Regarding the Dec. 11 editorial “Hawkish approach won’t help“: It is beyond my ability to imagine how diplomacy can deter China from expanding its empire. Since 1949 the Chinese (under Mao Zedong as well as Chiang Kai-shek) have occupied one piece of territory after another: Tibet, east Turkistan, east Mongolia, Manchuria, Formosa, and demanded parts of India, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Burma and Thailand.
If a country refused to surrender to China, war was the result — such as the war between India and China in 1962, the Sino-Soviet border conflict in 1969, and the Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979.
China now demands all of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, which are more than a 1,000 km from the Chinese coast, and the Senkakus, which were never part of China.
Only economic and political retaliation can deter China. If Japan were to refuse to import anything Chinese and disallow corporate investment in China, Beijing could be moderated. If the United States and other Western countries joined this embargo out of sympathy for China’s victims, the effect would be dramatic. Tibet and other regions might even gain back their independence. China has interpreted every friendly gesture toward it from another country as either weakness or acceptance of China’s suzerainty.
The ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s approach is too mild, and the Chinese have interpreted it as cowardice. Perhaps Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe, who earlier proposed an alliance of Japan, the U.S., India and Australia as a kind of deterrent against China, is the right person for Japan now.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.