Does Tokyo’s attitude matter to AIIB?

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-9 0:03:08

Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Yasuhisa Kawamura claimed on Sunday at the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps that Japan would not decide whether or not it would join the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) until China had tackled concerns about human rights, debt sustainability, and environmental protection. Such a statement stood out as Japan is the only one among all global economies to link the AIIB to tangential matters.

If Japan made such remarks three months ago, it perhaps could have shown Japan's high-profile stance. But under the current context, in which 57 economies have been approved as founding members of the AIIB, with four from the G7, does Japan's attitude matter?

Responding to Japan's Sunday statement, Chinese netizens gave a consistent answer: It matters not. In other words, China welcomes Japan's participation in the AIIB at any time, but it's just as dispensable. Without Japan's participation, the AIIB will function well.

Chinese have become more confident and open-minded than before. We have had less interest in fretting over Japan. Even with Tokyo's "provocations," we are not as easily enraged as before. Despite amicable ties in the past, China and Japan have been locked in an icy relationship in recent years. China intends to drive back relations to normal at the same time as Japan keeps finding trouble with China.

Tokyo shouldn't indulge itself in such an undignified manner. It might as well learn from the US. Washington embarrassed itself as its allies such as Britain, France, Germany and Italy joined the AIIB in defiance of the warning. But so far, Washington has maintained its manners and does not openly badmouth the bank. Though perhaps against its will, the US also endorsed cooperation between the World Bank and the AIIB. Both are in a passive position, but Washington acts with more dignity compared to Tokyo. 

As perpetrator and victim nations of the war seven decades ago, to both Japan and China, the memory of that period of history is difficult to let go. But to Chinese, it is puzzling to see some Japanese hold stronger antipathy against China than some Chinese to Japan. Washington dropped two atom bombs over Japan, but look at how Japanese rightists fawn upon Washington.

China is willing to maintain normal, even friendly, ties with Japan. We can understand the frustration Japanese society is experiencing toward China's fast development, and won't make a fuss over the fickle behavior it might have.

Most of Tokyo's abnormal feeling derives from its strong sense of crisis facing a rising China. However, Japan still holds an advantage in technology, which will help it to stay ahead of China in modernization for a long time. Keep cool and confident, is our advice to Japanese society.

Posted in: Editorial

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