No talks unless dispute affirmed: China

AFP-JIJI

China says it is ready to talk to Japan over the increasingly heated Senkakus territorial clash, but only if Tokyo declares the islets to be in dispute.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi faced questions about Beijing’s ties with the top U.S. ally in Asia at an event Friday in Washington, where he called for mutual respect in relations between the United States and a growing China.

Wang laid blame for the current tensions on Japan, which in September 2012 effectively nationalized the Senkaku Islands, claimed as Diaoyu by China and Tiaoyutai by Taiwan. Japan administers the uninhabited chain.

“In spite of this, we are still ready to sit down and have a dialogue with the Japanese to work out jointly a way to manage the current situation,” Wang said at the Brookings Institution.

“But first, Japan needs to recognize that there is such a dispute. The whole world knows that there is a dispute,” he added. “I believe there will be a day when the Japanese come back to the table of dialogue.”

Japan, which has exerted control over the isles since the late 1800s and denies their sovereignty is in dispute, contends that China has no historical basis to claim them and charges that Beijing is trying to challenge Tokyo’s rule through military intimidation.

The Japan Coast Guard reported Thursday that two Chinese ships entered waters near the islands — the latest of dozens of Chinese incursions into the area, which drew China’s attention in the early 1970s after studies showed it was potentially rich in energy resources.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who met briefly this month with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Russia, called for improving relations between Asia’s two largest economies.

But the nationalistic Abe has also pledged to take a firm line on defending Japan’s sovereignty and has moved to step up defense spending and cooperation with the United States.

The previous Democratic Party of Japan-led government bought three of the main Senkaku islets from their private owner to ward off a similar plan by the more provocative and right-wing Shintaro Ishihara, then mayor of Tokyo.

The United States says it takes no position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islet chain but considers it to be under the jurisdiction of Japan, meaning Washington would be obligated to defend the territory under the terms of the bilateral security treaty.

“For many of us, it has been very upsetting to see the world’s second- and third-largest economies have their relationship become tense and deteriorate over what, to many of us on the outside, appear to be four uninhabited and uninhabitable rocks,” Jeff Bader, who served as U.S. President Barack Obama’s top adviser on Asia from 2009 to 2011, told Wang as he moderated the event in Washington.

In his remarks, Wang returned to the idea of a “new model of major country relationship” between China and the United States — also a theme for Xi when he met with Obama at California’s Sunnylands resort in June.

Wang said China and the United States “should genuinely respect and accommodate each other’s concerns and interests (in the Asia-Pacific region).”

“We have never thought about pushing the U.S. out of the region,” he said. “Rather, we hope the United States will play a positive role in safeguarding peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific.”

He also said he spoke to U.S. officials about setting up a “reasonable threshold” for the resumption of long-stalled talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear program. Wang highlighted comments last week by North Korea’s chief negotiator, Kim Kye Gwan, who said in Beijing that Pyongyang was ready to resume the six-nation talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula “without preconditions.”

“I believe our two countries, China and the United States, are in agreement on the goals of denuclearization and resolving this issue through dialogue,” Wang said.

But American officials have been skeptical of overtures by North Korea, which carried out a third nuclear test in February in defiance even of China, its primary ally. U.S. think tanks said that, based on satellite images, North Korea may have recently restarted its main plutonium reactor.

  • Far East

    “Wang said China and the United States ‘should genuinely respect and accommodate each other’s concerns and interests (in the Asia-Pacific region).’”
    Translation: “Let us do what we want in Asia and continue our bullying.”

    “We have never thought about pushing the U.S. out of the region”

    And saying this means the exact opposite.

    China should show some good faith and resolve to have North Korea, its friendly rogue state, stop its nuclear program and return the people it kidnapped.

  • Ian

    The PRC’s insistence that Japan submitted to a “shelving agreement” in
    1972 is merely subterfuge. The People’s Liberation Army has recently
    made an attempted power grab for islands under Philippine and Vietnamese
    sovereignty. Therefore Japan is being victimized, as are the
    Philippines and Vietnam, by PLA international bullying. These acts of
    aggression are acts of desperation by the PLA. Because China has such a
    huge and variable coastline stretching thousands of miles, PLA strategic
    military planners know they have little hope in defending such a porous
    shoreline; millions of soldiers could not plug all the possible
    invasion holes. The Opium Wars against the British in the mid-19th
    century are a continual and embarrassing reminder of how vulnerable
    China is to sea attack. What to do?

    Job one for PLA planners is
    to create a buffer zone in the South
    China Sea. Unfortunately this necessity entails stealing
    islands/territorial waters from Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam
    and possibly the Koreas. An added goal is to “repatriate” the “renegade
    province of Taiwan,” mainland China’s longtime enemy. Accordingly, the
    PLA has up to 1,500 missile warheads pointed at little Taiwan. Such long
    term planning for aggression in the South China Sea is the focal point
    of overly optimistic Chinese military planners. The PLA’s embarrassing
    defeat by the Taiwanese/American coalition in the 1950′s Taiwan Straight
    Crises is but one example of “group thought” optimism that is endemic
    at the highest leadership level. Other examples include exposing PLA
    soldiers to US Air Force carpet bombing in the Korean War (one million
    PLA soldiers killed), the Chinese post American War invasion of Vietnam
    (which led to widespread hatred of colonialist Chinese influence in the
    area;
    the PLA failed to get the Vietnamese army out of Cambodia), further:
    the invasion of peace-loving Tibet has become a long term public
    relations nightmare. Such over-optimism led to the domestic genocide of
    millions due to hair-brained Great Leap Forward agrarian edicts (i.e.
    killing all birds that eat farmers’ seeds led to massive crop failure),
    and Cultural Revolution purges that eliminated intellectual capital
    through mass murder/persecution of academics and intellectuals. Surely
    the Dioayu/Senkaku (as well as Philippine/Vietnamese island
    belligerence) policy is no less delusional. The PLA planners have no
    dissenting opinionators, therefore no one applies brakes to
    out-of-control, highly ambitious, optimistic “group thought” officials; a
    contrarian would therefore be ostracized, demoted, or possibly
    banished. The “nail that sticks out gets hammered the hardest” syndrome
    keeps minority-opinion critics from speaking out, most
    likely. Such is the “don’t rock the boat” legacy of the millennia-old
    Confucian divine order influence that kept China an insular nation.
    Moreover, such extreme militaristic beliefs might lead to the PLA
    killing the goose that laid the golden egg. That egg being the economy
    that funds the huge army budget. International investors seek
    confidence, not conflict in a country. Many South-east Asian nations have
    benefitted from increased Japanese investment, which has been diverted
    from China in recent years.

    The so-called “shelving agreement” is
    yet another Politburo group-thought delusion. According to the Asahi
    Shimbun, Premier Chou En-lai replied to his Japanese counterpart at the
    1972 normalization meeting, “‘It is not good to discuss this [Senkaku
    Islands issue that Prime Minister Tanaka brought up at that meeting] at
    this time. This has become an issue because of (the discovery of) oil
    (in the region). Neither
    Taiwan nor the Unites States would pay any attention (to the issue) if
    it were not for oil.’”* Now how does Chou En-lai’s off-the-cuff retort
    get translated into a “shelving agreement”? There is no agreement. There
    is no claim of sovereignty even. The Premier simply blew off the issue!
    It was pure avoidance, not an “agreement.”

    See how highly
    optimistic, delusional Chinese high officials manufacture “facts”? Such
    propaganda works well domestically, but not at all internationally.

    *
    Asahi Shimbun, NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS: China claims it agreed with
    Japan to shelve the dispute in 1972, Japan denies, December 26, 2012.

  • Justice1215

    Abe,you can fool your people BUT you can never fool the world.

  • justice_first

    as long as the US is using Japan, and Japan is using the US, to curb China’s growth, there will be no peaceful solution to the island dispute, and indeed Japan will continue to insist “there is no dispute”. The US has laid a mine, which is exploding now, in the San Francisco Treaty in 1951, without the participation of China. Short of an war, there is no way for Japan to sit down and “admit” there is a dispute.

    The US has in fact emboldened Japan and a number of the Asean countries, to stand their ground against China in the many long dormant “disputes” in the region. This is the best opportunity for the US to counter balance against China’s influence in the region, and to curb its growth. The US clearly does not want any rival in the 21st century, especially when its power is declining. Such is the geopolitical back ground at this time.

    Japan has found a perfect excuse to re-militarize, to free itself ultimately from the US control and the consequences of WW2. However this might not be a blessing for Japan.