American hegemony cannot bring security to Asia


American defense secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a speech at the Shangri-La Defense Dialogue in Singapore on May 31st. In response to this irresponsible speech, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Wang Guanzhong pointed out that Hagel’s speech was filled with terms that will incite unrest in Asia.  Images for American hegemony cannot bring security …

American defense secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a speech at the Shangri-La Defense Dialogue in Singapore on May 31st. In addition to defending America’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, he also declared that the Diaoyu islands fall under the mutual defense treaty with Japan and voiced support for Japan’s right to collective self-defense. Moreover, he placed emphasis on his criticism of China and made use of many threatening words.

In response to this irresponsible speech, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Wang Guanzhong pointed out that Hagel’s speech was filled with terms that will incite unrest in Asia. China had not foreseen that Hagel would deliver such an offensive speech. His accusations against China were unreasonable.

In order to maintain its hegemony and enjoy an economic dividend from the rapid development of Asia, America has devised a series of new Asia-Pacific strategies such as “Back to Asia”, “Pivot to Asia” and “U.S. Asia-Pacific Re-balance Strategy” to expand its military presence in Asia. America’s so called “U.S. Asia-Pacific Re-balance Strategy” has increasingly aroused concern and anger among many of the countries affected on the one hand, and become the butt of criticism of influential strategists at home. We find ourselves in total disagreement with Hagel’s groundless accusations – he would do well to subject himself to similar critical analysis.

As is widely accepted, the Diaoyu Islands, Xisha, Zhongsha and the Nansha islands have formed an integral part of China’s territory since ancient times – there is no shortage of historical and legal evidence to support China’s claims. China has nevertheless shown great restraint and patience in its calls for regional peace and stability, even when confronted with unreasonable demands and provocation on the part of other countries. China has exercised military restraint over the issues concerning the Diaoyu Islands, Huangyan Island and even the Xisha islands. Meanwhile, Japan’s ‘Self-Defense Force’ jets have incessantly intruded into the East China Sea, far from the Diaoyu Islands to harass and threaten unarmed Chinese patrol aircraft.

Ships of the Philippine navy have harassed and threatened defenseless Chinese fishermen. Armed Vietnamese vessels have deliberately collided with Chinese government ships and fishing boats. China has never yet drilled a single oil well in the South China Sea, while countries such as Vietnam and Philippines have long been producing oil and gas in the area. We are curious about Hagel’s motives in directing his accusations against China, while ignoring the efforts and sacrifices made by China in the interests of regional peace and stability.

Hagel’s criticism of China as a ‘rule-breaker’ is a typical example of the hypocrisy of American politicians. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has met with approval from more than 150 countries since it was passed some thirty years ago. In pursuit of its own interests America, the self-styled “world policeman” and “supreme power” did not join the convention. With its own history of double standards, America has no business agitating for international laws and rules and attacking other countries for not abiding by these international rules.

China is no longer the downtrodden victim that it may have been one hundred years ago. China has no intention of stirring up trouble, but it will not sacrifice core national interests. Even in the face of provocation from Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, China remains tolerant and insists on peaceful settlement of disputes through bilateral negotiations. However, China is still forced to take counter-measures. We hope the nations involved do not interpret our tolerance as a sign of weakness. We hope they will turn back to the path of solving disputes through negotiation. Moreover, we also wish that America would abide by its promise of not taking sides in sovereignty disputes in Asia. In this way regional peace and stability and the long-term interests of nations in the region can be secured.

The countries mentioned above would be considerably less presumptuous without the support of America. In this sense, America is the chief instigator of unrest in Asia. America’s insistence on its policy of hegemony offers nothing to Asian security and serves only to fuel disorder.<

Source: (People’s Daily Online)    10:11, June 06, 2014
The article is edited and translated from《美国霸权带不来亚洲安全》, source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition, author: Zhang Junshe, a researcher with the Navy Military Academic Research Institute.

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Shangri-La Dialogue_US domin

The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), held annually in Singapore, is a security forum where Western, especially US discourse power has the upper hand. It’s not, as the West claimed, timed to deal with security anxieties ratcheted up in the Asia-Pacific region, but a platform to sell US security doctrines that are positively portrayed as “contributing to regional stability.”

Throughout these years, three terms have been used over and over to describe China’s defense policy at the dialogue, among which “uncertain” is the lightest one. In recent times, China has been increasingly accused of being “aggressive” or “bullying” others. The SLD, which is actually led by the US, offers a platform to communicate with Beijing while pressuring it.

Another purpose of the SLD is to coordinate relations among US allies. At the SLD over last weekend, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel rallied defense ministers from Japan and South Korea to hold a trilateral meeting despite strained relationship between Seoul and Tokyo.

Tempers frayed unprecedentedly at this year’s SLD, as Japan and the US ganged up to antagonize China. The keynote address delivered by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a barrage against China and its recent behavior in the East China Sea and South China Sea disputes.

Abe emphasized the importance of international law to resolve or at least manage disputes. He also pledged Japan would play an “even greater and more proactive role” with stronger defense ties to Southeast Asia, including an offer to provide patrol boats to the Philippines and Vietnam.

In a subsequent address next morning, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel endorsed Abe’s speech and unleashed a rhetorical fusillade on China.

The rhetoric from Tokyo and Washington only reinforced both countries’ anxieties over China’s growing might.

It’s not difficult to pick out logical loopholes from Abe’s elaborate speech. He clamored for respect for international law, but the prime minister’s ambition to enshrine collective self-defense is a violation of Japan’s pacifist constitution. How can we expect a man who disregards domestic law to respect international law?

Japan promised to enhance its security role in Southeast Asia. But how can its Self-Defense Forces still be called this if they stretch into Southeast Asia?

The clumsy attacks against China didn’t score much resonance from the Southeast Asian contingent, the most important audience at Shangri-La.

Vietnam and the Philippines acted rather constrainedly in Singapore. And after Hagel’s speech, a professor from Indonesia asked the defense secretary whether the US is contradicting itself by opposing one single country, implicitly China, dominating East Asia while the US itself pursues a dominant role. But Hagel evaded giving a direct answer.

The tone of this SLD was set during Abe’s keynote speech. The Chinese delegation were duly incensed and forced to return fire.

Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the General Staff of the PLA, accused Abe and Hagel of sticking to each other targeting China, departing from the speech he had prepared for the dialogue. The Chinese side went toe-to-toe with Washington and Tokyo.

In its move from being a reluctant participant in the SLD, China now engages actively in the security forum.

This year, the sizeable contingent from China includes military representatives, scholars, media persons and a diplomatic delegation led by Fu Ying, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress.

The primary goal of the Chinese delegation was to advocate and elaborate a new security concept for Asia. Nonetheless, we were kidnapped by the crude Western accusations and forced into a defensive battle.

In recent years, there are soaring attacks against China at the SLD, a West-dominated platform.

China should prepare itself for provocations and respond in a more wise and humorous way. There is no need to be led by the nose by the Western countries.

More importantly, we should cultivate and expand the clout of multilateral platforms where China can have a bigger say, such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and the World Peace Forum.

Sources: The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Yu Jincui with Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China. yujincui@globaltimes.com.cn

Regional harsh accusations overshadow Shangri-La talks

Perhaps the number “13″ is unlucky after all. For, over this weekend, the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), the premier Asia-Pacific security forum held annually in Singapore, was unfortunately shrouded in a thicket of almost tangible tension.

The first salvo was launched by none other than the increasingly controversial Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. During his keynote speech at SLD opening dinner, Abe made a thinly veiled accusation that China upset the status quo in the East China Sea by threat of force.

Abe talked about the need to change the country’s legal basis, a reference to the amendment of Japan’s pacifist constitution, to enable it to take part in “collective self-defense.” But amiss in Abe’s extensive description of the “new Japanese” concept was any mention of Japan’s militaristic past which still casts a dark pall over many of its victimized neighbors.

The next morning, as if in sync, US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel wasted no time in his keynote speech to directly confront China by accusing the latter of unilaterally altering the status quo in the South China Sea.

Hagel followed up by officially stating the US disapproval of China’s setting up of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. Echoing Abe, Hagel agreed with the need to amend the Japanese constitution, and even mooted the reassessment of their joint defense treaty.

The unusually blunt and strident US posture during this year’s SLD startled many observers. But a careful examination of the recent chain of events both regionally and worldwide may provide some clues as to Hagel’s tough tone.

A rapidly emergent China, with its attendant rising confidence in tackling foreign and regional matters, almost inevitably gave rise to the perception among some US policymakers that the hitherto more or less unchallenged regional leadership of the US in the Asia-Pacific region was being increasingly sapped.

This resulted in the US urgency to reassert its preeminent role in at least the security matters of the region. Hence the notions of “pivoting” and “rebalancing” rang aloud in US rhetoric versus this region. This sense of acute leadership reinstatement is further exacerbated by recent US foreign policy fiascos around the world.

The Edward Snowden-revealed US blatant spying on foes and allies alike continued to gnaw at global US credibility and moral standing. US President Barack Obama’s own threat of use of force to resolve the Syrian civil war was essentially upstaged by a last-minute Russian brokered deal to avert imminent attack.

Yet the Chinese responded to these seemingly joint attacks with a two-pronged approach. The more genteel response was delivered by its former vice foreign minister Fu Ying, who reassured the region of China’s peaceful intension and long-standing contribution to regional security.

The more head-on response came in the form of off-the-cuff remarks Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the General Staff of the PLA, who characterized both Abe and Hagel’s speeches as being provocative to China.

Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that the general mood among many of the SLD participants from regional neighbors was such that while potential Japanese remilitarization and the return of US hegemony in the region were certainly not welcome, a certain perception of increasing Chinese assertiveness in the region, rightly or otherwise, was also taking root. China needs to redouble its efforts in assuring its neighbors of its purported peaceful rise.

But despite their confrontational postures, both Wang and Hagel made ample mentions of various ongoing and perspective security cooperation mechanisms between the US and China, giving the impression that their “new type of major power relationship” could still hold up despite stark differences.

In addition, Abe, Hagel and Wang variously gave high praises for the important roles in regional security played by East Asian Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum as well as ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.

It is in this sense that despite the dense and serious mood permeating this year’s SLD, a glimmer of hope can still be gleaned.

Contributed by Ei Sun Oh Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-3 19:38:01
The author is a senior fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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China reiterates principle for solving island disputes, China’s claims are lawful based on history


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SINGAPORE, June 2 (Xinhua) — Island or maritime demarcation disputes should be solved through coordination and negotiations between directly involved parties on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law, a Chinese general said on Sunday.

China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea were established through the long process of historical development, said Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), at the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue..

It can be traced back to over 2,000 years ago, or the Han Dynasty, when China started discovering and gradually maturing its administration over the South China Sea, especially the Nansha Islands and related sea area, Wang said..

The Xisha Islands and the Nansha Islands, both in the South China Sea, were occupied by Japan during World War II, and returned to China in 1946 under the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation..

After the return of these islands to China, the Chinese government in 1948 mapped out the nine-dash line, which is clearly marked in historical documents and world maps drawn by different countries, the general said..

China’s neighboring countries never raised doubts about China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Nasha Islands, the Xisha Islands and the related sea area until the 1970s when rich oil resources were discovered in the South China Sea, he said..

China, as a signatory country to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), respects the convention which took effect in 1994. However, Wang said, China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the South China Sea islands and islets as well as related sea waters came into being over the past 2,000 years..

The UNCLOS, which took effect in 1994, cannot re-demarcate sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction that came into being over such a prolonged period of time in history, while recognizing countries’ historical rights over seas and islands and islets, Wang said..

The UNCLOS is inapplicable to the adjustment of ownership of sea islands and islets, he said. The law governing the sea is an enormous and comprehensive law system, not merely a single UNCLOS..

Meanwhile, the adjustment is also not merely subject to a single international law of sea — there is an enormous international law system which includes the international law of sea, he said. Thus, only using the UNCLOS to argue is not workable, he said..

China has signed the UNCLOS and respects it, but the United States has not signed the convention because it feels many provisions of the convention are against it, he said..

Wang noted China’s stance in this regard is coherent and clear, that is, China advocates solving the disputes over islands and maritime demarcation through direct consultations and talks with the directly-involved parties..

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BEIJING, June 2 (Xinhuanet) — Wang Guanzhong, the highest ranking military official in the Chinese delegation at an Asia-Pacific security forum, started his speech on Sunday by highlighting the common aspiration for a utopia with the same name as the event: Shangri-La..

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Overloaded with abundant pleasant words and made-up concepts, such as “proactive contribution to peace” and “proactive pacifism,” as well as new slogans enthusiastically promoted by Abe, the speech was in fact intended to sugarcoat the right-leaning Japan’s militaristic agenda.  Full Story

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Shangri-La Diaogue: US-Japan accusations are hypocritical as well as self-deceiving, unhelpful; China for Asian security


China says stronger PLA benefits security in Asia

China was completely justified in rejecting remarks made by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the 13th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore on Saturday.

The US defense chief did everything he could to point an accusing finger. He not only charged China with taking “destabilizing, unilateral actions” in the South China Sea but also criticized the demarcation of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea and the so-called cyber spying against the United States.

The US accusations are nothing but groundless and unreasonable. It is inappropriate for the defense chief to fire anti-China remarks from the podium of a regional security forum where the US stance is by no means constructive to regional peace and stability.

Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army who led the Chinese delegation, rightfully pointed out that Hagel’s speech bore every sign of US hegemony as it was filled with full of incitement, instigation, threat and intimidation.

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Wang’s comment provides an accurate lens for people to see through Washington’s real intentions in the region. Hagel has criticized China for taking so-called destabilizing and unilateral actions in the South China Sea. In fact, it is the US’s unilateral move in the region that has encouraged some countries in the region to covet islands and islets to which they are not entitled.

Until 2009 no country had challenged China’s de facto control over the “nine-dash line” that outlines its territory in the South China Sea. The area of jurisdiction is explicitly defined, and China holds indisputable proof of its sovereignty over the waters. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which some claimant countries have frequently referred, also respects historical sovereignty.

Since 2009, when the Obama administration set out to implement its “rebalancing to Asia” policy, Washington has strengthened its military ties with its regional allies and shipped advanced military equipment to the region. It is no secret that Washington has assumed the role of a wirepuller behind a number of maritime territorial disputes in the region.

As for the US objection to China’s establishment of an ADIZ over the East China Sea, it is obvious that Washington has raised the tone of its criticism out of fear that China’s increasing activities in the region may impair its vested interests.

Since China announced the establishment of the ADIZ on Nov 23, the US has been leading a chorus denouncing the move. Their criticism is hardly worth refuting as China’s ADIZ conforms to international law and international practice – more than 20 countries have set up ADIZs, and the US was the first to do so 60 years ago.

During Saturday’s speech, Hagel tried to depict the US as country that dutifully defends the international order in the Asia Pacific. Washington never hides its intention to play a leading role in regional affairs but with such an unconstructive attitude as displayed in Hagel’s remarks, even countries welcoming a bigger role for Uncle Sam in the region, could not help but wonder about the US’s real intentions. More and more people in this region have begun to realize that the US only wants to fish in troubled waters.

“The United States will not look the other way when fundamental principles to the international order are being challenged,” Hagel said. Again this is hypocritical as well as self-deceiving.

The US has thrown its weight behind Japan, its regional ally, since September 2012 when the Japanese government unilaterally announced its decision to “nationalize” China’s Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Washington should be reminded that Japan’s attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea and its increasingly rightist behavior are posing the greatest threat to the norms governing international order.

As such, by lodging unwarranted accusations against China, Hagel has sent a wrong signal in Singapore. His arguments do a disservice to regional efforts in quelling maritime disputes as well as sowing more seeds of discord in the region.

By Wang Hui China Daily

Provocative remarks from U.S., Japan not helpful for regional security: Chinese general

Shangri-La Dialogue2014-Wang Guanzhong

Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, speaks during the fourth plenary session of the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 1, 2014, the final day of the multilateral forum focusing on security issues in Asia. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)

SINGAPORE, June 1 (Xinhua) — The provocative harsh remarks against China by United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a regional security forum are not helpful for regional peace and stability, an army general heading the Chinese delegation said on Sunday.

Delivering a speech on the third day of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Wang Guanzhong said he has planned to use the opportunity to elaborate on China’s newly proposed approach and framework of common security and cooperative security in Asia but had to move away from the prepared text to respond.

“My feeling is that Mr. Abe and Mr. Hagel were singing notes in chorus. They were corroborating and colluding and using the opportunities to speak first at the Shangri-La Dialogue to take the initiative to provoke and challenge China,” he told military generals, defense chiefs and scholars.

Hagel criticized China as being the one taking unilateral actions on the South China Sea and said that the United States will maintain its leadership in the Asia Pacific and defend the interests of its allies. He also repeated the U.S. pretext of concerns for the freedom of navigation and respect for international law in the South China Sea.

Wang said he did not expect the languages of hegemonism and words of intimidation in the speech of Hagel.

“He made a speech to stoke instability and encourage fight picking in the Asia Pacific. The attitude there is not constructive,” the Chinese general said.

No disputes or incidents have been initiated by China over a long period of time on sovereign and maritime issues and China has always had to respond, he said.

Abe delivered a keynote speech on Friday evening full of thinly- veiled comments aimed at China. He talked about how he intends to revise and push beyond the limit of Japan’s pacifist constitution that was put in place after the World War II and how he intends to go for a larger role for Japan in Asia in security by promoting the idea of “proactive peace” and giving patrol ships to the Philippines and Vietnam to support their maritime claims.

Wang said everybody can see the remarks of Abe, full of innuendoes, are aimed at China.

“Hagel was being quite frank. He just bluntly and openly criticized China, albeit baseless. But I rather like his way of talking. If you want to say something, it’s better to just say it directly,” he said.

“As a prime minister, Abe was invited to the Shangri-La Dialogue by the organizers to give a speech. He could have upheld the goal of dialogue facilitation set for the forum to advance peace and security in the Asia Pacific. He could have contributed constructive suggestions but, opposite to the spirit of the dialogue meeting, he initiated incidents and stoke disputes,” Wang said.

“I think this is not acceptable, and this is not in line with the spirit of the dialogue meeting,” he added.

Wang said that China never took the initiative at the Shangri- La Dialogue to incite disputes.

“If you also look at what the United States and Japan did, it was not difficult to see who took the initiative to pick fights and incite disputes and conflicts. From the speeches of Abe and Hagel, we can see who on earth are aggressive. It is the United States and Japan corroborating with each other, and not China,” he said.

Despite the harsh words from the United States and Japan, Wang called for cooperation and coordination to work for regional peace and stability.

Both China and the United States have common interests in a world of increasingly interdependent countries, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently proposed the approach of common security and sustainable security for Asia, which calls for cooperative security and mutually beneficial development to lead efforts for peace and stability in the region.

China has said that the approach of dividing Asian countries into allies and non-allies by the United States will not lead to security for all and that the 21st century is the time to drop the mentality of alliance to achieve security at the expense of other countries.

The approach outlined by China calls for efforts from all the countries in the region to contribute to regional peace and stability through the pursuit of cooperation and development. Scholars said the approach is much more inclusive and that other countries are also welcome to play a constructive role.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov voiced concerns for the detrimental impact on regional peace and stability from the wave of color revolutions with democracy as a pretext.

He said that Russia is opposed to the deployment of missile defense systems in the Asia Pacific which breaks the strategic balance in the region.

Antonov also questioned the idea of the United States must be a leader.

“We are opposed to any division of the Asia Pacific nations into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ ones, leaders and supporters. We are all equal. We have equal rights and obligations. At the same time every nation is unique in terms of its history, cultural heritage and traditions,” he said.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, officially the Asian Security Summit organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a London-based think thank, gathers defense and military representatives and scholars from 27 countries in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. -xinhua

China advocates, implements security concept for Asia

China advocates, implements security concept for Asia
Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China, speaks during a plenary session at the 13th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore June 1, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

SINGAPORE — China advocates and implements a security concept for Asia in real earnest, and stands ready to work with other countries to pursue Asian security that is established, shared by and win-win to all, said Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.

China advocates, implements security concept for Asia

Experts blast Hagel over ‘destabilizing’ accusations 

“The security of China is closely linked to that of Asia. China is a constructive, proactive and positive force for Asia’s peace and security,” Wang said in a speech at the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue.

The event is a multilateral forum organized by the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently put forth the security concept for Asia featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security at the fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

“This concept has been widely acclaimed by the Asian countries, ” the senior military officer said.
Wang said China is a constructive, proactive and positive force for Asia’s peace and security because China pursues the path of peaceful development.

He also stressed that China will never contend for or seek hegemony and foreign expansion.
China believes that all countries should have the equal rights to independently choose their own social systems and development paths, said the officer.

“We need to strengthen coordination on the basis of mutual respect, and oppose the attempt by any country to dominate regional security affairs,” he said.

The senior military officer highlighted in his speech that China advocates dialogue and cooperation, and stands for coordinated progress of security and development. “China pursues a neighborhood diplomacy that aims at bringing harmony, security and prosperity to its neighbors,” Wang said.

“We work to promote the sound interaction between regional economic cooperation and security cooperation, and to maintain both traditional and non-traditional security in a coordinated way. “

He said, in 2013, China contributed “nearly 30 percent of the world’s economic growth” and “over 50 percent of the growth in Asia”.

Wang said China will continue to promote sustainable security through sustainable development, and work together with other countries for “lasting peace and prosperity in the region”.

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Obama’s loss of balance, his Diaoyu Islands vow ‘may backfire’


US president barack obama may have congratulated himself in private for apparently pulling off a difficult balancing act, but if so, he is being a little too hasty.

He offered his anxious Japanese host the reassurance Tokyo was so desperately begging for: The confirmation that the territory it stole is covered by the US-Japan security treaty.

Then, so as not to infuriate the attentive owner next door, he stated that this “is not a new position”, nor one of his making, as the US-Japan treaty preceded his birth, and he reconfirmed that Washington takes no sides in the sovereignty dispute over the islands.

However, swaying to and fro on the tightrope he was walking, Obama’s balancing act was lopsided at best, because it was conspicuously biased in favor of the troublemaking Japanese prime minister.

By deliberately ignoring the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation, and the terms of surrender Japan agreed to at the end of World War II, Obama has betrayed the postwar international order and endorsed Japan’s de facto control over the Diaoyu Islands, which should have been returned to China under the terms of these legally binding agreements.

Extending the US-Japan security treaty to those islands is both morally and legally wrong.

Obama should not expect Chinese connivance in his turning a blind eye to Japan’s thievery and its claims of innocence.

It was the Japanese government that unilaterally changed the status quo. The dispute over the Diaoyu Islands had cooled down until Japan poured kerosene on it and set a match to it by “nationalizing” the main islands.

Obama’s praise of “Japan’s long-standing commitment to international peace and security” is grating on the ear – and not just to China – because he once again chose to ignore the elephant in the room, saying nothing about Japan’s denial of its militarist past and rightist present. By tacitly endorsing Japan’s actions, he is giving Shinzo Abe carte blanche to continue destabilizing the region.

That Obama has cast aside the strategic ambiguity others have tried hard to preserve may be good in one sense – it helps to relieve some of the wishful thinking that Washington doesn’t condone the antics of Japan’s right-wingers.

But since he has voluntarily bound his country to Abe’s war chariot, instead of breathing a sigh of relief that he has completed his balancing act, he might want to start considering how he is going to untie the knots and tame the adventurous Japan under Abe, or prepare to be dragged into an unwanted conflict.

 

Obama_Abe_ChinaDiaoyu Islands vow ‘may backfire’

The PLA is fully capable of safeguarding China’s Diaoyu Islands, says spokesman

US President Barack Obama’s promise of military cover for Japan’s claim on the Diaoyu Islands faces the potential of backfiring, observers said.

Obama stated in a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday that the US-Japan mutual security treaty covers China’s Diaoyu Islands.

“We do not believe that they should be subject to change unilaterally, and what is a consistent part of the alliance is that the treaty covers all territories administered by Japan.”

The forthright remarks from Obama are widely interpreted as a display of Washington’s strong commitment to its Asian allies designed to dispel suspicion of weakening US clout in the region.

Obama is on a four-nation tour that was postponed seven months ago because of the US government shutdown. He faced flak at the time for postponing the trip, both in the US and overseas, amid criticism that the US was preoccupied with domestic affairs at the expense of its international commitments.

Responding to Obama’s comments, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said that the Chinese army will continue military patrols in “relevant waters” in the East China Sea.

The Chinese military is “fully capable of safeguarding the Diaoyu Islands, and it is unnecessary for other nations to go to extreme lengths to provide a so-called security guarantee,” Yang said, adding that China will firmly safeguard territorial sovereignty in the face of provocation from Japan.

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said Obama’s remarks may lead to unforeseen problems because the military commitment — directly naming specific islands — could “sabotage US strategic initiatives in the region” and undermine its strategic flexibility.

“As a result, Tokyo is keeping Washington in check in this regard, and, honestly, the ruling Japanese cabinet is very unpredictable,” Ruan said.

Ruan noted that Obama’s remarks about the islands “also harm the credibility of the US”, because instead of taking an honest broker’s viewpoint the US is firmly backing one side and this has the potential to cause problems.

With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe beside him, Obama told reporters that he had not drawn any new “red line” over the islands, and he emphasized the need to resolve maritime disputes peacefully.

“The treaty between the US and Japan preceded my birth, so, obviously, this isn’t a red line that I’m drawing,” Obama said. Li Haidong, a researcher of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said Obama’s visit to Japan aimed to boost Japan’s status as a “pillar” of Asia-Pacific security and as a key player in containing China.

But, Li said, the two allies have different agendas.

“The US seeks stability in the big picture of its relationship with China, yet Japan is not afraid of fanning the flames of a conflict with China,” Li said.

The US-Japan defense treaty requires Washington to come to Japan’s defense if it is attacked.

Experts said Washington believes that backing Tokyo will have long-term benefits.

Lyu Yaodong, an expert on Japanese diplomacy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Obama is “determined to see tangible progress in his rebalancing strategy” during his Asian trip, and “to achieve this goal, satisfying demands from Japan regarding the islands is necessary”.

Abe told reporters on Thursday that “the Japan-US alliance is more robust than ever before.”

“The US pivot cannot succeed without strong support from important allies such as Japan,” Lyu said.

Ruan noted a shift in the US-Japan military relationship, and one example is that the US is “outsourcing” more defense duties to Japan.

“Washington believes that its promise on the islands is a feasible way to strengthen its influence over Japan, and accordingly Washington wants Japan’s self-defense forces to play a greater role, which is very dangerous,” Ruan said.

Yang, the Defense Ministry spokesman, also confirmed what Chinese Navy Commander Wu Shengli said on Wednesday about a worst-case scenario.

Wu told reporters on the sidelines of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium that the possibility of a military conflict remains between China and Japan, and the priority is to “prevent the outbreak of a conflict”.

Yang also said the PLA will continue military patrols in waters near a tropical Japanese island close to Taiwan, days after Tokyo announced it would break ground on a new radar base in the area.

The radar station on Yonaguni Island, just 150 km from the Diaoyu Islands, marks Japan’s first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years.

“We are paying close attention to Japan’s military trends,” he said.

“China’s military will continue to carry out battle readiness patrols, military drills and other activities in the area,” Yang said.

- By Zhang Yunbi, China Daily

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Asia future at risk if Obama sends wrong signals to Japan


US President Barack Obama steps from the Air Force One as he arrives in Tokyo, Japan on April 23, 2014. Obama began a four-country trip through the Asia-Pacific region on Wednesday. (Left)

Future hangs in the balance

The US president should persuade Japan’s right-wingers of the error of their ways during his trip to the region to ensure stability.

After undergoing nearly seven decades of development since the end of World War II, Asia has already taken on a new look, witnessing not only the rise of a group of industrialized countries and regions during the latter part of the 20th century, but also the emergence of a number of economies that have grown to be the engine of global economic growth in the new century.

However, Asia’s development is still unbalanced.

First, Asia’s political cooperation is out of step with its economic dynamism. Political trust, particularly in East Asia, is still severely lacking. The actions and comments of Japanese right-wingers, who go so far as to complain of injustice when it comes to the Tokyo Trials and try to strengthen the country’s control of territory it annexed illegally during its imperialist past, have undoubtedly sown the seeds of deep mistrust among East Asian countries.

Second, in the context of the strained relations between some countries in the region, some Western media have been hyping speculation that the Asian economy might slow further. It is true economies in East Asia have recently experienced moderate or medium-speed growth after years of high-speed expansion. But this tendency is in line with the law of development, and also is connected to the fatigued global economy. Even so, the development speed of Asia’s emerging economies still far exceeds that of Western developed countries, and their momentum is increasingly reshaping the global landscape.

Because of the existence of various rifts and the lack of mutual trust, the region is in desperate need of candid dialogue. The trust deficit in Asia has affected the progress of regional economic cooperation, but at the same time it also suggests that there is great potential for further economic, investment and trade cooperation in the region, including the construction of regional free trade areas.

Asia needs to accumulate constructive positive energy, give full play to the spirit of countries being in the same boat, and effectively alleviate regional tensions to change the negative factors into positive elements. Moreover, Asia should oppose any shortsighted actions to set up small cliques.

Currently in Asia, there are serious differences between those countries adhering to unity and cooperation to benefit all and those trying to form cliques and factions to benefit themselves. It is Japan that is leading such divisiveness, as it has tried to piece together an Asian version of NATO, and antagonized its neighbors by clinging obstinately to its denial of historical facts and even embarked along the road of glorifying aggression.

Any responsible power must go all out to contribute to regional peace and stability based on human morality and justice. As a great power with tremendous economic and military presence in the region, how the United States sets out its Asia-Pacific position will make all the difference to Asia’s stability and development. Whether Washington will offer constructive cooperation to Asian countries’ efforts to enhance mutual trust and erase the doubts of its intentions has a direct bearing on regional peace, as well as the US’ own strategic interests.

Thus the eyes of the world are focused on US President Barack Obama’s four-nation trip to Asia that began in Japan on Wednesday.

If the US can aim high and think big and cooperate sincerely with countries in the region to establish a common security and trust mechanism that is suitable to the characteristics of the Asia-Pacific region, it will surely receive a share of Asia’s peace dividend and be genuinely welcomed among Asian countries.

However, if the US is unwilling or unable to contribute to Asia-Pacific stability, and instead takes sides in the region’s various historical and sovereignty disputes, it will be hard for the country to become the kind of responsible power that can benefit Asia. If the US only looks at short-term interests and sits watching Japan turning its military ambition into reality step by step, not only will the troublemaker’s interests be ultimately damaged, but also those of the US.

History has repeatedly shown us that a country that employs a policy of appeasement will eventually shoot itself in the foot.

The author is a professor and associate dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University.

Contributed by Shen Dingli  China Daily

Japan reassured over Diaoyu

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) waves next to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant in Tokyo, April 23,2014  (left)

US President Barack Obama started his four-nation Asia tour on Wednesday by overtly supporting Japan over its disputed territory with China, which experts say will exacerbate the already tense situation in East Asia.

In a written interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun published on Wednesday, Obama stated that the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea fall under Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty, which obliges the US to protect Japan if there are conflicts over Japan-administered territories. He also supported moves by Japan to ease self-defense limits in his remarks.

“We oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,” Obama said, adding that the US engagement with China “does not and will not come at the expense of Japan or any other ally.”

While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been seeking to ease the restrictions on its collective self-defense rights prohibited by Japan’s Pacifist Constitution, Obama welcomed Japan playing a greater role in international security.

“I commend Prime Minister Abe for his efforts to strengthen Japan’s defense forces and to deepen the coordination between our militaries, including by reviewing existing limits on the exercise of collective self-defense,” Obama said, requesting Japan’s Self-Defense Forces “do more within the framework of our alliance.”

This is the first time that an incumbent US president has made such open remarks in support of Japan.

“Abe, more than any of his predecessors, has made headway on what Washington has long wanted from Japan, to become a more assertive partner in regional security,” Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan Campus, told the Global Times.

Obama, who is making the first full state visit to Japan by a US President since 1996, is expected to assuage worries by Tokyo and other allies regarding his commitment to their defense, without hurting vital US ties with Asia’s biggest economy – China.

Such assurances are likely to be high on the agenda when Obama meets Abe at a symbolic summit on Thursday.

“If Obama intends to improve relations with China, he is likely to antagonize the ally. To the extent that he improves relations with the allies, he’ll antagonize Beijing,” Kingston said, adding that Obama is on a “mission impossible.”

“Obama wants a better relationship with Beijing, but he thinks that Beijing also needs to think about modifying its behavior,” Kingston noted.

Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at the Renmin University of China, said the remarks are intended to warn China while reassuring Japan and other US allies of its security guarantee, which has been under suspicion due to the way the US has dealt with the Ukraine issue.

“Japan will be very satisfied this time. But this will encourage Tokyo to step up its confrontation with Beijing,” Shi told the Global Times, adding that it will further strain tensions in Asia and even damage Sino-US relations.

Japan has ramped up its military surveillance capabilities on its westernmost island of Yonaguni, which is close to the Diaoyu Islands, by starting construction of a radar unit on Saturday.

Reiterating that the Diaoyu Islands are an inherent part of China’s territory, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said China is strongly opposed that the islands being part of the security treaty, which was reached during the Cold War and should not damage China’s sovereignty and rightful interests.

Obama and Abe are also keen to show progress on a two-way trade pact. This is seen as critical to a broader regional deal that would be one of the world’s biggest trade agreements and is central to Obama’s “pivot” towards Asia.

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China monitors US bombers in defense zone


B-52  J15-fighterChina’s defense ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng on Wednesday said the country has observed US B-52 bombers flying in the newly established air defense identification zone over East China Sea.

Video: http://english.cntv.cn/program/newsupdate/20131128/102355.shtml

Geng said the US aircraft flew south and north along the eastern border of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone from 11:00 a.m. to 1:22 pm Tuesday, about 200 km to the east of the Diaoyu Islands.

The Chinese army monitored the entire process, carried out identification in a timely manner, and ascertained the type of aircraft.

“We need to stress that China will identify every aircraft flying in the air defense identification zone according to the country’s announcement of aircraft identification rules for the air defense identification zone,” Geng said.

“China is capable of exercising effective control over this airspace,” Geng added.

China announced the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone on Saturday. The US State Department and certain officials expressed concern after the announcement.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said Tuesday that the US conducted a training exercise that had been planned for a long time. It involved two aircraft flying from Guam and returning to Guam.- Xinhua

US B-52 bombers challenge China’s new ADIZ

China’s latest move in defending its sovereignty is facing opposition from other countries. Two US B-52 bombers have flown over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, in defiance of the air defense identification zone set on Saturday. China is taking a measured response, while stressing that it has the ability to manage and control its airspace.

Video: http://english.cntv.cn/program/china24/20131128/100592.shtml

Just days after China announced the establishment of an air defense identification zone, or A-D-I-Z. The US sent two B-52 bombers through the zone and over the Diaoyu Islands

China’s defense ministry asserted it has the ability to control the airspace. It says it identified the aircraft and monitored the entire two hours and 22 minutes.

The US said it was a long planned training mission, and put its own spin on the matter to fault China.

“This unilateral action appears to be an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea. This will raise regional tensions and increase the risk of miscalculation, confrontation, and accidents. We have made this case to China.” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Japan, which claims the Diaoyu Islands as its territory, was quick to join its ally.

“Our stance is that China’s move cannot be accepted, and so I think the US is also dealing with the issue with the same stance.” Japanese defense minister Itsunori Onodera said.

Aircraft flying through an A-D-I-Z must report a flight plan, maintain two-way radio contact and respond to identification inquiries, or face defensive emergency measures.

More than 20 countries and regions use such zones, including the US and many of China’s neighbors.

The Foreign Ministry called for calm, saying the zone does not target any country.

“China’s establishment of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea is a legitimate exercise of the right of self-defense. It’s not aimed at any particular country or target. So we hope that the countries concerned will not overreact or panic over the event.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

China has also lodged protests over US and Japanese criticism. The country says the establishment of the zone has a sound legal basis and is in accordance with common international practice.

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