With a second term now guaranteed, US President Barack Obama will start a tour of Southeast Asia this weekend, a stamp on his administration's "pivot" to Asia. Japan is becoming more active, seeking to revise its defense cooperation guidelines with the US. Japanese Vice Defense Minister Akihisa Nagashima reportedly said, "As we witness China's spectacular rise, Japan and the US must together hedge against the fallout from this."
A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says that China's economy, in terms of purchasing power, is projected to overtake the US as the world's largest economy in 2016. This may add to concerns of conservatives in the US and Japan.
It is inevitable that the US and Japan will make waves, which could be interpreted as containing China. It is to be expected that China's neighbors will seek to strike a balance between China and the US.
The US will strive to maintain a balance in East Asia. It means that the faster China's strength grows, the more extensive the US' defensive deployment against China will be.
As China and the US have multiple avenues of cooperation instead of Cold War-era ties, the US will find noble-sounding reasons to explain its behavior which will make the Chinese uncomfortable.
Japan is currently close to China in terms of national strength and has become the most active US ally. In decades to come, when Japan is far behind China, it will reconsider its strategic position between China and the US.
If China could control its rising speed, its geopolitical situation would become much easier as it could adapt more carefully to the international environment. But China cannot control it completely.
With its rise, China is also developing its national defense. China's territorial disputes with neighboring countries also adds to its negative image in the outside world. But it would be unimaginable for China, as a big power, to only develop its economy while ignoring national security.
China has no intention to stir up trouble, especially as it is encountering many domestic problems of its own.
For now, the US controls the overall situation in the Asia Pacific, but the real momentum lies with China. If the US makes the situation intense, it will provoke China, but if China shows its vigorous momentum by taking concrete actions, it will only heighten the US and Japan's concerns.
Public opinion has made it difficult for China to design a strict strategy that could balance territorial issues and long-term development. Diplomacy should follow public opinion. But meanwhile, the Chinese public does not expect all the territorial issues to be solved in one day. The mainstream society also hopes that a balance could be reached between territorial issues and the country's long-term development.
China must have a strong mentality to bear international pressure from countries such as the US and Japan. This pressure will grow in the future, but China's initiatives and resources to deal with such pressure will also increase. We should keep a calm mind and feel less hot-headed toward the situation.
China's rise will not be halted by any concrete issue. As China's strength grows to a certain extent, it will influence other countries' strategies. Years later if we look back into Obama's action immediately after he takes office and Japan's recent restlessness, we will find they are only small matters out of a wider scope.
The article is an editorial published in the Chinese edition of the Global Times Monday. firstname.lastname@example.org