Ja­pan’s shame­less about-face

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

What Ja­pan’s de­fense white paper, which was re­leased on Tues­day, says about China is an about-face to what Ja­panese For­eign Min­is­ter Taro Kono said to his Chi­nese coun­ter­part Wang Yi on Mon­day. Kono said Ja­pan at­taches im­por­tance to China, and the two coun­tries can make im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to re­vi­tal­iz­ing Asia and pro­mot­ing world peace by work­ing hand-in-hand. Ja­pan’s de­fense white paper, on the other hand, por­trayed a threat­en­ing China seek­ing to ex­pand its mil­i­tary in­flu­ence and ter­ri­to­rial claims.

It is true Ja­pan at­taches im­por­tance to China, but in a ma­li­cious man­ner.

While China and the mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions made head­way by con­clud­ing the frame­work for a Code of Con­duct in the South China Sea, Ja­pan along with the United States and Aus­tralia jointly re­leased a state­ment point­ing an ac­cus­ing fin­ger at China for the ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes in the South China Sea.

Al­though it, as an out­sider, has noth­ing to do with the South China Sea dis­putes, Ja­pan spares no ef­forts in try­ing to stir up trou­ble and hin­der China and the other ter­ri­to­rial claimants in the wa­ters from re­solv­ing their dis­putes through di­a­logues.

By seiz­ing ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to paint China as a “mil­i­tary threat’’ in the re­gion, es­pe­cially to Ja­pan, the Abe ad­min­is­tra­tion hopes to be able to push though changes to the coun­try’s paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion and play a big­ger role as an ac­com­plice of the US in the lat­ter’s ef­forts to un­der­mine China’s in­flu­ence in the re­gion, in order to serve Tokyo’s am­bi­tions for re­gional lead­er­ship.

Ja­pan’s up­end­ing of China’s pol­icy of seek­ing di­a­logue to re­solve the dis­putes flies in the face of the progress China has made with the ASEAN mem­ber states on the is­sue of the South China Sea, the im­prove­ment of re­la­tions with the Philip­pines be­ing a case in point.

Ja­pan should stop be­ing dou­ble-faced, which will do it no good and only be­tray the fact that it is the real trou­ble­maker in the re­gion and thus the real threat to re­gional and world peace.

As For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said to Kono on Mon­day, China hopes Ja­pan matches its words with ac­tions and trans­lates its pos­i­tive stance about im­prov­ing ties with China into tan­gi­ble poli­cies and ac­tions.

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