.

    In protest of the captain's arrest, a fishing boat carrying Taiwanese activists entered the waters near the Senkaku Islands. The Taiwanese government dispatched 12 coast guard ships as an escort.

    While the ship had to turn around after being stopped by the Japan Coast Guard, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry issued a statement in protest that said, "Japanese ships interfered with the fishing boat and confronted Taiwan coast guard ships."

    The expression of protest against Japan was nothing more than playing with a political fire. Taiwan is emerging as a new risk factor in the Japan-China relationship.

    Last week, I was interviewed by the Japan correspondent for a U.S. public broadcasting radio network.

    The first question she asked was, "For Japan, is the Senkaku shock bigger than the Nixon shocks?"

    She was referring to the shocks in the summer of 1971 when U.S. President Richard Nixon unilaterally declared a normalization of relations with China (without Japan's knowledge) and stopped gold convertibility of the dollar (which led to a huge appreciation of the yen).

    My reply was, "It will be much bigger."

    Problems that arise between Japan and the United States can, in the end, be resolved within the framework of the alliance. The alliance is the ballast.

    However, that cannot be said of the Japan-China relationship.

    There is always the danger it will roll completely out of control due to even the slightest accident.

    It was obvious that a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests simply did not function.

    That was nothing more than rhetoric.

    The hot-line between leaders of the two nations also did not operate at the most crucial moment.

    Five years ago when violent anti-Japan protests occurred throughout China, I offered a pessimistic view of the future of Japan-China relations.

    I remember you chided me by saying that journalists are pessimists by trade.

    However, compared to those protests, I feel the hubris of an emerging superpower out of China now.

    A meeting in Brussels between Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, even if only for 25 minutes, is a first step to escape the "anomaly" that the Japan-China relationship has entered.

    However, Japan and China now stand at ground zero, and the landscape is a bleak, vast nothingness.

    I apologize for any displeasure you may have felt from my letter.
  15. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Samurai will have to change their perception about india if they are gonna get anywhere with their defence cooperation - and i guess one way is in a tripartite relationsihp with the usa. On their own they are just no match for dragon and the mood in the usa is us first before commiting more troops abroad plus the economic challenges make their need for indian participation a must
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  16. harisudan

    harisudan New Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Likes Received:
    wel said...as long as japan stays away from india, its one step away from being wiped off...

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