Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki has set off for a two-day visit to China, Tokyo said, in a bid to promote high-level talks with Beijing. China has many choices in terms of responding to Japan's multifaceted diplomacy.
China can take it easy. As Sino-Japanese relations remain tense, it is essential for the two to stay in diplomatic contact. But leadership meetings will be unnecessary in the short term.
China should present Japan with this firm stance.
The significance of leadership meetings has gone beyond diplomacy. Such meetings should bear some fruit. However, the Abe administration has shown no change toward China in terms of its political mentality. Abe's desire to meet Chinese leaders is nothing but a show aimed at serving his own interests and Japan's politics.
China, while positively promoting stability in its neighborhood, is under no obligation to cooperate with him.
Across the East Sea, the Abe administration is flaunting its prowess against China. It wants China to follow its lead. But this would only put China in an awkward position. China should behave like a detached observer and simply watch Japan's show.
This is the nature of the current diplomatic rivalry between China and Japan. Since Abe took office, he has played various tricks on China, but Chinese leaders did not respond directly. It appears that Japan has taken the lead, but at the same time, Chinese diplomatic authorities have strengthened their mindset against Japan, which helps all of society readjust its mentality toward Japan.
For more than a century, China has been in a weak position compared with Japan in terms of strength and psychology. Over the past couple of years, China's strength has been catching up with that of Japan, at a speed faster than it has been able to dispel past shadows.
In the recent deadlock with Japan, the Chinese government and society reacted with more calmness than ever before. This is the psychological basis for China to reconstruct relations with Japan. Japan's further provocations will generate less buzz each time Japan resorts to them. China will be able to make sensible judgments about Japan's provocations against China, thus making feasible countermeasures.
Tokyo does not dare to confront Beijing in the traditional sense, as it can hardly bear the political cost. It is more willing to resort to psychological confrontation with Beijing. But we understand Japan's real intentions.
Therefore, Beijing could kindly restate its principles to Japan's Vice Foreign Minister and ask him to take them home. Before the Abe administration alters its key China policies, there is no room for improvement in bilateral relations. As long as the two do not go to a war, let other communications develop. China will adjust to this situation and hopefully Japan will do so as well.