Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe kicks off his first trip after taking office to Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia today. Global media all connect his trip with the intense state of the Sino-Japanese relationship. They consider that the purpose of this action is to contain China. Even some people in Japan shouted that they want to "encircle China."
Encircling China? Those people may not know what they are talking about. Some people in Japan seem like paranoids who expect that China can be encircled. Some Japanese politicians are also not sober enough, such as Abe, who raised the proposal of "the arc of freedom and prosperity" in his previous term.
According to the Sankei Shimbun, Abe raised another strategy, suggesting that Australia, India, Japan, and the US Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to East China Sea. Areas such as China's Diaoyu Islands and South China Sea islands are all encircled by it. Sankei Shimbun said that the strategy is raised to contain China which is increasingly active in the ocean.
China is too large for this. It will be a joke in international strategy circles if Japan seeks to encircle China. It cannot achieve this goal even if it cooperates with the US.
Abe's visit to Southeast Asia will not bring China a sense of crisis. We can understand that Japan wants to strengthen its interests in Southeast Asia when the prospects of Sino-Japanese relations look bleak. We have no interest in competing for influence in Southeast Asia.
Japan in Asia is a good thing for China. There is no hope for Japan to defeat China strategically even there's a war between the two. However, Japan brings us stimulation and vigilance. It warns what kind of external resistance China may face in its future rise.
China should both take Japan seriously and be indifferent at the strategic level. Despite the prominence of the dispute, Japan is only a small part of the strategic hidden dangers for China.
If Abe's trip to Southeast Asia is aimed at "containing China," he can only reduce Japan's role on the political stage of Asia. The trip will only be a show without substantive content. Maybe Abe's cabinet is not so stupid. They want to expand Japan's economic space "after the Sino-Japanese friendship."
As to anti-Japanese feeling in Chinese public opinion, we should prevent it from being a trap for ourselves. We cannot be overly angry with Japan, concentrate all attention to Japan and forget others.
It should be Japan that worries most about Sino-Japanese relations, instead of China. China is rising and we are the driving force of changes in Asian geopolitics. Just let Japan mess about in China's surrounding areas. Japan's negotiations with claimants in South China Sea disputes will have no effect. It will be no better than a kind of self-comforting.
Frequent changes of Japanese cabinet have resulted in many political actions for show. Toward Japan, China should not only be cautious, but not to overreact.