Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been calling for more dialogue with Beijing since he came to office in December 2012, the same month a Chinese government plane violated Japan’s airspace over the Senkaku and Diaoyu islands.
China had been sending government ships in and out of what Japan calls its territorial waters since the Japanese government reached a deal to purchase three of the islands from the private Japanese owner, but China had yet to send an aircraft to the area.
Prime Minister Abe wants to improve ties with China by having a dialogue, which is a feeling China does not reciprocate. With the G20 summit coming up next week that both President Xi Jinping and Abe will be present for, the Chinese deputy foreign minister Li Baodong felt it necessary to make clear that China would like a meeting with Japan to resolve problems, not just to take pictures and shake hands.
Tensions between both countries have been high as each government continues to send aircraft carriers and ships near the islands. On Tuesday, Japan’s coastguard said that three Chinese vessels had entered Japan’s territorial waters, but China stated that it was only a routine patrol in its own waters.
In an article on Reuters yesterday, Japan’s Finance Minister and deputy to the Prime Minister Taro Aso makes a Falklands analogy, stating that the government needs to be clear that it does intend to defend Senkaku. Aso believes Japan will face some unintended consequences by not asserting its intentions.
“When Britain deployed aircraft carriers to the Falkland Islands, it did not convey its intentions to protect the islands. Argentine saw that (Britain) had no intention of protecting the islands and so invaded,” Aso said.
China does not believe that the dialogue Japan wants is possible. The ties between them are strained not just because of the disputed islands, but also because of the Japanese occupation of China in the 1930s. While Japan has apologized for its wartime crimes, China doubts their sincerity. They believe it to be more “empty talk.”
Some Japanese politicians have even denied its wartime past, angering China even more. Early this month, Abe sent an offering to a shrine of war dead that also honors war criminals rather than visiting the shrine himself, just another log to feed the fire.
There is no sense that a dialogue between the leaders of the countries would resolve anything, right now. Both have too much invested in this region to have a rational and logical discussion. A resolution may only come if, as the US suggests, “cooler heads” prevail over the situation.
- China’s new ships seen near Senkaku Islands (chinadailymail.com)
- [BBC] China rules out top-level talks with Japan at G20 (concernedyapcitizens.wordpress.com)
- China rules out islands talks (bbc.co.uk)
- China – Japan bilateral meeting unlikely at G20 summit (indiavision.com)
- China sees no basis for Japan talks as islands dispute simmers (retiredinthephilippines.wordpress.com)
- China-Japan bilateral meeting unlikely at G20 – Xinhua (news.xinhuanet.com)
- China won’t hold talks with Japan at G20 over disputed islands (irishtimes.com)
- G20 meeting of Chinese and Japanese leaders unlikely (wantchinatimes.com)
- G20 talks between China and Japan reported to be unlikely (channelnewsasia.com)
- Japan’s finance minister compares Senkakus issue with Falklands incident (japandailypress.com)