Japan must not succumb to China’s intimidation: Beijing testing Washington

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Japan must not succumb to China’s intimidation: Beijing testing Washington

Michiyo Tanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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The government of Japan must remain steadfast against the encroachment of China after this nation declared a new “air-defense identification zone.” After all, China never took action like this in over 40 years in relation to disputed areas of the East China Sea. Therefore, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must remain firm while being open to diplomacy because the stakes are very high and clearly it is in the interest of nobody for a military clash to take part.

America wants the status quo to remain because political elites in Washington know that nationalist trends in China, Japan and South Korea remain potent over sensitive areas. China remarkably is even shunning South Korea and this is what is most alarming because it implies that elites in Beijing are testing America to the full. If China was solely focused on the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute with Japan, then why challenge South Korea over an area claimed by this nation?

It is abundantly clear that the current government of America is perceived to be weak and confused by elites in China. This can be seen by the Obama administration coddling up to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt prior to its demise; the crisis in Syria; the growing reach of al-Qaeda affiliates in North Africa and the Middle East based on estrange policies in Libya and Syria; upsetting traditional allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel in relation to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (applies to Saudi Arabia being upset by the policies of Washington); triggering a fresh bout of sectarianism in Iraq based on pulling out and supporting terrorist and sectarian forces against Syria; and other factors. Therefore, the suspicion is that China claimed part of its new zone to cover South Korea on purpose based on challenging the role of America in Northeast Asia.

It is ludicrous for China to claim its geopolitical space is being violated because the Tibetans have been crushed for decades in modern day China. The old Tibet was never the Western version of peace and prosperity because the feudal nature of old Tibet was harsh and based on small elites controlling society. However, irrespective of the reality of old Tibet this doesn’t justify enormous mass Han Chinese migration, the destruction of Buddhist monasteries, ruling by fear, elites in Beijing controlling the power structures of Tibet and so forth. Given this reality, then if Beijing is so concerned about sovereignty then the Chinese Communist Party (supports rampant capitalism and cronyism) should be more concerned about crushing the Tibetans – a living people on the margins – rather than caring about uninhabited areas but in the knowledge of energy resources.

India will also be watching events carefully because territorial issues exist with China. Also, China continues to play a dangerous game in relation to India based on supporting Pakistan most favorably. Yet China faces both nationalist trends within the Muslim community in Xinjiang similar to the crisis in Tibet. However, more worrying for elites in Beijing is that a growing militant Islamist angle may emerge which is much more potent than past forces in Xinjiang. Therefore, India will view China’s action in the East China Sea with alarm because the signs are that China is testing the water to a much greater extent.

It is abundantly clear that the Chinese Communist Party isn’t ruling China based on communism or socialism. On the contrary, noble objectives related to the rights of workers, protecting workers from internal and external exploitation, creating a society based on equality, and other positive areas; none of these important factors enter the equation in modern China because money talks. At the same time, wealthy families within the political system and within the military are milking the system by amassing enormous personal wealth. This reality means that ideology can’t bind China together during a time of crisis. However, nationalism can and this factor is most worrying and can be seen by China’s posture towards many regional nations in the area of territorial disputes.

Turning back to China’s new “air-defense identification zone” then clearly Japan must not succumb to the militant posture of China. Likewise, America can’t afford to show any signs of weakness in Northeast Asia in relation to China otherwise regional allies like Japan and South Korea will lose confidence. America no longer relies on the energy resources of the Middle East region based on several factors. In other words, America can now focus more heavily on the dynamics of the Asia Pacific and President Obama stated that this part of the world is America’s major concern. Therefore, America doesn’t want any nation to endanger the status quo if it is based on unilateral decisions.

The State Department in America clarified that they urged “…the Chinese to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties throughout the region.” 

US Vice-President, Joe Biden, said “I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversations with President Xi.”

Biden also stated about the new “air-defense identification zone” that the decision by China had “caused significant apprehension in the region.”

Modern Tokyo Times in an earlier article stated It is hoped that China will turn away from its provocation and instead focus on diplomacy. However, with China refusing the request of South Korea for changing its new zone, which covers an area claimed by this nation, then this doesn’t bode well. After all, China and South Korea have good relations unlike the seesaw relations between China and Japan. Therefore, it is essential that Japan continues with its diplomatic path and that America stands by the original status quo in order for China to move away from its unwarranted unilateral stance.” 

Japan is still making it clear that diplomacy is the only solution and that intimidation will not work. Already, the nations of America, Japan and South Korea have ignored the new zone claimed by China. Therefore, if China can’t enforce the new zone and elites in Beijing knew full well that America couldn’t be seen to cave in; then what is the real purpose? After all, other geopolitical nations which share disputed areas with China including India, the Philippines, Vietnam – and others – will merely strengthen their ties with Japan. If China gambled on Japan succumbing to China’s intimidation then why involve South Korea by also overlapping the new “air-defense identification zone” with an area claimed by this nation?

Irrespective of the real motives of China it is essential that Japan remains firm and abides by international law and solving the crisis through diplomatic channels. If China refuses to listen to regional nations and instead focuses on intimidation; then internationally the elites in Beijing will be viewed with growing concern. Therefore, it is essential that America remains loyal to the status quo – which dictates in Northeast Asia – in relation to China and Taiwan; territorial disputes in the East China Sea; and other important areas. If Washington shows any weakness then clearly China may take a similar posture towards disputed areas with India, the Philippines and Vietnam.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com



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