China blames US for dispute with Japan
Though the Chinese fishing boat captain detained by Japan after ramming two coast guard boats returned home over the weekend, tensions remain high between Beijing and Tokyo. The underlying dispute over the islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan continues. Both countries claim ownership from ancient times, but Japan has made the stronger enforcement effort. China claims it will step up its patrols around the islands, so future clashes are likely. The islands are 240 nautical miles southwest of Okinawa. At stake is control of the surrounding East China Sea, its oil and mineral resources and trade routes.
The day after the Chinese captain was released, the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times editorialized that "Coolness Towards Japan Should Remain." It stated
Japan needs to be given a clear message that irresponsible policies have consequences. The Japanese public also needs to be clear that China should not be trifled with. China's 1.3 billion people have no intention of overwhelming the Japanese public in sentiment, but 100 million Japanese certainly should not try to overwhelm the Chinese people.
A Global Times "editor's choice" commentary by two Chinese scholars September 27 blamed the United States for the crisis because Washington gave a weak Tokyo the courage to confront Beijing. Liu Jiangyong, deputy director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, wrote,
The incident cannot be seen as an isolated dispute between Japan and China. The American shadow is obvious. It is the US military support that drives the hard-line stand of Japan against China.
Even though the US transferred control [of the islands] to Japan [after World War II] , that doesn't mean the islands are the Japanese territory. So there is no legal foundation to support the [US-Japan Security] treaty's application to the Diaoyu Islands. It is the US that has made the Diaoyu disputes more complicated and caused it to become an obstacle to a healthy Sino-Japanese relationship
Ni Lexiong, a professor at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, went further in his argument,
The background to the incident is that the US has been provoking China and taking advantage of conflicts between China and its neighbors to contain China recently.
The Diaoyu Islands incident could be seen as a direct result of the recent series of Sino-US confrontations, from US-South Korea joint military drills to the US challenging China's core interests in South China Sea. Facing these provocations, China has to respond in defence, which inspires surrounding countries such as Vietnam, India and Japan to challenge China
Logically Japan should intensify political and military cooperation with China; unfortunately, it turns to the US politically and militarily.
Direct talks between President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jaibao at the United Nations last week fell flat. China seems confident that it can bully both the U.S. and Japan. Washington needs to demonstrate to Beijing very quickly that the balance of power has not shifted away from the democratic alliance in Asia if future confrontations are to be deterred.