Analysts slam Japan's attempt to hijack G7

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-4 0:58:01

Analysts slammed Japan's efforts to produce a joint declaration condemning China's stance on the East China Sea and the South China Sea at the G7 summit, adding that such a move is fueled by Japan's own political agenda.

While the Ukraine situation will undoubtedly be the key subject in this year's G7 summit, which falls on Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels, urging China to comply with international laws and regulations as it accelerates maritime strategies will also be an important topic at the summit, said Japanese media.

Tokyo-based Sankei Shimbun newspaper claimed that this will be the first time in history that concerns regarding China's maritime strategies are being written into the summit's declaration and Japan will explore new ways of cooperation with Western countries in policies toward China.

"Japan will push for such a declaration in the G7 summit with all its might as exaggerating China's threat to regional security provides a perfect excuse for Japan to revise its pacifist constitution and a lifting of the ban on Japan's right to exercise collective self-defense," Wu Shicun, director of the Haikou-based National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times.

"But other G7 countries may have second thoughts on how much they are willing to sacrifice," Wu said.

The G7 includes the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US. It will be held instead of the Group of Eight this year as Russia has been excluded in protest over the annexation of Crimea.

"The Obama administration had a tough year in terms of foreign affairs. It has lost points over the Ukraine crisis facing the nation's old rival Russia and its Middle East strategy has put itself in a stalemate," said Wu Xinbo, a foreign affairs professor with Fudan University in Shanghai.

"This could prompt the US to take a hard-line stance against China. Criticizing China will toughen up the administration's image and save its Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy, which has been questioned incessantly," he said.

However, after the rare clash of words at the Shangri-La Dialogue this year, the US may want to tone down its rhetoric a little bit to create a suitable atmosphere for the coming China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in July, Wu Shicun noted.

During the Shangri-La Dialogue, held in Singapore Sunday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said "China has undertaken destabilizing, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea" and that the US was committed to geopolitical rebalance in the region.

Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, immediately hit back at Hagel's remarks, saying the comment was a blatant provocation and that "China has never started any conflicts, but we have to respond to provocations started by some countries."

As for European nations, relations with the world's second largest economy have become increasingly more important.

"Economic issues and the Ukraine crisis are more imminent problems for European countries and to solve their problems, they need cooperation from China," said Wu Shicun.

"Even if the G7 does issue a declaration condemning China on the East China Sea and South China Sea issues, the influence will be very limited. The declaration will not change the situation in the South China Sea. Given the fact that it's no secret the West favors Japan, the criticism will very likely be seen as an unjust one," Qu Xing, director of the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

In May, anti-China protests broke out in Vietnam over a Chinese oil rig in the waters surrounding the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea.

On Sunday, a Chinese coast guard ship collided with a Vietnamese vessel. The Chinese ship fired water cannon at the Vietnamese ship after it harassed the Chinese oil rig platform, China Central Television reported Tuesday.

Newspaper headline: Hyping China threat 'perfect excuse' to revise constitution

Posted in: Diplomacy

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