Saturday, May 28, 2005

Gas dispute in East China Sea

Japan confirmed its plan to ask China about details of
China's natural gas projects in the East China Sea next
week, while in Beijing China said it does not want to
see the latest flare-up between the two countries cast a
shadow over the bilateral meeting. The two countries
have arranged a working-level meeting to help resolve
the row over the Chinese gas development projects.

The gas dispute, which will be discussed in a two-day
meeting in Beijing beginning Monday, centers on the
Chunxiao field, which has estimated reserves of over
1,600bn cubic feet of gas. The field lies well within
China's self-declared economic exclusion zone (EEZ), but
straddles the two countries? territories as defined by

China drilling installation is only 4km from the
median line that Japan claims is the internationally
accepted standard for determining sea rights, prompting
complaints that China is in danger of sucking gas from
Japan's side of the reserve.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Japan "sloppy" diplomacy towards armed neighbors.

Japan, Russia still tread cautiously 100 years after
decisive sea battle while both navies acquire new
equipments. Japan with 54 destroyers is beyond its mission
of self defense. Enough to worry its ex foe.


Russia's Navy is set to acquire 10 to 20 new battleships
by 2015 that will set it back 5 to 10 billion rubles per
frigate, Biznes, a business daily, reported.

The keels of a new frigate and a new large amphibious
landing ship will be laid July 31 on Navy Day, said
Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, commander-in-chief of the
Russian Navy.

The new Mk 22350 multi-role and long-range frigate will
conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations, hitting
other naval targets. It will take three or four years
to complete one frigate, if this project gets regular

"Most likely, this project will feature engineering
solutions that were used to build Mk 11356 frigates for
the Indian Navy," Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director
of the Center for Analyzing Strategies and Technologies,

"This is, in fact, a large destroyer that is called a
'frigate' for political reasons," Mikhail Barabanov,
scientific editor of Arms Exports magazine, said.

Experts have some misgivings about the July 31 deadline
because a contract is usually awarded after a tender,
but as of yet, no tender has been laid out.

According to the navy's Kuroyedov, the keel of a new
large amphibious-landing ship will be finished before
the year is out. That ship will displace 8,000 to 9,000

"The Russian Navy still has two amphibious landing ships
that are unfit for action," Barabanov said. "It will
take at least five billion rubles to build this ship."

If the tender is completed and the contract signed,
these will be the first new ships for the navy since the
year the Soviet Union collapsed, a navy source said.

"Not a single warship has been designed and built for
the Russian Navy since 1991," he said, adding that the
state has now started setting aside money.

The Russian military ship building industry's recovery
has positively influenced armed exports.

"Naval hardware sales will account for 50% of Russian
arms-export volumes, or more than $2.5 billion this
year," Rosoboronexport head Sergei Chemezov said."

Yet, celebrations of the battle of the Tsushima went on,


"One hundred years after Japan crushed Russia at sea and
cemented its role as a global military power, the two
countries are moving cautiously but without much hope to
resolve one of Japan's most protracted disputes.

Japanese military veterans voice open frustration that
little progress has been made to settle the row over
four islands seized by the Soviet Union in 1945 that has
prevented the two neighbors from formally ending World
War II.

But it was a much earlier anniversary that brought some
500 people, from veterans to officials and military
officers from the two countries, to a mass tea ceremony
in the naval port of Yokosuka at the mouth of Tokyo Bay.

The ceremony, a refined Japanese tradition to mark
momentous occasions, took place in front of the restored
Mikasa, the flagship vessel a century ago at the Battle
of Tsushima, known in Japan as the Sea of Japan Naval

In the battle, which broke out on May 27, 1905 in the
Tsushima Straits off the Korean Peninsula, Japan nearly
wiped out the Russian fleet in just two days, virtually
ending two years of war in one of the most total naval
victories in history.

The victory shocked Russia, which doubted it had a match
in the Asian nation that just 37 years earlier had
broken out of centuries of self-isolation.

Historians credit the victory with proving Japan's
independence in Western eyes -- but also planting the
seeds of its will to conquer Asia and ultimately suffer
defeat three decades later.

"We have come to a turning point this year," Kenjiro
Moji, counsellor of the Defense Agency, told the
ceremony Tuesday in front of a bronze statue of the
Mikasa's commander, Admiral Heihachiro Togo.

"We are commemorating not only the 100th anniversary of
Japan-Russia War but also the 150th anniversary of the
beginning of relations between Japan and Russia and the
60th anniversary of the end of World War II," said Moji.

"This year, we are to take a fresh step toward the next
half century," he said. "There is room for big progress
in our ties. Through this kind of ceremony, we hope the
Japan-Russia relations will further develop."

One sign of progress came in early May when Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi accepted President Vladimir
Putin's invitation and took part in ceremonies in Moscow
marking the end of World War II in Europe.

"It is necessary for the two countries to develop
relations at a time when we recall various historical
events this year," said Mikhail Galuzin, counsellor and
deputy head of the Russian embassy in Tokyo.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due in Tokyo
next week to discuss arrangements for a delayed visit to
Tokyo by Putin, Galuzin said on the deck of the Mikasa,
which is now open to visitors:

"I think his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister
(Nobutaka) Machimura will be a very important one."

For Japan, ties with Russia are all the more important
now as Tokyo is desperately seeking a permanent seat on
the United Nations Security Council -- an ambition
opposed by China, which accuses Japan of not atoning for
its World War II atrocities.

But Japanese veterans doubt Japan and Russia can strike
a deal on this year of anniversaries. Japan has
demanded the return of all four Kuril islands just off
the coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.

"Japan's diplomacy is really sloppy now," said Sadao
Kawakatsu, 82, a former sub-lieutenant of Japan's
wartime navy.

"We are frustrated with the slow pace of talks," said
Kawakatsu, wearing a white navy cap.

"Grassroots cooperation is going well like the Japanese
saying, 'Yesterday's enemy is today's friend'," he said.
"But at the political level, disappointment has

Masayuki Takemiya, another 82-year-old former
sub-lieutenant, said: "The two governments should end
this abnormal situation -- Japan and Russia are still in
a state of war."

Takemiya added: "The two countries must move forward
step by step. But I doubt that Japan can settle the
issue and get the islands back from Russia in a short

Russia has suggested handing back two of the four
islands, which Moscow recognized as Japanese after the
1905 defeat. Soviet troops in 1945 evicted the
residents of the Kurils, known in Japan as the Northern
Territories, and replaced them with Russian settlers.

Foreign minister Machimura told a Japanese newspaper
last week: "If the two countries are to reach an
agreement, that would mean both would have to compromise
on something. Nothing will be born if we only act on
the basis of principles."

Koizumi, however, has refused anything but the return of
all four islands.

But Sen Genshitsu, the grand tea master who led the
intricate ceremony, has not given up hope.

"We must have these kinds of events more often so that
we can understand each other at the level of people"

"The important thing is heart-to-heart dialogue. If my
tea ceremony can help develop Japan-Russia relations,
I'm happy to lead the ceremony again and again."

End of quotes

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Japanese papers blame Junichiro Koizumi for meeting cancellation with Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi

Question is : Did Wu Yi really mean to meet Koizumi?
This question is even not asked by Japanese media...

Quote :

Japanese papers have blamed Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi's refusal to give up visiting a war shrine for
the sudden cancellation of a meeting with Chinese Vice
Premier Wu Yi, saying an opportunity was missed to
improve tense ties.

Wu on Monday cut short her visit to Japan by one day by
cancelling a meeting with Koizumi. Beijing said only
she had pressing duties at home but later hinted the
shrine issue was the reason.

"It is very likely that Koizumi's remarks on his visit
to the Yasukuni shrine has caused the cancellation," the
liberal daily Mainichi Shimbun said in an editorial.

The Mainichi said Wu's cancellation was "extremely
unprecedented" under diplomatic protocol, adding: "It
was very unfortunate since the meeting could have been a
step toward improving Sino-Japanese relations."

A day before Wu's arrival in Japan, Koizumi indicated to
a parliamentary committee on May 16 that he would again
visit the war shrine, which venerates 2.5 million
Japanese war dead including 14 top war criminals.

Beijing has repeatedly demanded Koizumi stop his
pilgrimage to Yasukuni while Chinese President Hu Jintao
on Sunday told senior Japanese ruling lawmakers in
Beijing that visits to the war shrine were endangering

Wu kept her appointments in Tokyo with business leaders,
meeting the chairman of Toyota Motor and addressing a
forum hosted by the Japanese financial daily the Nihon
Keizai Shimbun.

The Nihon Keizai in an editorial Tuesday also
interpreted Wu's abrupt departure as a response to the
shrine row.

Quoting Japanese government sources, the country's
top-selling daily Yomiuri Shimbun said Koizumi's war
shrine visit was likey "the direct cause" for Wu's