DE­FENSE ON OF­FENSE

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

To many in Asia, China has be­come iso­lated be­cause of its ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with its neigh­bors. So Bei­jing has adopted a strat­egy to up­end that iso­la­tion — by at­tack­ing Ja­pan for its past im­pe­rial ag­gres­sion, which few see any con­nec­tion with Ja­panese so­ci­ety to­day.

The strat­egy was on dis­play last week when Bei­jing launched a pro­pa­ganda cam­paign against Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe for a re­mark he made about the Chi­nese and Ja­panese de­fense bud­gets.

Asked to com­pare the coun­tries’ de­fense bud­gets at a Sept. 25 meet­ing in New York, Mr. Abe noted that China has in­creased its mil­i­tary spend­ing by dou­ble dig­its for more than two decades, and he crit­i­cized China’s de­fense spend­ing for lack­ing trans­parency. He re­marked that Ja­pan had in­creased its de­fense bud­get for the first time in 11 years and by only 0.8 per­cent.

“So call me, if you want, a right-wing mil­i­tarist,” Mr. Abe said, a re­mark meant to be hu­mor­ous.

His at­tempt at hu­mor sparked an ex­plo­sion of tem­per in Bei­jing.

“It is un­be­liev­able that such sense­less and de­gen­er­at­ing words, which de­fied hu­man jus­tice and showed con­tempt for the uni­ver­sally ac­cepted moral prin­ci­ples, were made by the leader of a civ­i­lized na­tion,” the state-run Xin­hua News Agency said.

“Com­pared to Ger­many, Ja­pan has failed to sub­stan­tially re­flect on its ag­gres­sion his­tory and thus has lit­tle ex­pres­sion of re­morse,” Xin­hua said. “Nei­ther has it bid farewell to mil­i­tarism through school ed­u­ca­tion, leg­is­la­tion and war in­dem­nity, as Ger­many has pur­sued.”

“The leader of Ja­pan must pay se­ri­ous at­ten­tion to the right­eous ap­peals and in­ter­na­tional con­cerns,” said Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei.

Eight his­tory text­books cov­er­ing Ja­pan’s World War II ag­gres­sion are avail­able for Ja­panese schools; only one re­flects re­vi­sion­ist right-wing views de­fend­ing Ja­pan’s war­time ac­tions.

Less than 1 per­cent of Ja­panese schools use the re­vi­sion­ist text­book, which has caused re­sent­ment in coun­tries rav­aged by the em­pire’s war­time atroc­i­ties.

Miles Yu’s col­umn ap­pears Fri­days. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com and @yu_miles.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bei­jing has launched a pro­pa­ganda cam­paign against Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe for a re­mark he made about the Chi­nese and Ja­panese de­fense bud­gets.

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