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Abe's anti-China machinations doomed to fail

(People's Daily Online)

15:59, July 18, 2013

Edited and Translated by Liang Jun

In a recent statement to the media, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed that China's frequent references to the historical issues concerning the Diaoyu Islands are part of a strategy to expand its maritime rights and interests.

He went on to suggest that China's intentions are part of a general attempt to extend its reach, and that Japan will not allow this to pass without response; it will counter China by working with other countries in territorial disputes with China.

These statements on two core issues - historic and territorial disputes between China and Japan, and Japan's policy toward China - are neither responsible nor constructive. Looking back over Abe's expressed views of the history between the two countries since the beginning of his second term as prime minister, and the words and actions he has directed towards China, it is clear that his recent views are part of a wider strategy.

Back in the 1990s, Abe was a member of a committee set up by Japan's Liberal Democratic Party which reviewed some of the country's main works of history. He tried to promote a number of controversial books which attempted to justify Japan's aggression against and invasion of China.

On the territorial issues that include the Diaoyu Islands dispute, and matters concerning maritime rights and interests, Abe has inherited the stance of the previous Japanese government, denying that China and Japan had reached a consensus to postpone discussions on the island issue. He has denied that any dispute exists over the islands, and accuses China of stirring up the issue as a means of interfering with constructive Sino-Japanese dialogue.

Abe's fundamental aim is to amend the Constitution of Japan, "normalizing" the country in order to re-establish its military forces and to restore the right to declare war. Abe believes that China is the biggest obstacle to the fulfillment of this strategy, and the largest external contributor to its diplomatic predicament.

Abe's prescription to resolve his dilemma is to target China. He has proposed the "Democratic Security Diamond" strategic concept, and promotes "Value Diplomacy". He plays up the theory of the "China threat", and adopts a position of no-compromise over the islands issue.

There seems to be no limit to the measures he is willing to take in pursuit of this policy, but more than six months have passed since he took office last December, and there is little evidence of any progress to show.

In Northeast Asia, leaders of China have already met with leaders of the United States, South Korea and Russia. They also maintain close communication with each other. Even the Obama administration, on which Abe is most dependent, has held strategic dialogue with China on expanding bilateral cooperation and managing differences, notably during the fifth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July10 and 11 .

In Southeast Asia, Japan's investment and assistance is welcomed, but few countries stand with Japan on any issue involving China's sovereignty and territory. Vietnam and the Philippines are the two countries with the most disputes with China in the South China Sea. However, the Vietnamese president has visited China recently, and the Philippines do not have the capability to play a bridgehead role in helping Japan's maneuvers against China.

In South Asia, Chinese and India leaders have reached agreement to deal with border issues through dialogue and consultation, an approach that is conducive to the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations.

Abe's belief that he can outmaneuver China by exploiting other countries and their territorial disputes with China is misguided. We call on Abe and Japan to face up to the reality of issues in Sino-Japanese relations, and abandon any further strategies that are doomed to failure.

Read the Chinese version: 安倍“抱团对抗”必撞南墙(望海楼)

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