Japan media overreached on Harris claim

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/7 23:23:39

Kyodo News, and some other Japanese media, reported that China's ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, had conveyed a request to fire the head of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris, in return for exerting more pressure on North Korea, citing unnamed sources. It was reported that US President Donald Trump rejected the offer.

The Japanese media making up such provocative stories will only thwart China-US relations and impede the process of solving the North Korean nuclear issue at this sensitive time.

Admiral Harris is considered a hard-liner on China and many Chinese people do not like him. But among those engaging in the US' Asia-Pacific policies, Harris is not the only person advocating a tough stance toward China. China's strategists do not have the illusion that as long as Harris is removed, the Western Pacific will remain peaceful.

Harris was appointed during the previous Obama administration and is said to have a good relationship with Hillary Clinton. It is very likely that he will leave his position during Trump's term. However, the Japanese media speculated about a China factor in the length of Harris' service, which only shows their sinister mentality. Even Harris himself would not believe it.

In recent years, the strife between the US and China in the South and East China Seas is mainly between the People's Liberation Army navy and the US fleet rather than with Harris individually. Also, interfering in other governments' personnel appointments is contrary to China's diplomatic style.

Japan's diplomatic thinking has become more and more distorted. It seems that Japan bases its national interests on a disorderly Asia-Pacific. The South China Sea disputes are gradually cooling down, which upsets Tokyo. It even feels somewhat lost as the relationship between the Trump government and Beijing is getting on the right track. Despite its physical nearness to the Korean Peninsula, a tense situation on the peninsula seems to have invigorated Tokyo.

By exploiting benefits from the Sino-US confrontation, the South China Sea disputes and conflicts on the Korean Peninsula, Japan is putting itself on the line. After all, it is not an era that encourages confrontation. Even countries like the US and China, an established power and an emerging power, or countries which have territorial disputes such as China and the Philippines, will calculate the costs of confrontation. They would rather prioritize easing tensions in favor of cooperation.

China has different problems with various countries, but the ones with Japan have been prominent over the years. Tokyo has always been wooing certain countries or forming a "value alliance" to contain Beijing, but its China policy ended up becoming extreme and isolated. After the South China Sea situation eased and especially after the Mar-a-Lago meeting between the Chinese and US leaders, Tokyo has been more marginalized.

China and the US have a broader diplomatic vision than Japan. Beijing has become more and more confident about developing ties with a Trump-led US. China is able to keep normal interaction with the US Asia-Pacific command led by Harris. We do not count on any senior US official to take a pro-China position and we can cope with any who take a hard stance toward China.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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