April 25, 2005
CHINA-JAPAN TENSIONS: 'COMPETING FOR DOMINANCE IN ASIA'
** Global papers opine the crisis reveals a nascent "struggle for supremacy" in Asia.
** Non-Chinese media slam Beijing's "orchestrated outrage" against Japan.
** Anti-Japan media blame the crisis on Tokyo's attempts to "whitewash" history.
** Euro dailies welcome the "open, honest dialogue" between Koizumi and Hu in Indonesia.
A 'venomous climate between Tokyo and Beijing'-- Outlets blamed the "simmering bilateral row" not on historical grievances, but on the "hunger for influence and supremacy" shared by the "two East Asian giants." Germany's centrist Der Tagesspiegel asserted that the "controversy over textbooks" gives China a "welcome pretext to counter Tokyo's wish for greater" regional and global influence. Other papers argued Beijing is "suspicious" of Tokyo's "recently more activist" foreign policy. The moderate Philippine Star noted that Beijing sought to "block any prospect" of Japan's UNSC accession, while China's official World News Journal assailed Japan's effort to "snatch oil resources" from disputed waters.
'Overt displays of racism and chauvinism'-- Outside China, papers opined that the "reckless" anti-Japanese protests signaled a "rise in Chinese nationalism and xenophobia." Britain's conservative Times cautioned that "populist nationalism is no substitute for policy," while Japanese writers alleged Beijing is "amplifying Japanese crimes" to "conceal China's own atrocities." Conservative Sankei blasted China's "false and exaggerated" textbooks as anti-Japan "propaganda." Critics of Beijing said it has "embraced nationalism as its favored means of ideological control."
A 'sadistic pleasure' in provoking the region-- Chinese and other Asian observers claimed "Japan's mistaken behavior is...at the center" of the crisis and urged Tokyo to abandon its "biased historical accounts" for a "more open-minded position." Thailand's independent Nation advised Japan to "give the old version of nationalism a rethink," while Indonesia's leading Kompas called on Japanese to "admit and apologize for their past mistakes." South Korea's independent Joong-Ang Ilbo blamed Japan's reluctance to surrender its "nationalistic posture" on "mental, cultural and intellectual" immaturity. Pro-PRC media accused the U.S. of "shirking its responsibilities" to control Tokyo's "militarism."
A 'first step'-- PM Koizumi's "unusual public apology" and his talks with President Hu led non-Asian dailies to assert that "anger is toning down," but Asian papers cautioned the summit "did not cure fundamental problems." Japanese outlets assailed Hu for not promising to control "excessive anti-Japanese" protests, while Chinese papers such as Hong Kong's independent Ming Pao Daily News argued, "Japan's words should match its deeds." Moderate writers saw a need to "curb nationalism" to avoid jeopardizing economic growth. Japan's liberal Mainichi warned that foreign investors are "concerned about potential risks" of investing in China.
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 86 reports from 22 political entities over 15 - 25 April, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "Beijing’s Power Play A Warning To The Region"
Greg Sheridan opined in the national conservative Australian (4/21): "Beijing's intimidation can thus be seen as an act of rage over Japan having a view on Taiwan but also as a serious attempt to prevent Japan from behaving like any other normal country, taking diplomatic initiatives, expressing views on security issues, taking part in the US alliance system or peacekeeping. Beijing wants Tokyo to go back to the quietist and ultra-passive diplomacy that characterized Japan for the second half of the 20th century. It is overwhelmingly in Australia's interests that Japan stand up to China and refuse to be cowed. Because one thing is clear: if China can do this to Japan, with its vast financial resources, iron-clad alliance with the US and powerful navy, it can do it to any other country in the Asia-Pacific. You could concoct a list of 20 reasons for the Chinese to have anti-Indonesia, anti-Singapore or anti-Australia demonstrations tomorrow.... There is a minority view in some parts of the Chinese foreign ministry that Australia might be splittable from the US, but the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] is firmly of the view that we remain the most solid and reliable of US allies. These brutal tactics have damaged Beijing throughout the region and will underline the overwhelming need to keep the Americans deeply engaged in Asian security.”
CHINA: "Action Is More Important Than Promise"
Official People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) editorialized (4/25): "Can there be a favorable turn in Sino-Japanese relations, which is facing a difficult situation?.... Hu Jintao's hope that the Japanese side could improve and develop Sino-Japanese relations with its actual deeds represents the Chinese leader's new words concerning Chinese-Japanese ties.... The five-point proposal was set forth in a sincere and pragmatic way and is constructive and operational.... In his meeting with Koizumi, Hu Jintao said that the Chinese government has always attached importance to Sino-Japanese relations. Improper handling of Sino-Japanese relations not only means failing to live up to the long-term hard work done by leaders of older generations and farsighted personages of the two countries, it will also harm the fundamental interests of the peoples of the two countries.... Further consolidating and developing Sino-Japanese friendly cooperation is the common expectations of the two peoples.... Hu Jintao pointed out that recently the practices of the Japanese side on the question of history and the Taiwan issue break its promises and deviate from the political foundation of Sino-Japanese relations and hurt the feelings of the peoples of China...so such practices are bound to arouse the dissatisfaction of the Chinese people.... Japan should take actions that can win Asia's trust. During the meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders, Koizumi indicated that the Japanese side was willing to actively push forward Japan-China friendly and cooperative relations in the spirit of President Hu Jintao's five-point proposal. What is worth stressing here is that to lift Sino-Japanese relations out of the difficult position is not determined by what promises the Japanese side makes, but by what action it is to take."
"Japanese Foreign Minister Comes To China To Put Out Fire"
Qin Xuan observed in official Communist Youth League-affiliated Elite Reference (Qingnian Cankao) (4/20): "Any result from the meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing is till uncertain. However...the dialogue between the ministers was meaningful and helpful.... A joint China-Japan study of the historical issue causing the problems is not a bad idea, either, but historical facts are only one issue. Currently the most urgent problem to solve is the Yasukuni Shrine visits--such visits are the root reason for the contradictions. Without a solution to the Yasukuni Shrine situation, there will be no mutual visits between the two countries’ leaders. Absent meetings between the leaders, mutual trust can hardly grow. Meanwhile the most dangerous issue is East China Sea issue. If Japan continues down the wrong path on this issue, it can only serve to further damage already deteriorating China-Japan relations.”
"Building Mutual Trust Needs Time And Wisdom"
The official English-language China Daily stated (4/20): “What difference can two days make?.... Two days are not enough to warm up the ice-cold Sino-Japanese relations.... Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura wound up his Beijing trip with the tension in the bilateral relationship still there.... Provocation from Japan has chilled the bilateral relationship and exasperated people in China and other Asian nations. Even some Japanese people point fingers at their leaders for failing to mend ties with neighbouring countries.... Doing nothing to put out the flames in the bilateral relationship, Japan has been accusing the Chinese Government of standing behind recent protests against Japan in many cities.... We are not in favour of irrational demonstrations of our feelings. But we have the right to express our anger.... Every government has a programme to encourage its citizens to love their country. So do China and Japan. The claim that Japan is the target of China's nationalistic education is not sensible.”
"Japan Snatches China’s East China Sea Resources"
He Haiping and Sun Jianhe wrote in China Radio International-sponsored official World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (4/19): "Japan’s hands of invasion have reached to China’s doorstep in an effort to snatch oil resources in the East China Sea.... Japan's main aim is not the economic value of the East China Sea’s oil resources. Rather, Japan’s real goal is laying down pieces and provoking conflicts to impede China’s development.... Statements by Japanese extremists recommending the use of warships to escort the snatching of resources, are very dangerous. This type of behavior would only serve to escalate the China-Japan conflict."
"The U.S. Plays The Very Dangerous Japan Card"
Xu Qingduo and Guan Cha commented in China Radio International-sponsored official World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (4/19): "On the one hand, the U.S. government is strenuously supporting Japan to act as East Asia’s leading soldier; on the other hand, it doesn’t want to offend China and South Korea. With the U.S. and Japan increasing their military relations, people have reason to doubt whether or not the U.S. will maintain fairness and objectivity in China-Japan affairs.... The U.S. is a playing a dangerous game by rearming Japan. It will increase China-Japan hostility, and may further destroy East Asia peace.”
"Why Doesn’t The U.S. Want To Look Back On Japan’s History?"
Yuan Zheng commented in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (4/18): "Ignoring history and beautifying invasion, Japan has aroused Asian countries’ common criticism. Meanwhile, the U.S., part of the anti-Nazi alliance and a country that fought against Japan during the WWII, has adopted a vague attitude on this. On the one hand, it has expressed understanding to China and South Korea. But, on the other hand, it says it won’t bring up the historical textbook issue with Japan. Up until now Japan has refused to critique its own history. The U.S. can’t shirk its responsibilities to bring this up. Out of the need to fight communism, the U.S. made effort to include Japan in its containment policy orbit. It is the insufficient settlement policy after WWII that has given Japan’s right wing forces a chance to rise again. The U.S. needs to be aware or this may come back and bite them someday.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "Summit Defuses Tensions, Sino-Japanese Differences Difficult To Resolve"
Center-left Chinese-language Sing Pao Daily News maintained (4/24): "Although Japan did make an 'apology,' people still feel its actions show that it does not regret. On the same day Koizumi issued the 'apology' at a conference in Indonesia, nearly one hundred Japanese lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine.... Although Japan said it did not want to be a major military power, it held a joint military exercise with the U.S. Air Force yesterday. With the support of the U.S., it also sent troops overseas. Japan and the U.S. increased military cooperation and included Taiwan in their mutual strategic objectives.... Following the peaceful ascendancy of China, it is difficult to evade Sino-Japanese differences. For example, when China's national strength continues to increase, it will affect Japan's status as the number one power in Asia. With U.S. support, Japan strives for becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. This will challenge China. In fact, the U.S. is one of the factors behind the Sino-Japanese diplomatic war because Japan has always been a piece of chess for the U.S. to contain China. Hence, it will be difficult for China and Japan to resolve their differences in a short time."
"What Japan Does Is More Important Than What It Says"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (4/24): "Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi expressed 'deep remorse' over Japan's World War II aggression against Asian neighbors and made a 'clear, open and definite' apology. However, the Japanese government should understand what is the so-called 'apology.' Apology does not focus on what Japan says but what it does. If Japan makes an 'apology' on the one hand and tries to rip the historic wounds on the other hand, no matter how many apologies it makes, it will be of no avail. It should be said that Koizumi made an open apology because he wants to soothe the anti-Japanese sentiment and, of course, he wants to get rid of the resistance that hinders Japan from becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. Apart from external pressure, Koizumi is facing internal pressure as well. If Koizumi is too humble, he will not be able to face the extreme right-wingers in Japan. Thus, it is natural for the 80 lawmakers to visit the Yasukuni Shrine to pacify the extreme right-wingers. This move will definitely infuriate China and people of other countries that were invaded by Japan."
"Who Will Believe An Insincere Apology?"
Independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News observed (4/23): "In the Asia-Africa Summit yesterday, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi repeated the apology made by former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama ten years ago.... It is obvious that the apology is a result of recent, heavy pressure from China and South Korea. The apology shows that Japanese words did not match its deeds in the past decade. This makes people suspect that Koizumi's apology are empty words or lies.... Chinese people want to become Japan's friend rather than enemy. They want to overcome the hurdles in history and they want to work together with Japan to become major pillars in safeguarding the region and promoting development in Asia. Hence, Japan's words should match its deeds. Japan should stop distorting history textbooks and leaders should stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. And it should handle territorial disputes through diplomatic negotiations. If Koizumi really wants to mend Japan's relations with its neighboring countries, he should win Asian people's respect."
"Apology Is The First Step To Resolve Disputes"
Mass-circulation Chinese-language Apple Daily News commented (4/23): "Although the Japanese government stressed that Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi's apology was not related to recent demonstrations in China, Koizumi expressed 'deep remorse' over Japan's aggression at this particular moment. This shows that Tokyo does not want to aggravate Sino-Japanese differences and instead seeks to defuse tensions. We hope that Sino-Japanese relations can take a favorable turn and that both Chinese and Japanese leaders can achieve results in today's meeting.... Koizumi can make use of the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII to represent the Japanese government and visit China, South Korea and other Asian countries. He can attend some memorial activities to mourn for soldiers and civilians who died during the war to apologize and show regret. We believe that such a move will certainly receive a positive response from people in Asia."
"Stepping Back From The Edge Of A Precipice"
Frank Ching wrote in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (4/21): "This is a warning signal the economic ties between China and Japan, which have been nurtured for 25 years--to such an extent that China is now Japan's biggest trading partner--could be in jeopardy. The demonstrations have now been going on for three weekends and have spread to more than a dozen cities. It is time to defuse the ticking bomb. For one thing, President Hu Jintao should accept Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's offer of a summit meeting later this week, when both men will be at a conference in Jakarta. Both sides should be aware they are now at the edge of a precipice. They must take a step back and think of where they want to take the dispute. On Japan's side, there is something that can easily be done: Mr. Koizumi can stop making his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine--and 45 per cent of Japanese voters want him to stop--according to a Mainichi poll. As for China, steps must be taken to ensure that future demonstrations are peaceful and that any damage to Japanese property be fairly compensated for. The two nations should also try to resolve territorial disputes in the East China Sea."
"Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"
Frank Ching asserted in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (4/20): "The Sino-Japanese relationship is peculiar in that trade has grown dramatically, with China overtaking the U.S. last year as Japan's biggest partner. However, on the political front, the situation has deteriorated.... The call by demonstrators for a boycott of Japanese goods shows the danger of the political standoff spilling over into the economic realm. Certainly, if protests continue, there will be a slowdown in Japanese investment. The Japanese demand for an apology appears to be an attempt to seize the moral high ground.... However, in Chinese eyes, it no doubt appears odd, to put it mildly, to attempt to put a few broken windows on a par with the death of millions, the human experiments, the chemical warfare and the degradation of young women forced into sexual servitude. But if there has been serious property damage or if Japanese people have been beaten up, then China should be willing to apologize and pay compensation."
"Sincerity Is Needed To Improve Sino-Japanese Relations"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (4/19): "There was a meeting between the Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers. Although they did not come up with any major breakthrough, they have reached some consensus. Basically, both China and Japan agreed to hold a meeting in May to discuss the issue of gas exploration in East China Sea. China also gave a positive response to Japan's suggestion regarding setting up an expert group to study issues about historical representation. Japanese officials said that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao would attend the Asia-African summit in Indonesia. They will hold a meeting to discuss bilateral relations. China has not yet made any response regarding the upcoming meeting. It seems that China wants to see the sincerity of Japan. Future Sino-Japanese relations will depend largely on whether Japan will seriously reflect on its past."
"Only Cooler Heads Can Calm Crisis"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post said (4/19): "Mainland officials, by granting the rare right to protest and allowing frustrations to be directed at Japan, have created a gap that has to be bridged; the economic value of relations on both sides is too valuable to be put in jeopardy. Nor should the region's security be compromised by yet another pressure point--Taiwan and North Korea are already enough cause for concern.... With Mr. Machimura's meetings making little concrete progress yesterday and Mr. Wu acknowledging that ties had reached their lowest point since diplomatic relations were formed in 1972, the sanctioned outcry will continue. Mr. Koizumi held out hope by trying to move beyond the exchange of criticism, indicating a possible bilateral summit with President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a conference in Indonesia this week. Such a meeting would be welcome, but no guarantee of a lessening of the sabre-rattling. That can only be achieved through Japanese resolve to satisfy Asian demands. China has to put those demands on the table and Japan must act as best it can. Provocation will achieve nothing."
"Japan Cannot Play The Economic Card Anymore"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times commented (4/19): "The economic relationship between Japan and China is now at a different level. Originally, their economies complemented each other, and there was much room for cooperation. Now, if business and trade between the two countries were to come to a standstill or even deteriorate, Japan would suffer more than China. Thus, Japan will no longer succeed in playing the economic card. It appears Japan has noticed this situation. That is why Japan accelerated its seizure of energy supplies in the East China Sea before China's national strength exceeded its own. Furthermore, Japan hopes to use various political means to slow China's ascension so as to increase its own leverage as much as possible. Since Japan is losing its economic leverage, time is on China's side. In view of Japanese provocation, China should neither be overbearing nor servile. As long as it can maintain its economic development, sooner or later, China can make others surrender even without fighting a war."
"China And Japan Are Old Enemies"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal editorialized (4/18): "Facing the wave of anti-Japanese protests in China, Japan has always accused the Chinese government of approving the protests and conducting 'patriotic education.' Yesterday, ten thousand Hong Kong people took to the streets to protest Japan's distorting history in the textbooks. They chanted anti-Japanese slogans. It can be seen how bitterly the Chinese people hate Japan for attempting to whitewash its invasion. It doesn't matter whether Chinese people are in China or overseas; they share a bitter hatred of Japan. Thus, the Japanese government cannot attribute the anti-Japanese protests to other 'political reasons.' The fact shows that the damage done to China by Japan did not fade out as time passed. On the contrary, due to the arrogance of the right-wingers, the issue of history has mixed with the interests of China and Japan. Their contradiction and conflicts are becoming out of control."
"It Is Difficult To Have Any Breakthrough In The Sino-Japan Meeting"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times commented (4/18): "If Japan refuses to accept the reality of the ascendancy of China and if it provokes disputes, Beijing does not have any room to make concessions. China can only adopt an attitude of being neither haughty nor humble. It should insist on its stance and in the meantime restrain itself to avoid the break out of an economic cold war or a military confrontation. China should take time to develop its economy and national strength. In addition, to secure more bargaining chips to break through the containment, Beijing must establish friendly relations with other countries in Asia such as South Korea so as to counter-contain Japan and to expand its diplomatic space. Japan has a huge economic strength and it is supported by the U.S. Thus, Japan will not be happy to be surpassed by China. Sino-Japanese tense relations may be able to be alleviated. But cross words will continue."
"Japan Has Big Ambition"
Mass-circulation Chinese-language Apple Daily News remarked (4/18): "The Japanese Foreign Minister said that the storm of protests will be over soon. However, Sino-Japan relations will inevitably be affected in the future. Japan will have a more ambitious strategic plan in future. For example, it will further explore the energy resources in East China Sea and it will amend its constitution to get ready to expand its military. If Japan fails to become a permanent member of the UNSC, Japan will put its blame on the Chinese government. By that time, Sino-Japan relations will suffer structural hits. Right-wingers will become more rampant and they will become the mainstream opinions in the ruling Japanese government."
"Hong Kong's Patriotic Feelings Should Be Recognized"
Independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News commented (4/18): "With the wave of anti-Japanese protests spreading widely in China, more than ten thousand Hong Kong people took to the streets yesterday. On the one hand, they want to express their objection to Japan's distortion of history in new textbooks. On the other hand, they are also protesting about the seizure of Diaoyu Island by Japan.... Although Hong Kong has always had differences with China, whenever China comes across difficulties, Hong Kong people's patriotic feelings show. Whether before or after the handover, Hong Kong people never keep silent. Thus, the central government should have confidence in Hong Kong. Even if they allow more Hong Kong people to participate in the Chief Executive election and the Legislative Council election, Hong Kong is still part of China. It will not act like Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party which has always done the very opposite of what China is doing. We should believe that the majority of Hong Kong people are patriots."
"Those Who Forget History Are Doomed To Repeat It"
Center-left Chinese-language Sing Pao Daily News argued (4/17): "The U.S. is hiding behind the Sino-Japan clashes. According to logic, China and the U.S. were allies in the WWII, and they should deal with Japan's militarism together. Today, militarism is so rampant in the Japanese political circle that the U.S. should be more alert. It is a pity that the U.S., for the sake of its own interests, deliberately turned Japan into a chess piece after WWII. Under the orders of the U.S., Japan has become a hidden worry of East Asia.... Japan has continued to do things to hurt China's interests. The U.S. has always been an onlooker. Even when Japan distorted the history, the U.S. made no comment. The attitude of the U.S. is so different from its image as an international cop. It is obvious that the U.S. is happy to be an onlooker so as to profit from the conflicts of China and Japan."
"Distorting History Is Rubbing Salt In The Wounds"
Center-left Chinese-language Hong Kong Daily News noted (4/17): "A series of anti-Japanese protests broke out in various mainland cities yesterday. In Shanghai, more than one hundred thousand people took to the streets. The angry protestors threw stones at the Japanese Consulate General. It is a pity a see the violence. Today, a protest will also be held in Hong Kong to protest Japan for distorting history. The objective of the protest is to show the world that there is a country that still refuses to acknowledge the crimes it committed during the WWII. On the contrary, Japan tries to find ways to whitewash the war history. Such a neighbor, no matter how gentle it looks, is still horrible."
"Don't Let Peaceful Demonstrations Be Blackened"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times remarked (4/16): "If China is on bad terms with Japan, if Chinese people have radical anti-Japanese actions, and if China resorts to military action to safeguard its interests in the East China Sea, the U.S. may use these as excuses to highlight Chinese people's violence and China threats. The U.S. wants to stir up Sino-Indian and Sino-European friendly relations in order to continue to contain China and to stop the Europeans from selling weapons to China. Yesterday, the U.S. government yesterday warned its citizens to beware of the protests for their own personal safety. Such an alert has exaggerated the violence of China's protests. Hence, Chinese people should remain rational and restrained during its anti-Japanese protests. They should avoid being blackening by others in such a complicated international situation which will have an impact on Chinese political and economic ascendancy."
"Japan Approval Of Drilling In The East China Sea Exacerbates Sino-Japanese Tense Relations"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News observed (4/15): "The Japanese government ignored China's advice and announced that it had processed the application from private companies to explore oil in the East China Sea and has granted them the right to do so. When Sino-Japanese relations were tense due to the distortion of history in new Japanese textbooks, the move of Japan to approve the drilling is adding fuel to the flames. It will definitely exacerbate Sino-Japanese relations.... For a long time, China has tried to be a friendly neighbor of Japan and it suggested 'putting aside disputes and jointly explore oil' as a resolution for the issue in the East China Sea. However, Japan seemed to regard China's sincerity and tolerance as weaknesses. That's why Japan made so many provocative acts. Hence, we should take Japan's move seriously.... In face of the provocative acts of Japan, China should start diplomatic debates. It should also seriously take into consideration taking effective measures to protect its resources in the East China Sea."
TAIWAN: "Anti-Japanese Riots In China Confirm Taiwan’s Worries"
The pro-independence English-language Taiwan News editorialized (4/20): "As a victim of 50 years of Japanese colonial occupation...Taiwan and its people, including many whom directly experienced Japanese aggression in China as well, has ample reasons to resent Japanese rule and no reason to defend Japan’s record in the Second World War, but so far have remained relatively quiet in the current wave of anti-Japanese protests.... The prime reason lies in the fact that the Taiwan government and most of our people are rather concerned about the present and possible future impact of the surfacing of a virulent form of great Chinese chauvinism than about the undeniable reality of Japanese crimes of aggression.... Given its status as one of the world’s greatest economic powers and its postwar diplomatic record (including its active role in humanitarian aid programs), Japan fully deserves a seat on the UNSC even though chauvinist political forces still exist and have some influence.... Moreover, the tacit approval of the PRC authorities to the overt displays of racism and chauvinism against Japanese citizens has starkly underlined the validity of Taiwan’s own concerns over possible aggression by the PRC and the all too real possibility that the Beijing authorities could stir up similar waves of ‘popular anger’ against Taiwan...or against the people of any country that supports Taiwan someday in the future. We hope in particular that global policy-makers will take seriously this threat. In particular, we urge the EU to continue to maintain its embargo on the sale of arms to the PRC, imposed in the wake of the Tiananmen Incident.”
"Geographical And Economic Entanglements Behind The Sino-Japanese Conflicts"
Centrist, pro-status quo China Times observed (4/19): "It is understood that [Japanese Foreign Minister] Nobutaka Machimura and his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing did not shake hands with each other before their meeting [Sunday], and the atmosphere of the meeting was very heavy. But both sides agreed to negotiate about the [gas drilling] issue in the East China Sea in May and to discuss substantive issues directly. Directly facing the problems concerning each party is the foundation for all meetings and a right way to resolve or manage problems. Taiwan should learn from such developments, or it will be a waste if it fails to learn from a lesson [when it is] itself one of the reasons for the Sino-Japanese conflicts. Leaders of both China and Japan will meet in Indonesia at the end of April. Taiwan needs to pay attention to [see] if both sides will engage in a new dialogue or if there will be a turning point [in their relations.]”
"Sino-Japanese Relations In Crisis”
The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times stated (4/19): "If the anti-Japanese riots continue, will Beijing be able to guarantee that the target of the demonstrations will not shift and that the rallies will not get out of control? Surely this consideration will make all foreign businesspeople fearful. Beijing should bring a halt to the anti-Japanese demonstrations and deal with the issue itself, rather than relaying on popular pressure. Tokyo should understand the perspective and feelings of those nations that suffered under Japanese occupation during the war, and reconsider its decision to revise its textbooks. Japan should follow Germany’s example and face up to the injury it inflicted during the war, so that its people can learn from history and develop a peaceful spirit that abhors and seeks to avoid armed conflict.... If this problem is not sorted out quickly and rationally it will become much more serious. China will face increased domestic pressure, as well as suspicion from the international community, while Japan will face damage to its huge investments in China. Both parties will suffer, and the international repercussions could be immense.”
"East Asia Is Europe In 1900s"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post said (4/19): "As victims of Japan’s aggression, China and Korea are entitled to demand Japan face up to history. But the apology game has gone on too long, playing into the hands of not only Japanese nationalists, but also their counterparts in Korea and China. China, Korea and Japan must learn from the latest incidents and curb nationalism at home. Otherwise, East Asia threatens to become like the 19th century Europe, where rising nationalism caused numerous conflicts and ended up with two devastating world wars.”
"Taiwan Should Not Become The Bargaining Chip In The Confrontation Between China and Japan"
Yang Yung-ming asserted in conservative, pro-unification United Daily News (4/18): "For an East Asian situation that is becoming more and more tense, the attitude of the U.S. is critical. Although the U.S. is constrained by the situation in the Middle East, it has not forgotten to manipulate the issue to allow Japan become its agent in East Asia. After the war against Iraq, Japan unconventionally sent its Self-Defense Forces to Iraq to show allegiance to the U.S. One thing that people should not ignore is that the U.S.-China relationship has become potentially confrontational. Under this situation, the U.S. is adopting a counter-balance strategy in East Asia, instead of a more traditional means of containment.... In other words, the major strategic thinking of the U.S. is to demonstrate its ability to maintain the status quo in East Asia via Japan and to further constrain China. The U.S.-Japan two plus two announcement and Japan’s 2004 Defense White Paper have both clearly demonstrated this kind of strategic thinking.... Taiwan people should stand firm on the fundamental grounds of universal values, human rights, and democracy. They should also expend efforts on regional stability and pursue Taiwan’s highest interests. They should avoid getting involved in any form of confrontation between the rival groups or becoming an advocate of either side. Taiwan should not act either haughtily or humbly, but should be firm on the attitude of being a ‘human being’ and a member of Asia and should not be influenced by nationalism of neither side."
"Leaders Of Countries In Northeast Asia Should Be Careful When Manipulating Nationalism"
Centrist, pro-status quo China Times editorialized (4/18): "Over the past few days, the situation inside every country in Northeast Asia has been more or less disturbed.... Taiwan stood aside and watched the whole thing going on without taking any action and even tried to keep itself out of the trouble. But nonetheless, Taiwan should not underestimate the consequent effects of this regional storm. A closer look into the storm will find that the situation is interchangeably formed by the friction of several factors. Many problems have been there for dozens of years but exploded together recently. What lies behind this storm is the ‘nationalism’ that is easy to set off but hard to control. If leaders of these countries are not willing to calm down but allow the situation to spread, [we are afraid] that these protests may result in unmanageable consequences.... The lesson that lies ahead of the leaders of the countries in Northeast Asia is whether they want to choose the approach of a global strategy, or that of a nationalism that mobilizes its people when dealing with intertwined history and conflicting interests. The European Union represents the result of the former approach. The EU countries have moved beyond historical hatred and solved their problems through negotiations and dialogues. If one wants to choose the latter approach, the consequence will be that all quarrels will be enlarged and turmoil will be created. History books show again and again that the consequence of a country mobilizing or even indulging the mobilization of its nationalism will result in the rise of nationalism in another country.... If we just look at this point, [we can say that] the recent situation in Northeast Asia is very worrisome.”
"Tensions Mount In East China Sea"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post concluded (4/16): “The drilling-rights dispute [between Japan and China] is the beginning of a storm in the East China Sea. The two countries have conflicting interests regionally and internationally. China views Japan with suspicion and distrust, if not hostility. The two countries have fought two wars in recent history. Today, they are competing for dominance in Asia. The rivalry may lead to war if the leaders of both sides fail to see the danger looming large and allow the situation to get out of control.... To cool off the situation, Beijing should rein in the anti-Japanese protests, even if they were ‘spontaneous.’ The regime has the responsibility to protect innocent Japanese nationals. On the other hand, Tokyo should be sensitive to the feelings of those victimized by imperialistic Japan and stop doing things that will rub salt into the wounds, such as Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s controversial visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, or the distortion of history to whitewash its war-time atrocities. Both sides should start building mutual trust, however difficult it may be.”
JAPAN: "China Distorts History"
Top-circulation moderate Yomiuri editorialized (4/24): "Chinese President Hu's failure to make apologies or offer compensation for the damage to Japan's diplomatic and business interests in China seems to demonstrate Beijing's position that it does not admit its violation of international laws and makes no apologies for its misconduct. Chinese demonstrators' vandalism against Japanese property is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention, but the Chinese government failed to take any effective measures to prevent such violent acts. President Hu repeated Beijing's call for a Japanese apology for its wartime aggression, saying that Tokyo has never reflected on its aggression during WWII, but such allegations contradict historic facts that Japan has expressed its regrets and apologies on more than 20 official occasions since 1972. In addition to those past statements, PM Koizumi reiterated Japan's regrets.... His statement was effective in counteracting Chinese and South Korean propaganda. The Chinese leader called for Japan to express through 'action' its regrets over wartime aggression, but China should stop its anti-Japanese education. Beijing should realize that the escalation of an anti-Japanese movement would cause serious damage to both Japan and China, whose economies are deeply intertwined."
"No Handshakes Without Apologies"
Conservative Sankei asserted (4/24): "It is regrettable that Prime Minister Koizumi did not call for China's apology for recent acts of violence by anti-Japanese demonstrators. It is clear that maintaining healthy relations is critical to both Tokyo and Beijing, whose economic ties are deepening and whose cooperation on security issues, including North Korea's nuclear threat, is becoming increasingly important. Japan and China need to rebuild mutual confidence in order to reduce tensions and develop positive relations between the two countries. The Chinese leader called for Japan to express through 'action' its regret for wartime aggression, but it would be difficult to restore aggravated ties unless China reflects on the recent vandalism by its people."
"Problems Remain Unsolved"
Liberal Asahi opined (4/24): "The Koizumi-Hu meeting appears to have provided 'first aid' to damaged Japan-China relations. However, the wound could open again because the summit did not cure fundamental problems between the two Asian rivals. Anti-Japanese sentiment among Chinese citizens could flare anew in the near future. The recent visit to Yasukuni Shrine by dozens of Japanese lawmakers appeared to irritate the Chinese people. Prime Minister Koizumi should sincerely review the impact his visits to the controversial shrine have on Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors. On the other hand, Chinese leaders must understand that violence could generate anti-Chinese feeling among Japanese."
"Initial Step To Restore Tainted Relations"
Liberal Mainichi argued (4/23): "Although we welcome efforts by Prime Minister Koizumi and Chinese President Hu to prevent Sino-Japan relations from further deteriorating, it is regrettable that the Chinese leader failed to make a firm commitment to controlling the excessive anti-Japanese movement in his country. Foreign investors seem to be concerned about potential risks in their future business in China. If violent anti-Japanese demonstrations continue in China, not only political relations, but also economic ties between the two nations could be exacerbated. The Beijing government needs to take measures to protect Japanese interests in the country.... It is regrettable that there is a widespread view in the global community that Tokyo has made insufficient efforts to reflect on its wartime aggression. In his remarks last week in Jakarta, Koizumi expressed Japan's regrets and apologies for its misbehavior during WWII in order to respond to the international community's concern over Tokyo's 'lack' of effort.... Both Tokyo and Beijing need to hold dialogues at all levels in order to follow up efforts by Koizumi and Hu to rehabilitate soured Sino-Japan relations."
"Koizumi Must Express Clear Concerns"
Conservative Sankei editorialized (4/21): "In a suggested meeting with Chinese President Hu in Bandung, Indonesia on Friday, Prime Minister Koizumi has reportedly decided to express concerns about anti-Japanese education in China. It will become the first opportunity for a Japanese leader to express Japan's position against 'distorted' historical perceptions held by Chinese people.... Most Chinese textbooks carry false or exaggerated stories on Japanese wartime behaviors in China. Those are propaganda textbooks, not history materials. Without Japan's protest, the international community might consider that Tokyo accepts Chinese views on history. Koizumi must express a clear-cut position that Japan would not subscribe to China's misguided historical perceptions."
"Win-Win Solution Called For"
Liberal Tokyo Shimbun opined (4/21): "In his suggested meeting with Chinese President Hu in Indonesia, Koizumi should seek an apology and compensation for damage caused on Japanese diplomatic missions in China by recent anti-Japanese rallies. But, Koizumi should also express his determination to stop anti-Chinese harassment in Japan because a meeting should not be held only to demand an apology. The two leaders should instead pursue a 'win-win' solution in the belief that a stable bilateral relationship would benefit the two nations as well as the international community."
"Information Control No Longer Effective"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri insisted (4/21): "Beijing has used anti-Japanese demonstrations as a diplomatic tool to apply pressure on Tokyo. At the same time, it has imposed a domestic news blackout on the rallies, while fabricating a Japanese minister's remarks. These measures are seen as a desperate attempt by Beijing to prevent anti-Japanese sentiment from turning into criticism of the communist party. It offers a clue to a possible end to outdated measures to preserve the autocratic system through information and media control."
"Japan And China Must Seek Greater Benefits"
Liberal Asahi argued (4/20): "Prime Minister Koizumi and Chinese President Hu are expected to meet later this week on the sidelines of the Asia-Africa Conference in Indonesia. The meeting last week between visiting Foreign Minister Machimura and his Chinese counterpart Li illustrated the wide gap between Tokyo and Beijing over the controversial issues separating the two countries. We support Koizumi's views that unlike the 'businesslike' foreign ministerial, he and his Chinese counterpart should not exchange words of criticism but should instead have candid talks based on wider views about bilateral relations. The two nations must use the upcoming summit as an opportunity to improve their deteriorated ties, because further aggravation of bilateral relations would endanger the interests of both Tokyo and Beijing. Boycotts of Japanese products would hurt Japanese businesses and additional acts of violence would damage international confidence in China. Leaders of Japan and China need to make a breakthrough in the current impasse and stress to their own people the benefits that cooperation, not confrontation, would bring. In this regard, President Hu needs to express Beijing's regret over the escalated vandalism and Prime Minister Koizumi should provide the Chinese people with a sincere explanation of Japan's position on its wartime history."
"Cooperation, Not Confrontation, Would Benefit Japan And China"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (4/20): "We hope Prime Minister Koizumi and Chinese President Hu will hold candid talks during their upcoming meeting scheduled for later this week, in order to improve the aggravated relations between Tokyo and Beijing. The Chinese government must make it clear that it will not allow further violence against foreign interests in the nation. The recent vandalism caused by massive Chinese demonstrations damaged international confidence in China. The PRC government should punish those who committed the recent violence in order to prevent the recurrence of such unlawful acts. Japan and China appear to stand at a crucial crossroads in their future relations. Tokyo and Beijing need to overcome the disagreement immediately, because further confrontation would not benefit their national interests while closer cooperation would bring about prosperity for both parties."
"Responsibility Rests With China For Improving Ties"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri argued (4/18): "Remarks expressed by Chinese Foreign Minister Li during his Sunday meeting in Beijing with Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura raise doubts about whether Beijing is really serious about improving ties with Tokyo, which have been aggravated due to a recent series of violent anti-Japanese demonstrations.... Li refused to apologize and instead effectively approved the radical marches, by saying that Japan's approach to history-related issues are hurting Chinese people. There is the possibility that similar rallies will be repeated in the near future, as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the World War II. The recurrence, if it occurs, will be bound to increase international distrust in China.... What must be addressed is China's education curriculum, which allegedly distorts historical facts and emphasizes anti-Japan elements."
"Apology Is Warranted"
Conservative Sankei opined (4/18): "Repeated vandalism by agitated mobs at Japanese diplomatic missions and commercial interests in China prompts us to declare that there is no law and order in China. No words other than 'regrettable' are appropriate in describing the attitude shown by Chinese Foreign Minister Li to his Japanese counterpart Machimura during their Sunday meeting.... We are not opposed to the right of the Chinese people to hold demonstrations. We just want the Chinese government to control and prevent illicit rallies according to its domestic laws. But, what has happened across China raises concerns that Beijing has effectively condoned anti-Japanese riots... An apology by the Chinese is imperative in order to improve the damaged bilateral relationship. Without it, Japanese people will not be satisfied."
"Rule Of Law Not Applying To Emerging Economic Giant"
A report in business-oriented Nihon Keizai read (4/18): "Repeated violence against Japanese diplomatic and business interests in China once again illustrates the very fragile status of rule of law in rapidly-growing China.... The fact that authorities failed to grasp plans for anti-Japanese demonstrations is a reminder of the lack of law in China. Inept public security forces and a low level of compliance to the law by locals are often cited as risk factors when doing business in China. A 'politics-first' principle arising from the communist power monopoly also undermines the rule of law doctrine. How Beijing controls future anti-Japanese rallies will offer a glimpse into its readiness to fully respect the rule of law concept."
"China Must Lay Ground For Dialogue"
Liberal Mainichi claimed (4/18): "It is quite regrettable that Chinese Foreign Minister Li rejected Japan's demand for an apology and instead blamed Japan for triggering anti-Japan demonstrations.... International laws obligate the Chinese government to be responsible for maintaining security around foreign diplomatic missions. As an official signatory to the WTO, China must not be allowed to condone an attack on foreign commercial interests by its people. Chinese leaders should deal with future violent anti-Japan rallies in a resolute manner and lay the ground for dialogue, before Prime Minister Koizumi meet Chinese President Hu on the sidelines of the Asia-Africa conference in Jakarta to be held later this month."
"Stronger Bilateral Coordination Called For"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai observed (4/18): "We partly welcome Sunday's foreign ministerial between Japanese minister Machimura and his Chinese counterpart Li, as they agreed among other things, to arrange a summit between Prime Minister Koizumi and Chinese President Li. It is high time for Beijing and Tokyo to enhance coordination and deepen dialogue in order to defuse the simmering bilateral row.... China has strongly criticized some Japanese history textbooks. But, we also find China's history education problematic because of its anti-Japanese tone. If the deep schism on history-related issues is narrowed through a suggested summit, that would help stabilize the bilateral ties. We also want Koizumi to review his annual visits to Yasukuni Shrine."
"Patriotism Does Not Justify Violence"
Liberal Asahi asserted (4/18): "Chinese participants in anti-Japanese riots appear to have justified their vandalism by calling it a patriotic act. They must assume that the Chinese government will overlook their activities if they insist it is patriotism, because the Chinese Communist Party and the government have long stressed the importance of patriotic behavior. China's patriotism campaign of the 1990s appears to be backfiring, making it extremely difficult for them to criticize, control and apologize for anti-Japanese rallies. But, such an attitude must not be accepted if China is a law-abiding country. We are paying close attention to remarks made by Chinese Foreign Minister Li that any action would be dealt with based on laws."
INDONESIA: "Japanese Foreign Minister To Visit China, Tension Remains High"
Leading independent Kompas commented (4/16): "Japan should gently admit and apologize for their past mistakes instead of making up things to hide it. Japan could not have predicted that China would react so strongly. The anti-Japanese sentiment spread quickly. The dignity of the Chinese, which has increased following their economic advances, encouraged them to challenge the Japanese, and even the U.S. China did not succumb to the threat of trade sanctions from the U.S. when it accused it of dumping electronic products. The U.S. finally stepped back. China’s self-confidence is indeed on the rise.”
PHILIPPINES: "Kowtowing To China"
The independent Manila Times editorialized (4/21): “What gives China the moral right to demand an apology from Japan for its barbarism during the Pacific War? The rape of Nanjing is unarguably one of the blackest episodes in the history of Japan. But so was China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979.... China’s historical crimes are as repugnant as Japan’s. In the 1870s China massacred hundreds of thousands of Muslims to cleanse the Yunnan region. Also during that period, the Chinese army slaughtered thousands of native Formosans in order to ‘civilize’ them. Its occupation of Tibet and the repressions against the Uigurs and Kazakhs in Xinjiang were almost genocidal in intent. Are these events recorded in China’s textbooks? It they are, how are they depicted? Are they morally or philosophically different from the way the Japanese have portrayed the Second World War for their schoolchildren? China is using these issues to undercut Japan’s bid to become a permanent member of the UNSC despite near unanimous support by nearly all Asian countries. China is overplaying its hand. China’s wish is for the other nations--especially the smaller and weaker countries--to see Japan as morally unfit because of its war record. But most Asians are more perturbed by the aggressiveness of China. China should learn from Japan. It took Japan over half a century of measured and cautious steps to win the respect and admiration of Asia and the world. China is in too great a hurry to get its great power status recognized. Europe, especially France, is ready, it seems, to kowtow. But Asian countries are not. They demand a modicum of mutual respect. To keep bringing up crimes of the past that present generations have abjured is to poison the ground for fruitful cooperation.”
"The Escalating Wave Of Anti-Japanese Protests In China Ought To Worry Beijing, Too"
Max Soliven wrote in the moderate Philippine Star (4/19): “There’s no doubt that the current wave of demonstrations had ab initio the blessings of the government.... No demonstration ever takes place in Communist China...without government permission.... Obviously, China wants to block any prospect of Japan securing a chair in the vital UNSC (Tokyo’s latest ambition), the spectre of a Washington-Tokyo alliance against China (Beijing’s latest trauma and bogeyman), the exploration for oil in disputed waters off Shanghai, et cetera. But the demonstrations may have spiralled out of control. Worst of all, those demonstrations--growing in scope and fury--may subtly be directed at the Chinese government itself. A repressed people may be letting off steam in the only way they find open to them, when the ultimate object of their wrath is the hegemony against which thus far, with painful memories of the Tiananmen massacre and its bloody aftermath still fresh in their minds, they find themselves helpless.... The Japanese textbook controversy we will always have.... Japan’s tatamae approach and its textbook ‘amnesia’ have long vexed this writer, and I’ve written a dozen articles assailing it over the past two decades. But this week’s riots should concern us even more greatly. For a rise in Chinese ‘nationalism’ and xenophobia, since China is now so economically vigorous and militarily militant, poses a danger to us all here in Asia, within this giant nation’s geographical sphere. But not as much danger as it poses, it must be said, to the regime itself in Beijing.”
SOUTH KOREA: "Japan Should Defuse The Anger"
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo advised (4/19): “Anti-Japan rallies have been going on in China for the past three weeks now. The protests, which began in a few major cities, are now spreading nationwide in every direction, including Shanghai, Shenyang, and Hong Kong.... For the sake of development and peace in Asia, and a cooperative and friendly relationship between China and Japan, a prolonged confrontation between the two countries is not desirable. If the conflict continues to persist as it has, radical nationalistic elements in both countries will provoke a fight over regional hegemony. Such a confrontation would disturb the foundation of peace and stability in the region. Therefore, the foreign ministries of both countries and those in positions of leadership must make a diplomatic effort to calm the situation down. In particular, it is time for Japan to take a more open-minded position, one that is geared toward the future. The anti-Japanese sentiment that is prevailing in China, the ROK, and in Southeast Asia right now was provoked by Japanese attempts to distort historical fact, Japan’s territorial provocations, and the absurd remarks of right-wing politicians who do not take into account the feelings of neighboring countries.... Rather than peddling favors to underdeveloped countries to try to win a seat on the UNSC, it is more urgent for Japan to restore the confidence of its neighbors.”
"Japan Causes Anti-Japanese Demonstrations In China"
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun contended (4/18): “It is not desirable for a problem that has arisen between countries to lead to violent demonstrations, because it excites ethnic sentiments and makes finding a rational solution difficult. Chinese diplomatic missions in Japan are already receiving threats. If, as Japan alleges, Chinese authorities are allowing and encouraging the violent demonstrations, that would be out of step with international norms. Japan’s mistaken behavior is what is at the center of the issue, however, and so Japan has a responsibility to work actively to keep the situation from deteriorating. The anti-Japanese protests first began immediately after the Japanese Education Ministry gave official approval to textbooks glorifying Japan’s past aggression. Adding fuel to the flames, leading Japanese officials made outrageous comments regarding the Japanese move, causing the demonstrations to spread nationwide. Furthermore, Japan’s efforts to win a permanent UNSC seat and its failure to recognize its past wrongdoings are in such contrast and they have angered people in neighboring countries. Ultimately, the main cause of the demonstrations is Japan itself. Perhaps the rightists who are leading the Japanese government and political landscape might need to incite conflict with neighboring countries in order to push ahead with rearmament and amending Japan’s 'peace constitution.' If that is not the case, the Japanese should change their attitude toward issues such as textbooks and visits to Yasukuni Shrine.”
"There's Something About Japan"
Kim Young-hie wrote in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (4/17): "The German people constantly reflect upon their horrific past. It seems to be part of their everyday lives. This attitude contrasts sharply with that of the Japanese, who complain that they should not have to apologize to Korea for its crimes every time a new prime minister takes office.... There is something that makes Germany different from Japan.... Japanese ministers are politicians.... Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who takes sadistic pleasure in continually provoking Korea and China by worshipping at the Yasukuni Shrine, is their boss.... I think it makes sense to say that Japan's moral insensitivity about the past is actually a political problem. Former Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke was a Class A war criminal, and his grandson, Abe Shinzo, is leading Japan's right-wing political faction at the moment.... But it is political culture that moves politics, and political culture derives from a country's level of consciousness and intelligence.... As an economic power, Japan's problem is its intellectual backwardness. The way Japanese politicians talk leads us to believe that the country suffers from problems of mental, cultural and intellectual development. Japan is depriving itself of the chance to be a permanent member of the UNSC.... In dealing with such a country, how should we address the problems of Dokdo and the history textbooks? In the case of Dokdo, it will be sufficient to continue our de facto occupation of the islands. As for the textbooks, the narrow-minded, old-fashioned mindset that drives those historical distortions will lose its ground if channels of communication expand and diversify between the two countries.... Judging from the fact that the Japanese right-wing saw it as a crisis when the country's young people got caught up in the 'Korean wave,' historical truth would definitely seem to be on our side.
THAILAND: "Lessons From Europe For China And Japan"
Pana Janviroj commented in the independent, English-language Nation (4/20): "What is clear is that the three Northeast Asian economic powerhouses--China, Japan and South Korea--could stand to learn a few lessons from Europe, which has come a long way since World War II. First, they relied on the Americans to serve as referee in hammering out their post-war differences. Second, they were able to blame Adolf Hitler and his generals for World War II and the attempted extermination of the Jews. Whatever emotions have lingered in the half-century since the war ended are focused on the dead and buried, and not on the living. Third, several generations of leaders of Germany and the rest of Europe have made great efforts, again with support from the U.S., to build a lasting peace. The EU came into being, and its agenda is about putting energy towards building a future in order not to repeat the past.... The start of what could become a process for bringing to a close the dispute between the two countries could come this Friday, when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Africa Summit in Jakarta. It would be futile to hope for a miracle, but both leaders can help to ease the tensions by exercising good leadership and sending out the right messages to their peoples. They should also encourage a series of public seminars on the history of World War II, not necessarily in Japan or China, but in a third country where emotions will not be allowed to overrun the occasion. At this sensitive time, 'truth' is never going to be enough to establish a version of history that is acceptable to all of the countries of Asia.... What we need now are the facts. It could well take a number of years to gather all the evidence. However much time it takes should serve as an opportunity for the Japanese to give the old version of nationalism a rethink, and start looking outwards rather than inwards as a nation and as a people. The Chinese, meanwhile, should use this time to focus their energy into taking advantage of the many reasons it has to be patriotic.”
"A Fragile State Of Affairs In East Asia"
The lead editorial in the independent, English-language Nation read (4/15): "Since democracy took hold in South Korea, the country has portrayed itself as a bridge in the region, especially between Japan and China, because of its unique geographical location and history. South Korea can certainly fulfill that role if the escalating tensions between the international community and North Korea can be contained. Much energy has been expended to rein in the conflict with North Korea, which has sapped Seoul’s energy and put limits on what Seoul can do as a go-between. Given the current atmosphere of hostility, one cannot help but wonder how these countries can continue with any enthusiasm the effort to push the East Asian Community forward. The Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders will meet in December in Kuala Lumpur with their colleagues from ASEAN for their first summit. The historic meeting is supposed to pave the way for closer cooperation and open the way for efforts to create a strong common front for all of East Asia. If the various problems between these countries are allowed to continue, it is doubtful the parties involved will succeed in laying the foundations for this huge community or meet the ambitious goal of ensuring close cooperation and prosperity for all the community’s members.”
BRITAIN: "Shouting Is Not A Policy: China Has To Find More Mature Ways Of Making Itself Heart"
The conservative Times declared (4/19): "To stimulate populist nationalism is no substitute for policy. True, that China relinquished, in 1972, claims to Japanese reparations for wartime atrocities does not excuse Tokyo for refusing to reopen the question of compensation for Chinese victims; but Japan has been generous with economic aid and has issued 17 official apologies since 1972. China needs to make clear precisely what it wants from Tokyo. These near-riots are polluted by racism as well as historical resentments. Investors in China, noting rising anti-foreigner sentiment, will worry whether their countries could be tomorrow's villains."
FRANCE: "Danger In China"
Alexandre Adler wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/20): “The violent anti-Japanese campaign is a warning to the American partner-adversary to stay put.... Because Beijing fears the boomerang effect of an anti-American campaign.... Japan is being used as a scapegoat.... If one looks a little closer, one sees that the anti-Japanese demonstrations came about shortly after the U.S. and Japan signed a communiqué re-affirming their solidarity against potential threats in Asia, and especially after signifying that this threat could concern Taiwan.... The situation is like a sinister set of Russian dolls opening a frightening vista of China breaking with the rest of the world. It is not Japan that is targeted, but the Japanese-American alliance. It is not this alliance that is targeted, but the tacit and now more explicit support of Taiwan. And it is not even Taiwan which is targeted. Who then?.... There seems to be in China today a group agitating for the reunification with Taiwan to better thwart it. Such a campaign can only lead to increasing tension between China and its three major economic partners: Taiwan, Japan and the U.S. Without wanting to point to a plot, if one wanted to topple the duet of the Chinese President and his Prime Minister, this would be the way to go.”
GERMANY: "Japan's War Guilt, China's Ugly Face"
Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg noted (4/25): "It was clear that China would not be satisfied with Japan's apology...but Premier Koizumi's statement did not go beyond previous statements. In addition, his arguments were weakened by renewed visits of high-ranking Japanese officials at the Yasukini Shrine. But the leadership in Beijing defined an odd yardstick for Japan's dealing with its past. President Hu Jintao said Japan should never do anything that could violate the feelings of the Chinese people...but Hu did not only call upon Japan to consider its history as a 'mirror,' but he also demanded a correct attitude in the Taiwan connection. This combination shows who has the greater potential as aggressor. China is threatening Taiwan with an invasion if it declared itself independent. Koizumi should finally remove all reasons for historical accusations, including visits at the Yasukuni Shrine. This would help Japan's diplomacy gain a greater scope of action to hold up the mirror of present to China. Once it an while this mirror shows an ugly face."
Center-right Thüringer Allgemeine of Erfurt advised (4/23): "Following Japan's Premier Koizumi's apology for the suffering Japan caused during WWII, the anger is toning down. Beijing promised that he spontaneous protests of Chinese would now be over and that the attacks on Japanese institutions would now stop. Compensation for the damages caused by the war is, nevertheless, only a side theater for Beijing. It is foreseeing that Japan's strife for a permanent UNSC seat has consequences. With such a function, the country could not idly watch a conflict with neighboring Taiwan. In addition to the United States, China is now confronted with a second power."
"Loss Of Reason"
Henrik Bork opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/21): "Time would really be ripe for a courageous gesture of a Japanese politician which would be understood in China and Asia as a whole as a sign of remorse. But thus far, it does not seem that any politician in Japan would be willing to do so. The visit of Japan's foreign minister in Beijing was an exercise in eloquently saying nothing. From a Chinese point of view, relations have reached a bottom low…and what does the envoy from Tokyo demand: an apology from Beijing and compensation for smashed windows. In Japan, there is still the clear trend to push aside the unpleasant history of aggressive wars against the neighboring countries. And the revisionist textbook is not an individual case.... Hopes for a settlement of the conflict are now directed to a more intense dialogue between the political leaderships.... It is time that China and Japan find a way back to reason. Because of the controversy between Beijing and Tokyo, there are mounting concerns in Asia as a whole about the investment climate. In the long run, the basis for reconciliation in Asia will depend on Japan's attitude. Japanese courts should no longer be allowed to reject compensation demands from Chinese victims of bio-weapons experiments, as it happened only last Tuesday. Much better would be for Japan to make a symbolic gesture, so that China can no longer use nationalistic feelings as an instrument in this controversy. Premier Koizumi should show this courage."
"China's Ugly Side"
Matthias Nass asserted in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (4/21): "Unfortunately, China also has an ugly side: the anti-Japanese riots these days made dramatically clear: the China of aggressiveness, willingness to use force, lawlessness, and anti-foreigner sentiment.... It is certainly true that the right-wing Koizumi government must partly be blamed for growing tensions in East Asia...but the tolerance of violence by the leadership in Beijing is of a different caliber. The global power of tomorrow wants to show the aggressor from yesterday its limits.... China does not tolerate Japan as an equal rival next to it. Despite all changes of dynasties, revolutions, and civil wars, the pride of its culture has remained--and the memory of the humiliations by western imperialism and Japanese militarism. And the feeling of national humiliation resulted more than once in hatred of foreigners.... That is why the Beijing government is now playing with fire if it allows anti-Japanese protests to continue. It not only risks the confidence of western investors but the unrest could easily turn against itself.... If the West can learn one thing from the Chinese than it is the thinking in long periods. Europeans and Americans should recognize that the PRC needs time on the path to the rule of law. But they should insist on this goal. Otherwise much more could be destroyed in Beijing than a few windows."
"Ghosts Of The Past"
Harald Maass contended in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/19): "Today's anti-Japanese protests are run by the government.... But Japan's lack of efforts to deal with its war past is only one side of the coin. In China, too, the government uses history for domestic policy purposes. For years, Chinese media have turned Japan into the arch-enemy for years. There has been no mention of generous Japanese development assistance payments--or the war crimes of the Chinese army. Instead, the people are flooded with nationalism.... The consequence of these education and disinformation campaigns is a distinct anti-Japanese mood in China.... For Beijing, the controversy over textbooks is a welcome pretext to counter Tokyo's wish for greater regional and international influence. At the same time, the demonstrations are a valve for the people to release pressure. The disparate economic development in China is creating growing social tensions. Japan may be a welcome scapegoat for the Communist government in Beijing to distract attention from its own problems in the country. But this game is dangerous for both Tokyo and Beijing if people's anger will become an political issue, too."
"Trouble In China"
Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg judged (4/19): "This crisis is deadly serious, because both Asian major powers are sliding into a confrontation. And this also creates an economic feeling of uncertainty because the question must be raised what game the Chinese leadership is playing.... The booming Chinese cheap labor country and Japan's high-tech economy have developed an economic symbiosis that is very successful. But this also results in new tensions. The old distribution of roles is a thing of the past: the former economic Chinese dwarf is a heavyweight today, which presents itself in very self-confident way, while Japan, a traditionally political dwarf, wants to play in the league of the Chinese political giant.... Japan's neighbors, however, will accept this new role only if Japan faces its past in a self-critical way. But after the latest incidents, China must also accept accusations.... For a country that wants to be accepted as a reliable partner, the play with the people's anger should not be an instrument of politics. But if Beijing is really unable to prevent spontaneous violence, this will create unpleasant questions."
"Claiming Mantle As Number One"
Center-right Volksstimme of Magdeburg argued (4/19): "Times are changing in China: China now wants to harvest the political fruit of its uninterrupted economic upswing. The lesson is called: 'We are the number one in Asia.' First of all it brought to reason Taiwan. The anti-secession law drove any lust for independence out of the Taiwanese. Now it is Japan that is to be pushed back in the struggle for supremacy in Asia. As a matter of fact, the Japanese have to catch up when it comes to dealing with their past. But is it really necessary to conjure up the most serious crisis for decades? China's aggressiveness is worrying. The military budget was increased by twelve percent, and now an orchestrated people's anger is another means of pressure. But if Beijing goes to far, it will risk the conflict with the real hegemonic power in Asia: the U.S., and then the situation would be really getting dangerous."
"Japan Must Stop Its Provocations"
Right-of-center Braunschweiger Zeitung said (4/19): "In history textbooks, Japan may minimize or deny the atrocities of its own army in China. But this state-ordered flight from responsibility will have the opposite effect. The demand for information will be getting tougher and more persistent. It is certainly right that the attacks of Chinese against Japanese institutions cannot be tolerated. Beijing is cold-bloodedly taking advantage of the favorable moment to get the support of the people for the regime in Beijing. But independent of this fact, one thing is true: Japan must get rid of the stigma of a biased historical account. As long as it persists, Tokyo's annual tribute to the war victims at the Yasakuni Shrine will remain a provocation in Asia."
Right-of-center Die Tagespost of Würzburg noted (4/19): "It would have been possible to clarify this lasting controversy like other issues that were resolved in the past between these two countries. But obviously, people do not consider Japan's frequent apologies to be credible. Now the Chinese dragon is to attack Japan. With such an approach, other unpleasant issues like human rights and the Taiwan problem can be ignored for quite some time, even though Beijing is right with its protests against Japan's biased historical accounts. But it must be doubted whether China's orchestrated outrage, which is demonstrated with the tolerated attacks on Japanese offices, is wise and helpful in view of massive Japanese economic assistance. Basically, both countries get along too well with each other and Beijing certainly does not want to spoil relations with the peaceful Japanese neighbor and its American big brother."
Peter Strum said in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/18): "It is not understandable why the Europeans so conspicuously stay out of this conflict. Do the politicians in Berlin, Paris, and London, who claim to understand China, wish a strengthening of China at the expense of Japan? They should keep in mind the possible implications. Whatever Japan's position on its past, not even critics in Asia would seriously claim today that Tokyo is again pursuing an aggressive policy. To claim the same thing from Beijing requires confidence in God--Taiwan is only one example. It is true that China claims again and again that it is striving for a peaceful development to greater prosperity, but nothing is ruled out in the interest of the power of the vast empire. A state which has such an unconstrained relation with violence, should be watched carefully and not be rewarded with arms shipments."
Kirstin Wenk argued in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/18): "It is surprising to see how much effort the Chinese government shows when it comes to a correct writing of history...and all of a sudden, the Chinese government is very much interested in freedom of opinion. Of course, the communist leadership uses students as an instrument to eliminate a rival in East Asia.... It now plays the nationalist card when it is necessary to push the Japanese competitor to the wall. The message to the world is: as long as Tokyo does not stand up to its past, it has no right to a permanent UNSC seat. But it would be too easy to see only Beijing's interests behind the conflict, since the conservative Japanese government approved the controversial textbook to maintain the support of right-wing voters. It creates many problems for [Japanese] citizens rights groups that fight for an honest discussion over the past and try to enter into an open dialogue with China, South Korea, and other victims of Japanese expansion policy. There is no hope for a final reconciliation among the former belligerent parties, as long as the governments of those states do not want this."
ITALY: "Tokyo Makes First Move"
Luca Vinciguerra noted in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (4/19): “The tug of war between China and Japan is becoming increasingly serious.... Given the venomous climate between Tokyo and Beijing, even an imminent summit would not represent a definite solution to the Chinese-Japanese crisis. A one-on-one meeting between Hu and Koizumi would undoubtedly be an important step, but only if the two leaders are animated by a sincere desire to tone down the reciprocal tension that is beginning to concern the entire international community. In order to overcome the stalemate, it would take a clear political will to reconcile relations--something that both sides seem to be lacking at this time.”
RUSSIA: “Koizumi Apologizes For War Crimes”
Sergey Strokan said in business-oriented Kommersant (4/25): “Afraid that a serious aggravation in relations with Beijing and the rest of Asia will make his foreign policy, faltering as it is, look disastrous, Prime Minister Koizumi thought he might just as well retract a few steps. The Jakarta forum was a good opportunity for that. Official Tokyo made conciliatory gestures even before, but the Prime Minister’s statement in Jakarta made a real stir because, for one thing, it came at the Afro-Asian summit and, for another, uttered by Koizumi, the words about ‘Japanese aggression’ sounded particularly meaningful. In Jakarta, the Japanese leader appeared before Asia and the entire world as a sworn pacifist.”
"Japan Is To Blame"
Vasiliy Golovnin stated in reformist Izvestiya (4/18): “The Chinese, acting in a very tough manner, have made it clear that, while respecting Japan as an economic partner, they will never tolerate its claims to a special role in the world, including a permanent seat in the UNSC VIP Club. The method Beijing is using is a kind of shock therapy to cut Japan down to size, as Tokyo is after a place consistent with its status as an economic superpower. China seeks a dominant position in East Asia, disregarding Russia as a rival and having to put up with the United States’ presence for now. Later it may well ask the Americans to get off their high horse, while giving Japan, a local, a flick on the nose from time to time.... But then, Tokyo is really responsible for what is going on, as its nationalistic posture and review of history textbooks cause conflicts with China and South Korea. As for Russia, it can only profit from the current situation-with all that trouble in China, the tedious dispute over the Kurile Islands looks quite archaic.”
"A Conflict Over History Books"
Yevgeniy Shestakov wrote in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (4/18): “Most experts are sure that standing behind the fierce fight over textbooks is a more important, territorial issue. Chinese protests are nothing more than a public rehearsal of what Japan’s neglect of the Chinese dragon’s national self-awareness can lead to.”
AUSTRIA: "Dangerous Power Game"
Senior editor Helmut L. Mueller wrote in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (4/25): "In Asia, a big power game is in full swing. China strives for dominance and does not shrink from a conflict with Japan and Taiwan, although it is to those countries that it owes its economic upswing.... The latest crisis shows that Asia has yet to create effective security and stability mechanisms. In order to preserve the power balance in the Far East, US presence will be indispensable for some time to come. Only America will be able to stop North Korea's nuclear blackmail game, which forces South Korea and Japan to engage in an arms race. Only America can contain China's new power. In this situation, it seems all the more puzzling that EU states are prepared to risk a collision with the US. Especially embarrassing was French Prime Minister Raffarin's kowtow in Beijing last week--he even saw China's war threat against Taiwan as being in accordance with his own country's position on the issue."
Hans Rauscher wrote in independent political weekly Format (4/22): “China is the, or at least one of the, up-and-coming global powers and it is more and more daring in its actions. While it is true that the ongoing conflict with Japan has its roots in the Second World War--Japan is responsible for genocide in China with twelve million dead--what is still more important are current supremacy claims. China is showing its muscle and its position regarding Taiwan poses a real danger of war. While that may be avoided, there is still a potentially dangerous situation in China: Rapid economic growth, social problems, outbreak of nationalism, hunger for influence and supremacy in the region, and, above all, no democracy as a controlling mechanism. A fascinating but explosive mix!”
"Asian Solar Eclipse Threatens Europeans As Well"
Foreign Editor Ernst Heinrich commented in mass-circulation provincial Kleine Zeitung (4/19): "There has been a revival of nationalism in China and Japan of late. Beijing's again casting a longing eye toward the U.S.-protected Taiwanese, and its fuelling of historically rooted hatred against Japan, are not exactly positive signs. This means Europe would be well advised to find the right balance in its dealings with China. Pure economic opportunism, as is practiced primarily by Germany and France, but also by Austria, is a shortsighted strategy. However, pressure on Japan ought to be stepped up as well. After all, the Japanese are reluctant to take a close look at their war past. On the contrary: Thanks to the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they see themselves primarily as victims of the Second World War and have successfully suppressed their role as culprits. However, it is to be hoped that the solar eclipse between Beijing and Tokyo will not last long. Too close are the bilateral economic ties of the two countries. China, for instance, has become Japan's most important trade partner. Should there be a military conflict in East Asia, there will be an economic sunset not just in that region but also in Europe. Any hope for an economic upswing would turn out to be a mere illusion without the booming economy in Asia."
"The Great Gesture Is Missing"
Burkhard Bischof analyzed in centrist Die Presse (4/18): “Just imagine: China’s head of state Hu Jintao or Prime Minister Wen Jiabao together with Japan’s head of government Junichiro Koizumi following in the footsteps of Francois Mitterand and Helmut Kohl.... Hu and Koizumi hand in hand before the monument for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Nanking massacre in 1937--such a grand gesture on the part of the East Asian rivals is missing to this day. Equally, there are no joint commissions of historians who are working together at producing schoolbooks for the young citizens of both countries that are truthful accounts of the past. That Tokyo is still striving to avoid a clear-cut apology for the crime, which the emperor’s army committed in East and South East Asia, and the fact that Beijing does not halt the nationalist furor of the young, aggravates the crisis between the two East Asian giants. Now they must play it cool--or come up with a grand gesture.”
BELGIUM: "Anti-Japan Protests"
Frederic Koller noted in left-of-center Le Soir (4/18): "The main reason for the Chinese protests is the Japanese Education Minister’s approval of a school textbook that minimizes World War II atrocities. This book calls the Nankin massacre ‘an incident,’ and it does not mention China’s invasion or the Japanese Army’s sexual slaves.... At the same time, Chinese are shocked by Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to the Yasukuni temple, where World War II victims are buried, including several war criminals. To summarize, it is as if the German Chancellor each year visited the graves of Goering, Himler, and other Nazi leaders in a sanctuary devoted to the Wehrmacht in the center of Berlin. One can imagine the reaction of the Europeans, to begin with the Germans themselves. Chinese anger would appear perfectly legitimate if Chinese books did not present their own version of history, amplifying Japanese crimes to better conceal China’s own atrocities."
IRELAND: "China Refuses To Apologize"
Clifford Coonan stated in the center-left Irish Times (4/18): "China refused to apologize to Japan's foreign minister yesterday for three successive weekends of violent anti-Japanese protests involving attacks on diplomatic missions and vandalism of Japanese property.... Relations between the two Asian powerhouses have always been tense, despite strong economic ties--the two countries have not met for top-level talks since 1999.... There have been strong rumours that the protests have taken place with the tacit approval of the government. However, their scale seems to have taken it by surprise.... A key issue has been the publication of a new Japanese history textbook which Chinese and other Asian victims of the Japanese army during the second World War say plays down the atrocities committed by the Japanese.... Anti-Japanese sentiment is widespread among people you talk to on the street, largely whipped up by coverage of the textbook's publication in the Chinese media. There has also been outrage at Tokyo's plans to exploit gas resources in disputed seas and its campaign for a seat on the UNSC.”
SPAIN: "China And Japan"
Conservative ABC opined (4/19): "When Beijing demands that Japan explicitly apologizes, it is saying that (Japan) must publicly recognize Chinese supremacy, or Tokyo can forget any aspiration to obtain a permanent place at the UNSC.... It's necessary that political leaders in Europe hurry up in defining which are the priorities in its relationship with this country that is destined to play a fundamental role in the 21st Century. Although geographically we are far from China, it would be a mistake to ignore what is happening there.... The mission that Javier Solana is going to undertake to start coordinating the US and European policies in respect to China is especially appropriate."
BAHRAIN: "Diplomacy At Work"
The English-language pro-government Daily Tribune declared (4/25): "The Asian-African summit in Jakarta last week once again showed the efficacy of an open, honest dialogue in resolving a dispute.... China and Japan were dangerously heading towards a confrontation.... Chinese President Hu Jintao admitted that the problems in Sino-Japanese relations, if not handled properly, not only will be detrimental to China and Japan but will also affect the stability and development of the rest of Asia.... Realising the gravity of the situation, PM Koizumi made an unusual public apology for Japan’s wartime aggression.... Other delegates to the conference, notably UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, seized the opportunity and convinced Koizumi and Hu to meet on the sidelines. The meeting...showed how tactful both leaders were in handling a potentially explosive situation.... Is the storm over? Both Japan and China have realised their mistakes and Hu and Koizumi both vowed not to let animosities flare again. Hu has discouraged anti-Japanese demonstrations even before he left for the summit, while Koizumi promised to deal “appropriately” with the cabinet minister who led a group to the Tokyo shrine while the Asian-African summit was in progress."
QATAR: "History Weighs Heavily On East Asian Relations"
The semi-official English-language Gulf Times held (4/23): "For three successive weekends there have been violent protests in Chinese cities over the adoption in Japan of a schoolbook which demonstrators say attempts to deny crimes committed by the Japanese.... A feeling that many Japanese have refused to come to terms with the nature of their nation’s expansionist past has done enormous harm to Sino-Japanese relations.... The apology issued yesterday by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was a welcome development.... Unfortunately, some of the benefit of that statement will have been lost as a result of Japanese government efforts to play down its significance. It is as if the government itself is divided over the country’s history.... No nation can escape its history. The Japanese occupation of large parts of East Asia two generations ago was undeniably brutal. Yet there should be no need for that to be allowed to sour relations between the Japanese people and their neighbours today. Unfortunately, the apparent refusal of the Japanese to face the reality of their history--perhaps because it would be at odds with the reverence they traditionally feel for their forebears--creates a very negative impression among their neighbours, who suspect there is a lingering admiration for its old imperialism. It would be better for Asia if the Japanese would...own up to the mistakes of 60 or 70 years ago and move forward in a spirit of friendship with their neighbours."
UAE: "Can Asia Learn From Europe?"
The expatriate-oriented English-language Khaleej Times declared (4/17): "This farce involving Japan and China has gone too far. Tempers are running so high on either side of the divide that other smaller nations in the region now fear a full-fledged war may break between the Asian giants. Protests in China against Japan's controversial past have entered second week with thousands of demonstrators continuing to march to nationalist tune across the country. Of course, people have a right to register their protest anywhere and anytime they want even in Maoist China. What is not acceptable though is the reckless nature of these protests. Earlier last week, Chinese protesters ransacked the Japanese embassy and the ambassador's residence in Beijing. Yesterday, the demonstrators went on the rampage in the upmarket Shanghai attacking the Japanese consulate and companies. On both occasions, Chinese authorities chose to remain silent, if not openly abetting the rioters. Apparently, there's more to these organised protests than meets the eye. In the name of protesting Japan's wartime atrocities, China is flexing its economic and political muscles to settle old disputes with the neighbour. The country has already overtaken Japan as the world's third-largest exporter. Whatever China's grudge against Japan, it is time to move on. Asia can't remain stuck in a time warp forever. It should draw its lessons from Europe that saw the two bloodiest wars in mankind's history. In the two wars, in which Germany was pitted against rest of Europe and the world, millions of people on both sides were killed. Yet, Germany is friends with all its former enemies and victims. Europe chose to break away with the past and move on in the interest of its present. Can Asia follow suit?"
CANADA: "Japan's Apologies, China's Response"
The leading Globe and Mail contended (4/23): "So much for the charge, made by Chinese nationalists, that Japan has never apologized for its wartime behaviour. Mr. Koizumi is the latest in a long line of Japanese leaders to express regret.... Why, then, does China continue to demand further apologies from Japan over horrors long in the past? Principally, because China's leaders are trying to manipulate Chinese resentment at Japan to their advantage. They oppose Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC and have fomented the recent anti-Japanese protests in a crude and transparent attempt to transmit the message that Japan is not fit for such a post. In the process, they have damaged their own standing. Rather than persuade the world that Japan is an irresponsible nation, they have managed to focus attention on the potential danger posed by a rising and resentful China--a far greater threat to the world than the phantom danger of revived Japanese militarism. But Japan is to blame as well. Despite its many apologies and regrets, it often does things that cast doubt on its sincerity. Its compensation to the 'comfort women'...has been grudging and insufficient. Many of its textbooks gloss over wartime atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking, the Chinese city sacked by Japanese troops in 1937.... To be fair to Japan, some of these actions are blown out of proportion.... China is mainly to blame for the Sino-Japanese crisis, but Japan could help defuse it by showing that it really understands the bitter hurt that lingers over its crimes of war."
"China, Japan Face Off"
The liberal Toronto Star opined (4/22): "China is unhappy with Japan's current campaign to win a permanent seat on the UNSC and suspicious of Tokyo's recently more activist foreign policy, such as its deployment of troops to Iraq. Some of Tokyo's new assertiveness has been directed against Beijing. In January, Japan permitted two domestic oil companies to start test drilling for gas in a section of the East China Sea claimed by China. And in February, Japan joined with the U.S. in declaring that a peaceful settlement of the China-Taiwan dispute was a 'common strategic objective,' implying Japan could join the Americans in defending the island.... Japan, which is modernizing its armed forces, also has agreed to join in the U.S. missile defence system. All of this disturbs Beijing. Thus, it is using protests over a history text to send a thinly veiled message to Japan that it will not condone the emergence of a powerful regional rival, especially one closely aligned with Washington. As well, there is a domestic dimension to this conflict. The Communist party has embraced nationalism as its favoured means of ideological control.... UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged Hu and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to meet this weekend...during the Asia-Africa summit. They should.... And if they want to talk about history, perhaps Koizumi could remind Hu of the words of Chairman Mao, who routinely waved off apologies from Japanese delegations by saying that if it wasn't for Japan's aggression against China, the Chinese Communist party would never have come to power."
"China's Rash Tactics"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (4/19): "The escalating dispute between China and Japan has spilled over into the Japanese stock market.... The feud could end up hurting delicate negotiations with North Korea on dismantling its nuclear program, in which both countries are playing a diplomatic role; and it could spread to the floor of the UN, where China has vowed to block Japan's efforts to gain a permanent seat on an expanded UNSC. Relations between China and Japan have never been particularly cordial. But they have reached a 30-year low with the current spate of demonstrations and Beijing's refusal to rein them in or to apologize for the damage to Japanese property.... The trigger was Chinese anger over Japan's continuing whitewashing of its wartime record.... But China has other political and economic grievances that should be settled through such peaceful means as negotiation and arbitration. If the two governments had a better working relationship, they could even resolve outstanding issues by compromise. Among their differences are the control of oil exploration in the East China Sea, Japan's efforts to strengthen its strategic ties to the U.S., including a joint statement on the security of Taiwan, and Japan's push for a permanent seat on an expanded UNSC. China won't resolve any of these concerns by tacitly permitting scare tactics and violence against Japanese diplomats and business people. It's time for cooler heads to prevail."
ARGENTINA: "The Coming China"
Claudio Uriarte opined in left-of-center Pagina 12 (4/17): "For ten days, thousands of Chinese, who were instigated by the Beijing government, went on to the streets of the main cities, attacked the Japanese embassy and consulates, burnt restaurants.... The reason is the release of a Japanese textbook minimizing wartime atrocities committed by the Japanese empire...and its bid for a permanent seat at the UNSC.... China's economic and demographic weight is starting to promote a serious confrontation with Japan's extra-regional ally, the U.S.... But, the US, or at least a sector of its Defense Department, clearly sees a military role for Japan in future. If the current Japanese Defense Forces become an army...tensions with China will prevail, with the issue of Taiwan never too far from Beijing's military plans.... These tensions are becoming a danger with the release of a Japanese official document terming China as a 'serious problem for its 'security and sovereignty rights,' given that Chinese corporations started to drill the bottom of the sea east to China in search for gas and oil in a disputed area between Tokyo and Beijing, and after a Chinese nuclear submarine entered Japanese territorial waters last November.... Amid the worst confrontation between the two Asian giants in 33 yeas of diplomatic relations, this was doomed to reinforcing tension.... Chinese demonstrations...along with Internet calls to boycott Japanese products, pose a threat to China's tourist industry...and Japanese exporters and investors.... It is uncertain to what point Chinese instigators of those demonstrations are aware of the cooling and danger posed by the outcome of their actions."
BRAZIL: "The Chinese-Japanese Crisis"
Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized (4/24): "Encouraged or controlled by the government, anti-Japanese demonstrations have served China's strategic purposes to take away respectively from Japan and the U.S. the economic hegemony and the U.S. political influence in Asia.... More than the past, what worries Beijing is the future. The Chinese government fears that the anti-militarist clauses imposed by the U.S. on Tokyo are removed thereby causing an arms race that would be expensive for China. Moreover, there is the Japanese involvement with Taiwan's problem.... Japan included Taiwan among the topics encompassed by the Japan-U.S. defense treaty.... Predictably, China is trying to hamper Japan's aspiration of a permanent seat at the UNSC.... China is Japan's greatest trade partner, and Japan, China's third. Trade is known as the other name of peace. Will it be capable to prevent a China-Japan cold war?"
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