By Siukei Cheung
During a recent visit to Washington, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe vowed that he would not tolerate any challenge to Japanese control over the contested Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
Abe observed that in its recent entry into the market economy, “China has dropped one of its pillars of legitimacy (as a Communist state), which was equal results for all.” According to Abe, China has since been reliant on two very different pillars to maintain stability, patriotism and high economic growth.
Public support of China’s economic interests has been compounded by an educational system that “attaches importance on patriotism- which is in effect focussing on anti-Japanese sentiment.” Abe criticised the Communist leadership for intentionally failing to recognise how “deeply ingrained” these anti-Japanese sentiments have been etched into the population.
Abe appealed for continued economic cooperation between China and Japan. He noted that “without economic growth, they will not be able to control the 1.3 billion people in China under the one-party rule by the Communist Party.”
The Japanese prime minister was bullish that the “Senkaku islands, which is under the valid control of Japan,” would remain so. In the same turn, he warned that aggressive behaviour on its part will result in China “losing the confidence of the international community which will result in less investments in China.”
At a press conference following Abe’s statements, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei demanded the prime minister “immediately make a clarification and explanation.”
In a meeting with President Obama, Abe said that the existence of the Japan-US alliance was a stabilising factor in the Daioyu/Senkaku islands row. Washington has previously said that a clash over the islets would indeed fall under the US-Japan security pact.
The Global Times remarked that Abe’s meeting with President Obama had “ulterior motives”, part of a larger plan of strengthening the Japan-US alliance in order to gain US “backing to Japan on the Diaoyu [Senkaku] Islands issue to suppress China.”
Commentators in China Daily and Liberation Daily claim that the Mr Abe’s talks in Washington next Friday may stall due to conflicting policy agendas. Global Times holds reservations over any significant outcome during these talks, labelling Japan as “just a pawn of US global strategy.”