No schedule was set for territorial dispute talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it was unclear when such a widely anticipated meeting would take place. Last week tension ran high as China entered the airspace and naval zone of disputed islands. The Voice of Russia asked to comment this dispute to Martin Jaques, author of the best-seller “When China Rules the World” and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
The Senkaku Islands have been controlled by Japan since 1895, aside from a 1945 to 1972 period of administration by the United States. The People’s Republic of China and Taiwan disputed the US handover of authority back to Japan in 1971. And both countries have defended its claims to the territory since then.
Japan argues that it found the Islands to be the land belonging to no one back in 19th century.
Although the US does not have an official position on the issue, the Islands are included in the list of Mutual Cooperation, which means that the defense of the Islands by Japan would require the United States help.
The archipelago is very close to key shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds, and there may be oil reserves in the area.
In September of 2012 the Japanese government purchased three of the disputed islands from their private owners. This event prompted large-scale protests in China. The situation is now regarded as the most serious for Sino-Japanese relations in the post-war period.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary also said at the conference that bilateral ties were important and Japan’s door was open for Dialogue.
Martin Jaques – the author of the global best-seller “When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.” He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
China and Japan are great economic partners, but not quite good neighbors at that. What are the main irritants in relations? Japan’s role in WWII, disputed territory, fishing rights or whatever?
There are the immediate as it were contingent issues an you’ve just being describing the most important of those, which is the issue of the islands known by the Japanese as the Senkaku and by the Chinese as a Diaoyu Islands. And that is undoubtedly the most important flashpoint.
But underlying this problem is something I think much deeper and that is China-Japanese relationship really over a long period, more than a century really but especially the relationship between Japan and China between 1931 and 1945.
The Japanese occupied large parts of China during the last war with great brutality and in the eyes of the Chinese the Japanese have never really shown coefficient, they’ve apologized but the apology has been a sort of form of words in the eyes of the Chinese. And so it is not just at a government level, it is at a people level. There is to this day great resentment against Japan in China. This is very different from for example what happened in Europe.
I mean Germany of course did extraordinary things to its neighbors in the Second World War but the Germans showed a remarkable capacity to apologize and show coefficient. So, there is very little resentment against the Germans as the result of this. Japan has singularly failed to act in that kind of way, they’ve got a form of words but no one really believes them very much.
So, you would say that actually on the personal people level there is still some resentment towards Japan in general.
I think that is understating it. I think that you will find amongst many Chinese deep resentment against the Japanese. In my experience they will use words like “I hate the Japanese”. And this is simply because of the behavior of the Japanese in the last war and the failure of the Japanese apologies.
It is not just to China this problem exists because Japan’s failure really since the Second World War despite its remarkable economic success to enjoy what might be described as political and diplomatic cloud has never been realized and the reason why it has not been realized is I think essentially that its neighbors in varying degrees in East Asia continue to resent the Japanese because of this failure.
I will give you the classic example of this. 2005 there was the question of some new members of the Security Council and Japan understandably lobbied hard to be considered as a new member of the UN security council. But the Chinese organized in the region, in East Asia a mobilized campaign against Japan’s admission and they were overwhelmingly successful because East Asian countries still have a resentment towards Japan.
So, it is a bigger question. I mean this is amongst Chinese, Taiwan is also resentful still as you’d expect and Singapore but also for example Philippines. You have to remember that Japan occupied a lot of East Asian countries.