Tag Archives: Senkaku Islands

Japan Responds to China — Manthorpe

Japan

Shinzo Abe. Japan government photo

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week launched a challenge of China’s increasing assertiveness in Asia, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. It’s a significant departure  for Abe, who became Prime Minister for the second time in 2012 with a mandate to reform Japan’s moribund economy and reassert the country’s international status. An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column: 

Japan this week launched a three-pronged response to China’s growing military and diplomatic shadow over Asia.

In Singapore today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged his country’s “utmost support” for the countries of Southeast Asia that are locked in increasingly tense confrontations with China over Beijing’s claims to ownership of most of the South China Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking this week at a meeting of Japan’s House of Councillors Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. Government of Japan photo.

On Thursday, Tokyo announced a breakthrough in talks with the North Korean government that could give the Japanese government a significant renewal of its political influence in the Far East, a status that has waned in recent years.

And on Tuesday, a parliamentary panel of members of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and their New Komeito party allies put forward suggestions for revisions of Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution … read more*

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Analysis: China’s belligerence, Southeast Asia’s arms race, and 1914

International affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe examines the echoes of the first World War in the arms race underway in Southeast Asia.  Excerpt:

Manthorpe B&WAs China has become wealthy it has also become an expansionist power. Beijing portrays its territorial ambitions as merely the re-assertion of its sovereignty over lands that were stolen from it during the “century of humiliation” after its disastrous collision with the industrial powers starting in the 1840s.

For the most part these claims are bunk. Beijing’s loud and often belligerent claims to ownership of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the island nation of Taiwan, and most of the South China Sea as far as the territorial waters of Indonesia are modern fabrications of little or no merit.

At the same time, Chinese officials have studied the history of the European empires of the 18th and 19th centuries and concluded that their survival and expansion depended on the control of far-flung resources. Because of its communist and authoritarian heritage and instincts, Beijing continues to shy away from the message of the American imperium and to trust the market place to provide what is necessary to fuel its economy.

To these ends to control of territory and resources, China has in the last 20 years been pursuing the ability to project power to defend its interests. The key ingredient of this effort has been the construction of a massive and modern blue water navy, whose evident purpose is to challenge the supremacy of the U.S. navy.

It is this that carries echoes of the years leading up to 1914 and the start of the First World War.

Log in to read the column, 1914 and the China Syndrome.* (F&O premium works, including our commentary, are available for a $1 site day pass, or with monthly or annual subscriptions. Real journalism has value, and to avoid the conflicts inherent in advertising or soliciting outside funding F&O relies entirely on reader payments to sustain our professional quality.)

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Analysis: Japan’s military and Asian storm clouds

International affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe examines the symbolism of Japanese and Indian military exercises, and their relevance to China. Excerpt:

The Japanese and Indian navies are in the second of four days of joint exercises in the Bay of Bengal, an event which neatly demonstrates the gathering storm of military preparations rumbling over Asia.

Log in to read the column, Japan moves to unshackle its military as storm clouds gather over Asia.*

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Manthorpe on how China changed the security status quo

Even though China’s unilateral declaration of control over airspace off its eastern shores has spurred an unusually united push-back by the United States and its Asian allies, Beijing will be well pleased with the result of its imperial expansion, writes Jonathan Manthorpe in his new international affairs column.

With one small move that is unlikely to generate a sustained counter-attack from Washington and regional allies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Beijing has changed in its favour the security status quo in the East China Sea.  read Manthorpe’s column here.*

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Manthorpe: Echoes of pre-WWI in Chinese claims of airspace

As China ramps up its bellicose stance toward Japan and the United States with the imposition of an air defence zone over disputed territory, the imminent arrival of 2014 is mimicking the months before 1914, warns international affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe. An excerpt:

In the early years of the 20th century, Germany saw that Britain had had to deploy the full weight of its empire to defeat the Afrikaners in the two Boer wars.

Berlin judged the days of Britain’s super power status were approaching their end. It launched an arms race and a flurry of provocations against Britain and its allies, which cascaded out of control into the First World War.

Beijing has made a similar judgement about the impending decline of the United States … read Manthorpe’s column here.*

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Manthorpe on Pacific militarization by Japan and China

Increasingly dangerous chest-thumping by Japan and China has its origins in Beijing, which fears American-led efforts to contain China, argues international affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe. Excerpt: 

Miyako Island, usually known as Japan’s best beach and snorkelling holiday destination, is now  on the front line of the increasingly militarised confrontation with China as Tokyo orders the deployment of anti-ship missiles to the island.

The deployment comes after weeks of aggressive naval and air force exercises by China, incursions by Chinese Coast Guard vessels into Japanese territorial waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands, and bellicose statements from both Beijing and Tokyo.

Late last month Japan threatened to shoot down any unmanned drone aircraft China flies through air space over the Senkakus Islands, which China calls the Diaoyu.

In response, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Defence said attacks on any of its surveillance drones would be “a severe provocation” amounting to “an act of war.”

Last week China accused Japan of interfering with exercises by the People’s Liberation Army Navy in the Western Pacific by tailing its fleet with warships and aircraft … read more (paywall).

Manthorpe’s column,  Japan deploys anti-ship missiles to China’s Pacific gateway, is available to subscribers or with a $1 day pass to Facts and Opinions.

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