China Has Got the Most It Can in disputes with Japan: Why Keeping the Tension?


Suzuki Keiku, a Japanese officer captured by China whose confession is used in Chinese propaganda

Suzuki Keiku, a Japanese officer captured by China whose confession is used in Chinese propaganda

In the East China Sea, the disputes between China and Japan are over some small islands regarded by US President Obama as rocks. No one is interested in occupying the rocks that will involve expenditures but bring no income.

What China and Japan are fighting for now? The sea areas around the rocks.

Before the disputes were intensified due to Japanese government’s purchase of the rocks, Japanese coast guard patrolled the waters around the rocks alone. China claimed sovereignty over the rocks, but sent no boats and did not even allow its citizens to go there to claim Chinese sovereignty. In other words, Japan enjoyed full administration of the waters around the rocks.

Now, Chinese coast guard ships are conducting routine patrols there along with Japanese coast guards. China even established its East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that includes the airspace above the rocks. Japan and the US protested but the ADIZ remains and is patrolled by Chinese aircrafts.

We can say that China and Japan share the administration of the rocks (there are no people at all on the rocks) and the sea areas around it.

In addition China gets all the economic benefits it can get. Chinese fishing boats conduct routine exploitations of the rich fish resources there. China has been exploiting oil in the sea areas along the marine border between the two countries. Japan protested and the two sides have conducted negotiations without success while China keeps on its exploitation there.

China has obtained the maximum it can get without fighting a war.

The tension seems grave in the area but there is nothing to worry. Neither Japan nor China dare to fight the first shot as the US wants peace there.

Trade remains normal. According to huanqiu.com’s report today, the number of Chinese tourists to Japan rose sharply by 88.2% in the first six months this year over the same period last year.

Therefore, this blogger holds that the two countries have to put aside the disputes and restore their normal relations for mutual benefits, but neither of them is willing to do so.

For Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the rocks are no big issue, but Japan’s pride for its past is vital for his plan to reinvigorate Japan so as to put an end to Japan’s more than two decades of economic stagnation. It is difficult for a nation to have vigor if it has no national pride. That was why Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine in spite of US and EU opposition.

For Chinese President Xi Jinping, before he took over the reign from his predecessor Hu Jintoa, there was fierce power struggle between the powerful conservative faction headed by charismatic princeling Bo Xilai and the reformists headed by Hu Jintao over the rule of law, further economic liberation, i.e. the further reform Xi has been carrying out since he took over, and the evaluation of Mao Zedong.

Bo Xilai wanted to substitute Mao’s defying laws both human and divine for the rule of law. His persecution of criminal defense lawyers infuriated the legal and democracy faction and the Shanghai faction. Shanghai faction heavyweight Wu Bangguo, the number 2 leader in Hu Jintao’s reign, amended China’s Criminal Procedure Law to protect criminal defense lawyers’ rights of defense. The legal and democracy faction played trick to bring down Bo Xilai.

However, no one was powerful enough to punish Bo Xilai until Jiang Zemin exercised his power as paramount leader (called core of collective leadership by Deng Xiaoping, but regarded by me as the core of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with power like an emperor) to decided punish Bo Xilai severely at a Politburo meeting in late September 2012.

However, Jiang did not resolve the issues of further reform, especially the evaluation of Mao that was the major obstacle to further reform. Xi Jinping applied the art for being an emperor to have skillfully resolved the issues by his Chinese Dream.

That is too long a story in this post. There is detailed description of the power struggle in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition.

To gain conservatives’ support for his reform, Xi includes in his Chinese Dream making China militarily strong and makes propaganda of China’s misery caused by Japanese invasion to stimulate Chinese people including conservatives to play to the full their talents and diligence to make China prosperous and powerful.

I should say Abe’s hardline rhetoric and US support for Abe have rendered Xi great help in Xi’s campaigns against corruption and official despotism and efforts for economic liberalization.

From the above, we can see Xi’s wisdom in exploiting Sino-Japanese tension to attain his domestic goals.

Xi has also been very wise in dealing with South China Sea disputes. I will give a description in my post tomorrow.

Related posts:

  • China cites Japan wartime ‘confessions’ in propaganda push dated July 4, 2014
  • Japan Provides China with the Opportunity to Win by Diplomacy dated today
  • Japan’s ‘Patriotic Wives’: praise for Abe, censure for China, South Korea dated June 19, 2014
  • Hundreds of Chinese families seek wartime compensation from Japan dated May 12, 2014
  • Japan’s Mitsui pays China to release seized ship-court dated April 24, 2014
  • Huge Japanese Ship Seized in China for Compensation Arisen from War 80 Years Ago dated April 20, 2014
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