Japan And China In Politics
The Diplomatic relation between China and Japan are all the things without simplicity. In fact since long time in the past China and Japan are always knew a lot of situations very complex. Those two country since begin always fight between theirs to know which is the best, and still today this situation continue and will not be resolve now. The reasons are first the Historic context source of all the tension since now, and after to take the situation of today China and Japan fight to show which is the most important not only in the region but also at the international level. But Asia isn’t anymore the only “playground” of those countries. Now the Pacific region is one of target of each country which wants to have the maximum power not only for Diplomacy, but also for economic reasons.
But this little “Diplomatic War” between those countries so close and in the same time so far has direct effects in the political life of the Region.
“How the Race between the two “Giants” of the region influence the geopolitical life in Pacific?”
We will try to answer at this question, to understand why this region since today forgotten by all, become now important in the geopolitical strategy of those countries.
We will see first how the relation between China and Japan is on diplomatic and economics points, and what are their motivations to “fight” in the Pacific.
I. The paradox of the Sino-Japanese relation:
The first important point of this relation is diplomatic. The History of the two countries is very rich about conflicts between the two countries but to understand the situation of today we just need to make a little flashback about all the difficult points of tension between China and Japan.
One of the most important points of discord is about the memories of the World War 2 and all the events happen during the Japanese occupation of China during this period. Each country exposes his version of the History. The principal events which restart the conflict each year is about the ceremony of the “Yasukini sanctuary” where the Japanese Prime-minister pay tribute to the Japanese soldiers dead during the WW2. The polemic comes by the fact that the Chinese government affirms that these soldiers were criminals who commits rapes, murders, stealth and others. The Chinese power looks this ceremony like a provocation of the Japanese government. On the other side the Japanese government presents in the past many times his apologize about what happen during this terrible time. But the Chine wants more than simple apologizes of the Japanese who said that is enough.
The borders problem about more particularly the Diayutai and Senkoku islands in China sea: nationalism and economic reason (oil) push the two countries to find a solution for 2009.
There is also the rise of the nationalism who push each country to be proud and not trust the other side, this situation complicate more the efforts to reproach the two countries and each country wants to be better than the other. So each event is a tries to wake up this feeling. In fact all the government must to keep a public image of superiority about the other side in front of his population.
Examples of incidents; this atmosphere strained between the countries growth up each time than a problem happen: The chemical weapons forgotten by the Japanese during the WW2 in Heilongjiang, region north-east of China kills more than 30 persons, the insertion of one Chinese submarine in the Japanese’s water (error of navigation: Chinese version)or the football match between the two countries during the Asiatic’s cup made some troubles before the game.
The paradox appears when we observe that in spite of the fact that the diplomatic relation is strained, China and Japan are excellent economic partners.
Like we can observe on the last graph, China is became the second exterior market of Japan at the same level than the US since there the historical biggest exterior market of Japan. More than 15% of the Japanese production is exported to China, and 10 years ago it was just a little bit more than 5%.
On the top graph we can see that China represent in 2004 close than 18% of the global business of Japan.
We just saw the importance of the Chinese market for Japan who show us the good economical partnership between the two countries. Now China and Japan are dependent on of each other for the good health of their economy. This situation is more visible for Japan who since few years has no economic growth. On the others side China gains technologic transfer in sectors like electronic, research, industrial knowledge, etc…
But this paradoxal relationship between them not explain the Race of Diplomatic and economical influence in the Pacific region who represent now important issues for them in different sectors.
Normally when we look at the Pacific area, the first idea than we can have is that the most isolate part of the World. But for many reason this “uninteresting” part of the World become an important issue for China and Japan, and each country have it s own way to improve the relations with the most principal interlocutor of the region: the Pacific Islands Forum.
This Organization has 17 countries members, and the principal aim of the PIF is to develop a regional cooperation in Business, investments, energy, transport and economy.
The sign of the real interest of Japan and China is that they are the two main sponsors of the organization. Another example, two of the principal’s offices of the PIF are in China and Japan. We have to remember that Japan and China are not members of this organization.
Why this interest for the Pacific region?
To start let s try to explain the possible reasons of Japan. There is the fact that Japan has the biggest maritime fleet and all it economy depend of the faculty the export the products by ships. Also the economic partner n°1 of Japan is USA on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. We can easy understand that Japan want to secure the economical roads of it fleet. Another reason is that Japan wants to improve it place on the international diplomacy. And for that there are many chapters. First: about the reform of the Security Council of the United Nations. Japan looking after allies to vote during the General Assembly and all the block of countries are welcoming. Of course we can also talk the need of the country to be the number one actor on the region to stay strong in front of the rise of China which wants to be more and bigger at all the level, a little bit like the US’s strategy in South America. And for that Japan want more a cultural exportation with music, cloths, manga (japans comic) = way of life in those countries still “Young”. But also ; an economic helping for the development of that region. Unusual fact, a third actor comes in that race. The USA is not here to “participate” at the race but more to help the Japanese strategy. In fact USA did a campaign to promote the Japanese presence in the region. The fact is that USA doesn’t want that Chinese have a “direct access” to the US’s Western coast if they become the “big brother” of the Pacific region.
The Chinese’s strategy is more founded on economic reasons. China needs raw materials, and because of that China prospect everywhere with the idea to find a reserve of something that they need. There is also the fact that looking after food for it population. The fact is that this region is very rich of fish and so they wants to improve their presence in the region to control that resource. There is also the fact that China want also to secure the transport of their goods for the American market. The Chinese strategy is considered more aggressive than the Japanese one. China strategy is just resuming giving a lot of financial helping in those countries.