Sunday, September 19, 2010

China Japan Islands Scuffle: Art of War or just sandbag punches?


"Faint disorder and crush your enemy. If your opponent is in anger, irritate him and pretend to be weak that he can grow arrogant..."

Sun Tzu

Probably a very Asian local brawl, born from a New Age type conflict, result of quick industrialization and quick made money, rather than born from a complex geo-strategic battle. Just checking the human intelligence relations between power breakers and this looks quite simple. More noise than violence. "Fog should dissipate on the troubled waters soon in the region's interests", according to informed sources.

September 18th China celebration of the Manchurian incident 79 years ago went smooth although, media said, it was aggravated by the arrest of a Chinese fishing boat Captain after a row in the Senkoku Daioyu waters, and, at a moment chosen by China while a floating atmosphere reigned in Tokyo when the government was in a prime minister job election process. Fog should soon dissipate... as Sun Tzu added: "No King should go to war in anger, and anger may change to joy."

Today, I chose a few reports from some agencies, describing the mood and as illustration that of course this chapter of recent events carries on with the "test your nation's guts" trade mark. Crowds were not there, let's be clear.

So, things should settle and this is why Beijing cooled down Chinese citizens, netizens, demonstrators and its cyber fighters to the minimum level of complaints tolerated, and certainly not to reach level of an international crisis as some would dream to read about, or, papers hoping for the good sales kickoff.

Hong Kong

"Anti-Japan protesters hold banner written "Get out" during a march in Hong Kong on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010. Protesters in several cities across China marked a politically sensitive anniversary Saturday with anti-Japan chants and banners, as authorities tried to stop anger over a diplomatic spat between the Asian giants from getting out of control. Ever-present anti-Japanese sentiment in China has been inflamed in recent weeks by Japan's arrest of a Chinese captain after his fishing boat collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels in waters near an island group claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing. Japan has returned the boat and its crew but holds the captain. China has demanded his release. Around 50 protesters gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing Saturday, waving the Chinese national flag and telling Japan to "get out of the Diaoyu Islands," all while marking the 79th anniversary of Japan's invasion of China. Sirens also wailed across major Chinese cities, including Harbin, Xi'an, Changchun and Chengdu, to mark the date, which served as another chance to protest Tokyo's seizure and continued detainment of a Chinese fishing boat captain." (Global Times)

"The demonstrators were not allowed to linger long outside the Japanese Embassy. Instead, guided at times by police, the crowd wended its way through the streets until it reached the Foreign Ministry. Then the protesters stood across the street and shouted a few more slogans, pumping their fists all the while. "Chinese government, stand up!" "Crush the traitors!" ...A demonstration of any kind is rare in this tightly controlled nation, and Saturday's protest was a deliberately understated affair. The marchers were carefully monitored by rings of police, who moved through the protest with an almost methodical choreography. But riskier drama unfolded on the edges of the main event, and in the days leading up to Saturday's protest, as China's unruly "netizens" threatened to infiltrate the demonstration for their own purposes, the government raced in the final days to downplay plans for protest. The struggle, much of which unfolded on the Internet before Saturday had dawned, gave a keen illustration of the razor's edge walked by the Chinese government as it basks in renewed nationalism while keeping a tight grip on any expressions of political discontent." (L.A. Times)

"Authorities in recent days sought to forestall protests. The website of the China Federation for Defending Diaoyutai remained offline Saturday, and messages about organizing protests were largely scrubbed from Internet bulletin boards. Still, the state-run Chongqing Evening News reported Saturday that hundreds of residents in the southwestern city "spontaneously" gathered to mark the anniversary and sing anti-Japanese songs. The newspaper also reported about 1,000 soldiers, students and others in the northeast city of Changchun gathered in front of a monument marking the "Mukden Incident," vowing to remember history. Beijing has stated that the arrest of the fishing captain could damage relations and has summoned Japan's ambassador, Uichiro Niwa, five times. The Japanese government made no public comment Saturday on the protests, the boat incident or the anniversary." (Ap)

"... A year ago, when Japan's centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to power, its first premier Yukio Hatoyama said he wanted closer ties with East Asia, especially China. Hatoyama called the East China Sea a "Sea of Fraternity" and promoted the idea of an EU-style Asian Community, while unsettling Washington with a plan, since abandoned, to move a US airbase off Japan's Okinawa island. But conservative politicians and the defense bureaucracy have long pointed with alarm at China's defence spending and growing military muscle. In its annual defence white paper on September 10, Japan criticised China's lack of transparency in military spending and its recent naval activities as "a matter of concern for the region and the international community". A Pentagon report last month said China was ramping up investment in nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, submarines and aircraft carriers, building up a force that could strike as far as the US territory of Guam. Last Wednesday former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage said on a Tokyo visit that in the ongoing row China was "testing" Japan..." (Afp)

Rich waters

To end, this interesting report of Today's Global Times about this China Japan territorial quarrel, realized on the conflict zone, it shows more sense of realism than as read in the inflamed Japanese media lately.

"The Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) set four cordons surrounding the Diaoyu Islands in a bid to block Chinese boats from accessing the area, a Chinese skipper told the Global Times on Wednesday. "The first cordon lies 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) off the islands. If a Chinese ship breaks two cordons, the JCG may take action to have it seized," said Shen Changling, captain of the vessel Fishery Administration 202..."

The full report here, worth reading

Sources: Agencies, Global Times, LA Times, Ap, Afp, Yomiuri, Reporter's notes

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