• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 9:33am

Beijing opts for diplomacy in row over Shinzo Abe's visit to war shrine

Foreign minister calls counterparts in Russia, Germany and Vietnam to protest against Japanese leader's 'alarming' visit to war shrine

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 January, 2014, 2:34am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 January, 2014, 9:15am

China is trying a new tack to counter Japanese nationalism while avoiding damage to its own economy.

Rather than allow mass demonstrations and attacks on businesses selling Japanese goods, Beijing has sought diplomatic support for its condemnation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit last week to a controversial war shrine.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has telephoned his Russian, German and Vietnamese counterparts to relay China's alarm at Abe's visit to the Yasukuni shrine, which honours Japanese killed in military conflicts, including 14 "class A" war criminals from the second world war.

Lin Xiaoguang , an international relations specialist at the Central Party School, said: "The power of right-wing politicians in Japan is on the rise and Beijing realises that it is difficult to contain Abe by soliciting support from Japanese politicians who are friendly to China.

"So China is turning to overseas countries and stressing that Japan is trying to change the world order."

Yang Bojiang , the director of Japanese studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said: "Large protests and economic actions will affect China's interests and China does not want to pay the price for Abe's behaviour."

The best course was for China to express its anger through diplomatic means and to exercise restraint, Yang said.

Demonstrations swept mainland cities when the Japanese government announced last year it had bought from their private owner three of the disputed Diaoyu Islands - which Japan calls the Senkakus.

In his conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Wang said that China and Russia, as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, should "uphold international justice and the post- second-world-war international order". Wang said that Abe's visit to the shrine was "alarming". He also discussed "problems with Japan" in his phone conversations with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh, according to the foreign ministry in Beijing.

Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that while he would not comment on Japanese domestic politics, Germany had tried to deal honestly with its second world war past.

"This is a conviction Germany takes to heart and which in my opinion applies to all states," Agence France-Presse quoted him as saying.

Professor Jia Xiudong , a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said countries like Vietnam would be cautious about taking action against Japan, which pours aid and investment into Southeast Asia.

Wang's phone calls came after the foreign ministry said on Monday that Abe would not be welcomed by the Chinese people because of his visit to the shrine - a remark which indicates high-level talks between the two nations are very unlikely for the rest of Abe's term.

His Liberal Democratic Party will pick its next president in an election next year.

Video: Japan PM Abe visits Yasukuni war shrine



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You can't seem to make up your mind whether it's China's revenge or aggression. As for the latter, has China projected power beyond her borders and occupied other countries' territories?
Let's talk about revenge. There is no better example than your Iron Lady, who waged a full scale war 8000 miles away from home just to vindicate the honor of a defunct Empire. Are you falling for the story that she did it just to free a handful of British sheep-herders in Falklands?
What has PRC been doing to avenge the tens of millions Chinese murdered by the Japanese? Not a whole lot. Then why are you so angry?
I got it. It's not about China. It's your racism, your psyche and neurosis as you expressed through transference and projection by a slip of tongue.
We pity you. We know that if you don't find an outlet for your hatred for China and the Chinese, you will beat up your wife and kids at home. Time for you to visit a shrink.
Chinese diplomacy is totally self interested and devious.
Japan's new nationalisim and military build up is a REACTION to China's arrogance and aggression, not a self-driven action. Japan today is not the aggressor. It was the aggressor in the 1930's and 40's, but things have changed. The rest of the world lives in the present while the Chinese continue to want revenge after 70 or 80 years. Something of the neurotic appears to be in the Chinese psyche.
China is increasingly becoming more aggressive and assertive, but it will all come to grief if it continues on this racist, nationalist path. The rest of the developed world will turn against it and disinvest, leaving China as it was before 1989.
The Chinese will learn that the cannot trade on the sins of Japan's past to gain present advantages. It is a very thin argument. Nor can they keep on thinking they are entitled to have everything their own way. It will not last.
It is sad that most readers do not understand the geopolitical situation and ironically put the blame to China. We need to understand history and be fair and balance different views. The problem started with the right wing politicians in Japan who use China as enemy to shift the focus of what Japan needs to do for economy. It is the same mindset behind Japanese starting the wars with China and Japan will repeat the same mistake again this time as there is no huge ideological conflict between China and Russia or Vietnam with the Western world. What foreign minister Wang Yi is doing to use international diplomacy is right as it can't be solved within Japanese politic. It is clear that 2014 will proves to be a very difficult year and maybe the worst ever for China and Japan relationship. Let's pray as normal citizens that the conflicts will not lead to wars to kill lives and benefit politicians.
I quote: "Lin Xiaoguang, an international relations specialist at the Central Party School, said: [...] "So China is turning to overseas countries and stressing that Japan is trying to change the world order."
However it is China, not Japan, that is trying to change the post-war international order. Japan seems to be just reacting to the new Chinese attitude. Visiting the Yasukuni Shrine may be unacceptable, but is a show largely for internal consumption and doesn't change the international order. Claiming new territorial borders (e.g. all the South China Sea, almost including the Philippines' beaches) that conflict with other countries' does. Japan is not the only country in Asia that has reacted to the so called "peaceful ascent" of China. E.g. Vietname, the Philippines and India have also shown their concern, and China has done nothing to allay their fears.
That an ingrate with your level of intelligence
has been and still enjoy living in a Chinese community all these years
is an irrefutable proof of the magnanimous character of the Chinese
You can’t fare half as well and last more than two years in Japan
where they will treat you like the real you
some bigot full of rubbish
that you misunderstand as learnt opinions
some fool kindly Chinese gracefully tolerate and choose to ignore
knowing that there are smart, normal and foolish people
live and let live as long as they don't intend to
or are not really harming other people
like the vicious Abe fool
Why should Vietnam would be cautious about taking action against Japan for china? Vietnam highly regards Japan as a friend and an ally and overwhelming majority of Vietnamese people considered chinese as a threat. Big majority of Vietnamese consider America as a partner and a friend, they began to understand the real reason behind American involved in Vietnam War was chinese containment.


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