In Speech Organized by Beijing, Ex-Diplomat Calls Islands Dispute With Japan a ‘Time Bomb’ –

A perspective on the depth of conflict inherent to the China/Japan islands dispute, as well as the need for a ‘mechanism’ to resolve the issue peacefully.  This could become a dangerous flashpoint resulting in unnecessary escalations:

The United States created a “time bomb” between China and Japan by returning disputed islands to Japan instead of China in 1972, and there is now a danger of an explosion over the issue, a former senior longtime Chinese diplomat warned in a speech here on Tuesday.

The diplomat, Chen Jian, a former under secretary general of the United Nations and former Chinese ambassador to Japan, said the United States should restrain Japan and should help bring about negotiations between China and Japan over the islands, known as the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan.

via In Speech Organized by Beijing, Ex-Diplomat Calls Islands Dispute With Japan a ‘Time Bomb’ –


6 thoughts on “In Speech Organized by Beijing, Ex-Diplomat Calls Islands Dispute With Japan a ‘Time Bomb’ –”

  1. While it is true that the United States will must and will come to the aid of Japan if it is attacked due to its treaty obligations since the end of WWII, the United States; however, should continue to refrain from choosing sides in the territorial island dispute between China and Japan. On the other hand, perhaps the U.S. could play an important role in mediating between the two parties since it was the U.S.’s involvement in the first place that helped lead to this eventual territorial dispute. The U.S. could certainly encourage Japan to be more open and flexible in their negotiations with China over the disputed islands. However, China must also be flexible and willing to compromise and try to see Japan’s reasoning for their claims on the islands from their point of view.

  2. This also correlates with another very fragile topic: the Spratly Islands in Southeastern Asia. China is in pursuit to place itself as a hegemonic powerhouse in Asia and in the worldwide market. It seeks control of its seas and peripheral neighbors as well. Through a system of elaborate “enmeshment” and balancing strategies aimed at managing this power struggle and preserving harmony, many Asian states hope to control a bullishly growing China. The future remains uncertain to many; however, I feel that no rash preemptive action will be taken by China that would disrupt further economic growth and regional stability. These almost trivial disputes over small islands in the Pacific and South China Sea will remain an issue to bicker over, but no military action will be taken by any power.

    Please use this citation for further reading:
    Evelyn Goh, “Great Powers and Hierarchical Order in Southeast Asia.” International Security Vol. 32, No. 3 (Winter 2007/08), pp. 113-157

  3. I completely agree with Kyle in the sense that the United States should NOT get involved in this dispute. While the US may have been part of the original cause of this problem, China and Japan need to learn how to fix their own problems without a mediator. China already made it very clear when Hillary Clinton visited that they did not want her there whatsoever so further involvement from the US would only make matters worse.

  4. This article takes what the Chinese government says entirely too seriously. A government that denies the freedom of Tibet, the independence of Taiwan, and the occurrence of what happened at Tiananman Square has lost all power of influence when it comes to telling other countries what they should or should not do.

    The notion that “The United States should restrain Japan” is absurd. The United States has always sided with Japan and will continue to do so in this conflict, as its economic and political interests dictate.

  5. I agree that the U.S. needs to stay out of the picture as much as possible. Also the notion that “China has lost all power of influence when it comes to telling other countries what to do” because of its human rights issues forgets the economic, militaristic, and political power that China possesses, all of which are critically important to telling others what to do. China is a leader in the region and the world because of its massive population, its growing economic strength, and the political influence it has in the region. Basing power of influence on a human rights record vastly underestimates power. Why are we so worried about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon if its power, or lack of it, comes from its terrible human rights record?

  6. This island dispute seems to be a distraction from the more pressing affairs within the boarders of China. Internal turmoil of China is mainly the product of evermore western economic policies clashing with the communist overtones of the current governmental system. China is currently in the process of transition of power for the first time in 10 years. With a myriad of news articles unveiling the past deeds of misguided leaders showering relatives with inordinate amounts of money and alleged charges of murder, the Chinese people are restless. The issue that China faces is not one of a “time bomb” between Japan or the US for that matter, but rather an issue of civil unrest within its own boarders – embodied in their current conflict over islands and accentuated by their rising feelings of nationalism.

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