Japan's meddling in South China Sea not to help ease tensions in East China Sea, experts say

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/7/18 13:39:00

Japan's meddling in the South China Sea is simply a tactic of distraction, hoping to tie China down so that its island disputes with Beijing in the East China Sea will be downplayed, experts attending the World Peace Forum (WPF) said here on Saturday.

Tokyo's tricks will not pay off, said the experts, adding that the only way for Japan to improve its relations with China starts with making no new troubles.

Speaking at a WPF panel session, Gao Hong, deputy director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said Japan is making a serious mistake.

He said the South China Sea and the East China Sea are closely related in a way that when tensions in South China Sea heat up, the East China Sea issue will be more arrestive.

"I personally believe that the easing of tensions in the South China Sea would not reduce the tensions in the East China Sea," he added.

Citing historical and military reasons, Gao also believed that neither side wants to compromise when it comes to sovereignty, thus both are facing a security dilemma.

Also at the panel, Bonji Ohara, an analyst in the National Defense Academy of Japan, said the talk of "territorial disputes will surely bring Japan and China back to war" is only being instigated by a handful of Japan's right-wing forces, while the general public are more concerned about their own lives, instead of the disputes in the South China Sea.

Ohara urged both sides to learn more about each other and try their best to remove misunderstandings, and especially, to enhance communication over the East China Sea issue.

"The East China Sea issue is not a new topic, but it still triggers small scrambles," he said. "So we must set up the Maritime and Air Communication Mechanism."

Nobuhiro Aizawa, an associate professor at Kyushu University who echoed Ohara's remarks, also urged the two countries to clear the air and to better work with each other.

"Both Japan and China need to cooperate with other countries to develop their own economies. Cooperation is a driving force behind economic development," he said.

"So confrontations or tensions between the two would only bring failed cooperation and affect the economy," he said.

Offering his opinion on how to improve China-Japan relations, Chen Jian, a former Chinese ambassador to Tokyo, said Japan should not create new differences between the two sides.

"We have already had differences over the Diaoyu Islands, so the South China Sea issue should not become a new flashpoint," he said.

On Friday in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Ulan Bator, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told his Japanese counterpart that Japan should "exercise caution in its own words and deeds, and stop hyping up and interfering in the South China Sea issue.

The Chinese premier called on both sides to step up exchanges on the East China Sea issue via dialogue and consultation based on the four-point principled agreement they reached in November 2014, so as to stave off misinterpretation and miscalculation.

Posted in: Diplomacy, Asia-Pacific

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