On September 16, I published a post stating that war between China and Japan is imminent, but I now say that tension has been eased.
I said quite a few times in my posts that China did not want to fight a war but had to do something to quell the surge of nationalism at home and hoped that the United States would play its role in easing the tension.
Obviously, the US has played a vital role in easing the tension.
During US Defence Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s recent Beijing visit, he told Beijing that the disputed islands were covered by the defence treaty between the US and Japan, so that Beijing dared not fire the first shot in order to prevent US involvement.
However, it seemed that Panetta told Japan during his recent visit there that if Japan fired the first shot, the US would not help it as the treaty was for mutual defence instead of attack.
If neither side wants to fight the first shop, i.e. neither side sends its navy to the disputed sea area, there will not be a war. Even if there are some bumping incidents between patrol vessels, both sides will act with restraint.
We now see the critical role of the superpower in maintaining peace.
What I have said is perhaps mere speculation. Have I any fact to support my view?
Certainly, there are.
First, according to Ming Pao on October 4, destroyers 112 and 116, frigates 528 and 546, submarine salvage vessels 861 and 864 and supply vessel 881 of PLA North Sea Fleet sailed across Miyako-jima Strait into the Pacific for training.
Japanese Defence Minister Satoshi Morimoto said that China was making a show of its strength by so doing.
However, analysts regard it as a sign of eased tension in the disputed sea area.
The training in the Pacific is a routine one usually held in September but was suspended due to the tension and possibility of war. Now, the resumption of the training obviously indicates ease of tension.
Otherwise, the North Sea Fleet that is in charge of defending Beijing certainly would not allow quite a large part of it to leave the area it is obliged to defend.
Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba, however, said yesterday that he did not believe that the said action of PLA fleet was related to the disputes over Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands). He even said that a way should be found to turn the situation stable by peaceful means.
Thankfully both China and Japan think what they have done in aggravating the tension is enough. Japan has purchased the disputed islands to claim its sovereignty while China is conducting regular patrol of the disputed sea area to claim its sovereignty. If those are enough for both sides, it is time now sit down to resolve the disputes peacefully.
Second, according to SCMP, the Japanese government has chosen Masato Kitera to replace its current ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa. Kitara has no China experience but is chosen for “his renowned mediating skills”.
That again indicates Japan’s desire for resolving the disputes through mediation instead of by force.
- China carrier a show of force as Japan tension festers (chinadailymail.com)
- China seizes Japan newspapers amid tensions over territorial dispute (english.kyodonews.jp)
- 3 Chinese surveillance ships enter Japanese waters near Senkakus (english.kyodonews.jp)