That empty expression President Xi Jinping of China made when he shook hands with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was his blandest face of the entire APEC summit last month. It was their first meeting, and it lasted only 25 minutes.
And yet it was a turning point in relations between China and Japan, especially after renewed tensions over the East China Sea islands that both states claim as their own — known as the Senkaku in Japanese, and the Diaoyu in Chinese. In fact, the Chinese government had expressed such an outcry over that disagreement in recent months that it would need quite a good excuse to justify to the Chinese public having any direct contact with Japan’s prime minister.… Seguir leyendo »
Nuestro mapamundi, viejo al menos de 70 años, ha sufrido en poco tiempo dos severas e inesperadas desgarraduras, bien visibles en las primeras páginas de los periódicos, que presagian un geografía política llena de novedades, incluso en las fronteras y en el número de los países que la componen. Esos dos sietes que se han abierto en las costuras del mundo de ayer son la anexión de Crimea por Rusia y la más que probable e inminente partición de Irak, con la consiguiente aparición de un nuevo país independiente como Kurdistán. Ambas son facturas diferidas de la caída de dos imperios y también del precario orden creado a continuación, a partir de 1989 por iniciativa de la Unión Europea y EE UU, en el caso de los países del antiguo bloque soviético, Ucrania incluida; y de 1919 por la de Francia y Gran Bretaña, que se repartieron y trazaron las fronteras sobre los territorios del extinto imperio otomano.… Seguir leyendo »
El Japón está en una situación mejor que nunca para desempeñar un papel más importante y proactivo a fin de garantizar la paz en Asia y en el mundo. Gozamos del apoyo explicito y entusiasta de nuestros aliados y otros países amigos, incluidos todos los miembros de la ASEAN y los Estados Unidos, Australia, la India, el Reino Unido y Francia, entre otros. Todos ellos saben que el Japón defiende el imperio de la ley... para Asia y para todos los pueblos.
No estamos solos. En la mayoría de los países de la región de Asia y el Pacífico, el crecimiento económico ha contribuido a la libertad de pensamiento y de religión, además de a unos sistemas políticos más receptivos y responsables.… Seguir leyendo »
The mounting tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over the small chain of islands in the East China Sea called the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China have profound implications for United States interests and the future of Asia.
Both Tokyo and Washington can do more to reduce tensions, but the fundamental problem is China’s pattern of coercion against neighbors along its maritime borders. Any American plan to ease the strain between Japan and China should convince Beijing that coercion will no longer work — but that dialogue and confidence building measures might.
The competing Japanese and Chinese claims to the islands, which are under Japanese control, are rooted in obscure historical documents and verbal understandings.… Seguir leyendo »
The United States has been a destabilizing force in the dispute between China and Japan over the sovereignty of a small chain of islands in the East China Sea. Not only did Washington create the problem in 1971 by arbitrarily returning the administrative rights of the islands to Japan, but America’s claim that its security alliance with Japan applies to the tiny islands has emboldened Tokyo to take a more aggressive stance toward Beijing.
A peaceful resolution of the issue ultimately depends on the willingness of the Japanese government to acknowledge the dispute and pursue more reconciliatory policies toward China. But a major factor is whether Washington will shift its strategy to help rein in Japan and adopt a more reasonable stance that accommodates Beijing’s concerns about its maritime interests and security environment.… Seguir leyendo »
While the world focuses on Ukraine, ships and planes from Japan and China challenge each other almost every day near a few square miles of barren islets in the East China Sea that Japan calls the Senkaku and China calls the Diaoyu islands. This dangerous rivalry dates to the late 19th century, but the flare-up that led to widespread anti-Japan demonstrations in China in September 2012 began when the Japanese government purchased three of the tiny islets from their private Japanese owner. The issue is bound to arise during President Obama’s upcoming visit to Japan.
When the United States returned Okinawa to Japan in May 1972, the transfer included the disputed islets that the United States had administered after 1945.… Seguir leyendo »
Cuando el mes pasado el primer ministro japonés, Shinzo Abe, visitó el polémico santuario Yasukuni en Tokio, los líderes chinos, previsiblemente, condenaron la decisión de honrar a los responsables de “la guerra de agresión contra China”. Pero la visita de Abe al santuario también fue un mensaje dirigido al principal aliado y protector de Japón: Estados Unidos. Cada vez más urgido por la renuencia del presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, a cuestionar los ensayos militares de China y sus ambiciones territoriales en Asia (de lo que da testimonio la reciente discrepancia entre Japón y Estados Unidos por la nueva “zona de identificación aérea” creada por China), Abe consideró necesario informar a ambos países que la autocontención no puede ser unilateral.… Seguir leyendo »
East Asia is a global economic powerhouse, but its economic progress has not been mirrored by progress in relationships between the countries in the region. These are mired in ancient and modern rivalries that are sometimes made toxic by strident nationalisms.
The parallels with Europe a hundred years ago are uncomfortable. Worse, unlike most parts of the world, there is no adequate regional machinery in East Asia to promote the peaceful resolution of increasingly rancorous disputes between neighbours.
Two recent articles in The Daily Telegraph – one by the Chinese ambassador to the UK, and one by his Japanese colleague – set out opposing views of one of these disputes.… Seguir leyendo »
Everyone knows that relations between Japan and China are strained, especially in the East China Sea. Japan has been exercising utmost restraint. When a Chinese destroyer directed its fire-control radar at a Japanese destroyer last year, which in normal naval practice might be regarded as an act of war, the Japanese vessel made an evasive manoeuvre rather than risk further endangering the situation. Chinese ships repeatedly intrude into Japanese territorial waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands, which have been peacefully under Japan’s sovereignty for 120 years.
Further evidence of Chinese provocation was seen with Beijing’s unilateral declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone covering the islands and overlapping with Japan’s own ADIZ.… Seguir leyendo »
China and Japan, Asia’s two most powerful nations, are increasingly jousting in the skies and in the seas near a set of disputed islands. Although their economies remain deeply intertwined, relations between the two governments seem locked in an irreversible, dangerous downward spiral.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe further embittered feelings last week by visiting the controversial Yasukuni shrine, which honors the souls of Japan’s war dead, including 14 World War II leaders convicted as Class-A war criminals.
Needless to say, neither side seems terribly interested in a rapprochement. That’s a shame, because the deterioration in ties is fairly recent, stemming from a single incident involving the islands administered by Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, and claimed by China, which refers to them as the Diaoyu.… Seguir leyendo »
Una manera de considerar las crecientes tensiones militares en un puñado de pequeñas islas en el mar Oriental de China es observar en los recientes acontecimientos un caso claro de política del poder. China experimenta un auge, Japón acusa el estancamiento económico y la península de Corea sigue dividida. Es, pues, natural que China trate de reafirmar su dominio histórico sobre la región. Y también es natural que Japón se sienta nervioso ante la perspectiva de convertirse en una especie de Estado vasallo (los coreanos están más acostumbrados a este papel con respecto a China).
Comportarse de forma servil con relación al poder de Estados Unidos, como ha hecho Japón desde 1945, fue la consecuencia inevitable de una guerra catastrófica.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s not-so-blue skies were the primary topic of conversation during Vice President Biden’s recent trip to East Asia. The issue, of course, was not climate change but Beijing’s declaration last month of a new air defense identification zone that requires aircraft flying through the area to identify themselves and to file a flight plan . Although the declaration of such zones is the sovereign right of states, the international norm is that countries do not unilaterally declare zones that overlap with other countries’ airspace and with disputed territory.
In this case, China did both. Half of its new zone duplicates Japan’s over the disputed territory of a Japanese-owned island chain (which the Japanese call Senkakus and the Chinese call Diaoyu).… Seguir leyendo »
While David Cameron was in Beijing pleading for Chinese investment in our high-speed rail, China’s jets were streaking above the disputed waters of Asia alongside American and Japanese warplanes. It is difficult not to be struck by the dissonance between the Prime Minister’s eager, occasionally fawning, trade and investment spree, and the brewing crisis in the crowded skies of the East China Sea. In this, we face a dilemma that will define the coming years: how do we deter China without demonising it.
On November 23, China declared an Air Defence Identification Zone (AIDZ) covering most of the East China Sea, which lies between South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.… Seguir leyendo »
Saturday, when China declared an ''air defence identification zone'' (ADIZ) that covers the disputed islands called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, the media has been full of predictions of confrontation and crisis.
On that same day Japan scrambled two F-15 fighters to intercept two Chinese aircraft that approached the islands.
''This announcement by the People's Republic of China will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region,'' US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said, and on Tuesday the US Air Force flew two B-52 bombers from Guam into the ADIZ.
A Pentagon spokesman said Washington ''continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies''.… Seguir leyendo »
Disputas territoriales y marítimas entre China, Taiwán y varios países del sudeste asiático agitan la región del mar de China Meridional, y no hay solución a la vista. La situación es difícil, pero puede mantenerse en el tiempo, siempre que los actores involucrados adopten medidas serias para fortalecer la confianza a través de foros multilaterales y, al mismo tiempo, mantengan un poder de disuasión eficaz de cara a China y se comprometan a evitar el uso ofensivo de la fuerza.
Naturalmente, China está muy interesada en evitar la interferencia de grandes potencias extrarregionales (particularmente Estados Unidos) y prefiere negociar en forma bilateral con contendientes regionales más débiles, a los que puede dominar más fácilmente.… Seguir leyendo »
According to a Chinese article widely circulated on the Internet, the Obama-Xi summit meeting last weekend has made Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan jealous. Published in People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, the article crows that President Xi Jinping got a two-day informal meeting with President Obama, while Abe’s visit to Washington in February resulted in only a “lunch reception.”
The People’s Daily is not the only Chinese media outlet to play up the angle of Japan losing ground after the summit. Du Ping, a prominent Chinese commentator, told Phoenix TV of Hong Kong that the meeting in California made Japan worried that Obama and Xi “would reach a secret” agreement on the fate of the disputed islands in the East China Sea that Japan administers but Beijing claims as Chinese territory.… Seguir leyendo »
The political turmoil currently roiling Northeast Asia — a region that should otherwise be basking in success right now — can often seem bewildering to outsiders. One key to understanding, however, can be found in a surprising location: a single recent photograph.
On May 12, a journalist snapped a picture of Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, grinning from the cockpit of a fighter jet. Such politician photo-ops are neither unusual nor controversial in the West, where the worst thing they tend to provoke is eye-rolling (think of Michael Dukakis looking like Snoopy in a tank during his failed race for the presidency in 1988, or George W.… Seguir leyendo »
Almost a year ago, China and the Philippines were at loggerheads over their conflicting claims to ownership of the Scarborough Shoal fishing grounds and anchorage in the South China Sea, setting alarm bells ringing about a possible grab for control by Beijing in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.
Today, the dispute still simmers, but the main zone of contention between China and its neighbors has moved to the East China Sea, where Beijing is contesting Tokyo’s sovereignty and administration over the Senkaku islands.
The confrontation between China and Japan, a key ally of the United States, has become one of East Asia’s most dangerous flash points.… Seguir leyendo »
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week condemned China's "unnecessary escalation" of tensions between the two nations over disputed islets known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
He was referring to two incidents in January when Chinese frigates reportedly locked weapons radar onto a Japanese vessel and a helicopter, a claim China denies. Once fire-control radar is locked on, a missile can be fired at the designated target, generating obvious risks of miscalculation.
At best this is a militarized game of tag but one that could, at its worst, spark wider hostilities. When Japan indicated that its jets might fire tracer bullets to warn off Chinese aircraft, a Chinese general responded that Japan should refrain from doing so, as this would be taken as an act of war.… Seguir leyendo »
The tension in the East China Sea between China and Japan is America’s problem. Sure, there are all sorts of reasons war will “never” break out — from “it just wouldn’t make sense” to “everybody is making too much money to fight.” But given the history of the region and the lack of rules for handling such crises, the reality is that one stupid mistake could start a war. Since the United States is obligated by treaty to defend Japan if it is attacked, it falls to Washington to make sure a conflict does not erupt.
Over the past several months, Tokyo and Beijing have played a game of chicken, in the streets, on the seas, in the air and through the airwaves over a cluster of three uninhabited islands and two big rocks called the Senkakus by the Japanese and the Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese.… Seguir leyendo »