Taking moral high ground a better way to solve Diaoyu islands dispute

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 December, 2013, 5:38am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 December, 2013, 5:38am

I refer to the report "US slams China's 'escalation' over Diaoyus", November 25.

China has declared the airspace over Diaoyu Islands to be within its "East China sea air defence identification zone". It said China will take "defensive emergency measures" against aircraft that fail to identify themselves properly or follow its radio instructions.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has reminded China that the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, are covered by the 1952 US-Japan security treaty, under which the US is committed to fighting alongside Japan to repel any "common danger".

China has achieved incredible economic progress within the short span of the last 30 years.

It has moved from a backward and poor country to being the second-largest economy in the world.

It has built up and is still building an infrastructure which is the envy of the world.

Its people for the first time in 5,000 years of Chinese history are now able to enjoy a decent living.

China is now taking a great risk, thinking that this tactic will force Japan to the negotiating table on the issue of sovereignty over the islands, which Japan so far has refused to discuss.

Beijing is confident that, should there be a war with Japan over the islands - confined to the armed forces of just these two nations - it will win, which is true.

But any miscalculations or misunderstandings will drag the United States into the conflict. Then it will not be a localised war.

Chinese people will suffer greatly should there be such a war. Do Chinese leaders want to see what China has achieved in the last 30 years be destroyed in that conflict?

Instead of using strong-arm tactics, is it not better that the central government takes the moral high ground by settling the South China Sea territorial dispute with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei first?

Then world opinion will force Japan to negotiate with China over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute.

A mutually agreed "win-win" settlement is the only way to solve the island dispute between China and Japan.

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui