Obama Accuses China of Flexing Muscle in Disputes with Neighbors

Matt Spetalnick and Nathan Layne
Reuters
Obama said a strong U.S.-Japan alliance should not be seen as a provocation to China.

Commentary: South China Sea No Showcase for U.S.-Japanese Alliance

Zhu Dongyang
Xinhua
As long as Japan refuses to face WWII atrocities, the world community will never loosen the screw.

China on My Mind: U.S.-Japan Visit Mostly About Beijing, State Media Says

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
U.S.-Japan talks mainly served to throw into relief concerns about China.

Sinica Podcast

04.27.15

Nationalism and Censorship

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Christopher Cairns joins the hosts of Sinica for a discussion of his forthcoming paper, co-authored with Allen Carlson, scheduled for publication in China Quarterly. Why are we so interested in this topic? Because Cairns and his colleagues at...

Books

04.23.15

Intimate Rivals

Sheila A. Smith
No country feels China’s rise more deeply than Japan. Through intricate case studies of visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, conflicts over the boundaries of economic zones in the East China Sea, concerns about food safety, and strategies of island defense, Sheila A. Smith explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China.Smith finds that Japan’s interactions with China extend far beyond the negotiations between diplomats and include a broad array of social actors intent on influencing the Sino-Japanese relationship. Some of the tensions complicating Japan’s encounters with China, such as those surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine or territorial disputes, have deep roots in the postwar era, and political advocates seeking a stronger Japanese state organize themselves around these causes. Other tensions manifest themselves during the institutional and regulatory reform of maritime boundary and food safety issues.Smith scrutinizes the role of the Japanese government in coping with contention as China’s influence grows and Japanese citizens demand more protection. Underlying the government’s efforts is Japan’s insecurity about its own capacity for change and its waning status as the leading economy in Asia. For many, China’s rise means Japan’s decline, and Smith suggests how Japan can maintain its regional and global clout as confidence in its postwar diplomatic and security approach diminishes.—Columbia University Press{chop}

Xi Jinping of China and Shinzo Abe of Japan Meet Amid Slight Thaw in Ties

Jane Perlez
New York Times
The meeting signaled a continued slight warming in otherwise frosty relations between Asia’s two top economies.

Shinzo Abe and Japan’s History

New York Times
But Japan cannot credibly help the U.S. to counter China in Asia if it seeks to repudiate criticism of its past.

Sinica Podcast

03.30.15

Comfort Women and the Struggle for Reparations

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser talks with Lucy Hornby, China correspondent for the Financial Times and author of a recent piece on China’s last surviving Chinese comfort women and their longstanding and often futile attempt to seek reparations in both China and Japan.Also...

China, Japan Start First Security Talks in Four Years

Kiyoshi Takenaka
Reuters
Step aimed at thawing ties plagued by the legacy of Japan’s wartime aggression and a territorial dispute. 

Media

03.04.15

The Other China

Michael Meyer & Ian Buruma
Writers Michael Meyer and Ian Buruma engage in a discussion co-sponsored by The New York Review of Books centered on Meyer’s new book, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, which combines immersion...

China, Russia to Mark 70th Anniversary of End of WWII in Show of Unity |

Laura Zhou
South China Morning Post
Military parades marking anniversary give two nations platform to offset U.S. influence while diplomats reassure Japan.

China Building Base Near Isles Disputed With Japan, Kyodo Says

Ting Shi
Bloomberg
The dispute over the East China Sea islets—known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese—clouds ties that remain fractious even after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing last month. Encounters between...

Out of the Deep Freeze

The Economist
Economist
The thorn in the side of relations is Japan’s Senkaku islands, which China claims and calls the Diaoyus. Chinese aircraft and coastguard vessels have greatly raised tensions from 2012 onwards, by making incursions around the Senkakus.

Frosty Meeting at APEC Could Be Start of Thaw Between China and Japan

Jane Perlez
New York Times
The meeting between President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan lasted only 25 minutes, less than half the time usually given to formal encounters between the leaders of two nations.

Japan Warns China Coral Poachers

Toko Sekiguchi
Wall Street Journal
Top Japanese officials on Tuesday warned coral poachers to stay out of the country’s territorial waters after arresting six Chinese nationals suspected of hunting illegally for precious red corals in recent weeks.

China Says It Will Be Good Host to Japan During APEC

Reuters
Voice of America
A one-on-one meeting would be a symbolic breakthrough in ties between the world's second- and third-biggest economies, which have turned frigid in the past two years over a territorial row...

Books

09.11.14

Powerful Patriots

Jessica Chen Weiss
Why has the Chinese government sometimes allowed and sometimes repressed nationalist, anti-foreign protests? What have been the international consequences of these choices? Anti-American demonstrations were permitted in 1999 but repressed in 2001 during two crises in U.S.-China relations. Anti-Japanese protests were tolerated in 1985, 2005, and 2012 but banned in 1990 and 1996. Protests over Taiwan, the issue of greatest concern to Chinese nationalists, have never been allowed. To explain this variation in China's response to nationalist mobilization, Powerful Patriots argues that Chinese and other authoritarian leaders weigh both diplomatic and domestic incentives to allow and repress nationalist protests. Autocrats may not face electoral constraints, but anti-foreign protests provide an alternative mechanism by which authoritarian leaders can reveal their vulnerability to public pressure. Because nationalist protests are costly to repress and may turn against the government, allowing protests demonstrates resolve and increases the domestic cost of diplomatic concessions. Repressing protests, by contrast, sends a credible signal of reassurance, facilitating diplomatic flexibility and signaling a willingness to spend domestic political capital for the sake of international cooperation. To illustrate the logic, the book traces the effect of domestic and diplomatic factors in China's management of nationalist protest in the post-Mao era (1978-2012) and the consequences for China's foreign relations.—Oxford University Press {chop}

Majority in China Expect War with Japan

Demitri Sevastopulo
Financial Times
China and Japan are heading towards military conflict, according to a majority of Chinese surveyed on ties between the Asian powers in a Sino-Japanese poll.

Japanese People Hate China More Than Ever

Megumi Fujikawa
Wall Street Journal
More than half of Japanese respondents who had a negative impression of China thought the country’s actions were incompatible with international rules.

Could China’s Anti-Japan Propaganda Hurt Alibaba’s Image at Home?

Offbeat China
With Alibaba's IPO price set between $60 to $66, the company’s market valuation could hit as much as $200 billion, if everything goes as planned...

Viewpoint

09.02.14

The Danger of China’s ‘Chosen Trauma’

Harry W.S. Lee
When we see young Chinese people at a state event collectively chant, “Do not forget national humiliation and realize the Chinese dream!” we may be tempted to dismiss it as yet another piece of CCP propaganda. But we may also find ourselves...

Japan’s Abe Avoids Yasukuni Shrine

Anna Fifield
Washington Post
Japanese prime minister skips visit to controversial shrine to war dead in hopes of meeting with China’s Presidnet Xi Jinping.

China Says Japan Fighter Jets Shadowed its Planes over Disputed Waters

Michael Martina
Reuters
Tension has been high between Asia's two largest economies in recent months, with each accusing the other of flying military aircraft too close to its own jets in a long-running territorial dispute...

China’s Leaders Draw Lessons From War of ‘Humiliation’

CHRIS BUCKLEY
New York Times
The lessons from the twilight of the Qing Dynasty have become all the more pointed today, when Chinese-Japanese ties are tenser than they have been for decades, and President Xi Jinping of China has embarked on an ambitious program to overhaul the...

The Diplomatic Battle Between China and Japan is Taking a Latin American Road Trip

Lily Kuo
Quartz
When Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe appeals to officials and business people in Central and South America this week, his hosts will be comparing him to another recent visitor: Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Japan’s Opposition Leader Visits Beijing, Vows Candid Talks

Li Xiaokun
China Daily
Banri Kaieda, who arrived in Beijing on July 15, told journalists that he would discuss with high-ranking Chinese officials ways to break the impasse in ties and smooth out disputes China has with current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

With Tensions Rising, Japanese Investment in China Plummets

Dexter Roberts
Businessweek
Another consequence of the worsening Sino-Japanese relations: Japanese investment into China dropped by nearly half in the first six month of 2014, according to a new report by China’s Ministry of Commerce.

China’s State Media Goes Into Overdrive Over the Marco Polo Incident

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
President Xi Jinping led other members of the leadership to the area on the western outskirts of Beijing where 77 years ago Japanese troops attacked Chinese soldiers. The 1937 skirmish led to Japan invading much of eastern China and...

Is Xi Jinping Trying to Provoke Anger Against Japan?

Celia Hatton
BBC
More than 1,000 top Communist officials, military veterans and young children, turned out for a highly choreographed memorial marking the Marco Polo bridge incident which sparked the Sino-Japanese in 1937.

Is Japan Targeting China in Next Move?

Xinhua
The Japanese government’s endorsing of a reinterpretation of its pacifist Constitution on Tuesday for the right to collective self-defense is a dangerous move that will lead to security worries for other Asian countries.

Books

06.25.14

Chinese Comfort Women

Peipei Qiu with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei
During the Asia-Pacific War, the Japanese military forced hundreds of thousands of women across Asia into "comfort stations" where they were repeatedly raped and tortured. Japanese imperial forces claimed they recruited women to join these stations in order to prevent the mass rape of local women and the spread of venereal disease among soldiers. In reality, these women were kidnapped and coerced into sexual slavery. Comfort stations institutionalized rape, and these "comfort women" were subjected to atrocities that have only recently become the subject of international debate.Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Japan's Imperial Sex Slaves features the personal narratives of twelve women forced into sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied their hometowns. Beginning with their prewar lives and continuing through their enslavement to their postwar struggles for justice, these interviews reveal that the prolonged suffering of the comfort station survivors was not contained to wartime atrocities but was rather a lifelong condition resulting from various social, political, and cultural factors. In addition, their stories bring to light several previously hidden aspects of the comfort women system: the ransoms the occupation army forced the victims' families to pay, the various types of improvised comfort stations set up by small military units throughout the battle zones and occupied regions, and the sheer scope of the military sexual slavery—much larger than previously assumed. The personal narratives of these survivors combined with the testimonies of witnesses, investigative reports, and local histories also reveal a correlation between the proliferation of the comfort stations and the progression of Japan's military offensive.The first English-language account of its kind, Chinese Comfort Women exposes the full extent of the injustices suffered by and the conditions that caused them. —Oxford University Press {chop}

China, Japan Blame Each Other for Jet Encounter

Mari Yamaguchi and Matthew Pennington
Washington Post
The Chinese government released video that purports to show Japanese fighter planes flying dangerously close to a Chinese fighter planes over the disputed waters of the East China Sea.

Japan Slams China Over Close Encounter of Jets

Washington Post
Japan lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing on Wednesday after Chinese military jets flew near Japanese military aircraft over the East China Sea, an official said.

Reports

06.01.14

Decoding China’s Emerging “Great Power” Strategy in Asia

Christopher K. Johnson, Ernest Z. Bower, Victor D. Cha, Michael J. Green, Matthew P. Goodman
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
The course charted by China’s reemergence as a great power over the next few decades represents the primary strategic challenge for the U.S.-Japan security alliance and for the East Asian security landscape writ large. If China’s economic, military...

Abe’s Attempt to Corner China Through Diplomacy

Clint Richards
Diplomat
Japan is reaching out to Southeast Asia and seeking to control the discourse around its new security policy.

Your 3-Letter Guide to the Latest News From China

James Fallows
Atlantic
Those three letters are B, A, and D.

Close Call as China Scrambles Fighter Jets on Japanese Aircraft in Disputed Territory

Tim Hume
CNN
The fly-bys occurred in airspace claimed by both countries as part of their "air defense identification zones," while China carried out joint maritime exercises with Russia at the weekend...

China warns Japan, Philippines Accuses China in Maritime Spat

Sui-Lee Wee and Manuel Mogato
Reuters
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Smooth Path to Pearl Harbor

Rana Mitter from New York Review of Books
In mid-February, as part of the plans for his official visit to Germany, Chinese President Xi Jinping asked to visit one of Berlin’s best-known sites: Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The request was declined when it became...

China Releases Japanese Wartime Documents: State Media

Alexandra Harney
Reuters
The publication comes during a fraught period in Japan-China relations. Last week, Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines paid $29 million for the release of a ship seized by China over a dispute that dates back to the 1930s...

Media

04.25.14

Bieliebers They Are Not—Chinese Outraged by Singer’s Tokyo Shrine Visit

Justin Bieber has once again displayed his talent for seemingly effortless international gaffes. The twenty-year-old Canadian pop princeling, who last year wrote “hopefully she would have been a Belieber” in the guestbook on his visit to the Anne...

The Shadow over Obama’s Asia Trip: 3 Ways China Scares the U.S.

Ishaan Tharoor
Washington Post
The Balance of Power in the Pacific; China’s global footprint; and friendship with Russia

Obama: U.S. To Defend Japan In Territorial Disputes With China

Anthony Kuhn
NPR
President Obama is in Japan for the start of his four-nation Asia visit. The trip aims to assure U.S. allies that they're not forgotten, even as China gets more bullish with its neighbors...

China Court Frees Japanese Ship After Unprecedented Seizure

Chris Cooper and Kiyotaka Matsuda
Bloomberg
A Chinese court released a Japanese ship owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. after the cargo carrier paid compensation for the loss of two vessels leased from a Chinese company before the two countries went to war in 1937.

Why China’s Economy is Still Lagging Japan

Katie Holiday
CNBC
The quality of growth in China's economy is questionable, which becomes evident when comparing it with Japan, analysts at Standard & Poors pointed out in a note...

China Won’t Necessarily Observe New Conduct Code for Navies

Jeremy Page
Wall Street Journal
Code Approved This Week by 21 Naval Powers Isn't Legally Binding...

America Should Step Back from the East China Sea Dispute

Wu Xinbo
New York Times
The Diaoyu Islands, which are of little real strategic or economic use, are hardly worth disrupting relations among the world’s three largest economies. It is time to put the issue back into a box.

Conversation

04.22.14

What Obama Should Say About China in Japan

Yuki Tatsumi, Ely Ratner & more
On Wednesday, Barack Obama will land in Tokyo beginning a week-long trip to four of China's neighbors—but not to China itself.In Obama’s stops in Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, and Kuala Lampur, the specter of China will loom large. This will be...

Conversation

04.12.14

China, Japan, and the U.S.—Will Cooler Heads Prevail?

Ely Ratner, Hugh White & more
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's whirlwind tour of China this week saw a tense exchange with his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, over the intention behind America's "pivot" to Asia, followed by a more measured back-and...

Books

04.09.14

Poseidon

Steven R. Schwankert
Royal Navy submarine HMS Poseidon sank in collision with a Chinese freighter during routine exercises in 1931 off Weihaiwei. Thirty of its fifty-six-man crew scrambled out of the hatches as it went down. Of the twenty-six who remained inside, eight attempted to surface using "Davis gear," an early form of diving equipment: six of them made it safely to the surface in the first escape of this kind in submarine history and became heroes. The incident was then forgotten, eclipsed by the greater drama that followed in World War II, until news emerged that, for obscure reasons, the Chinese government had salvaged the wrecked submarine in 1972. This lively account of the Poseidon incident tells the story of the accident and its aftermath, and of the author’s own quest to find out about the 1972 salvage. —Hong Kong University Press {chop}{node, 4183, 3}

In a Test of Wills With China, U.S. Sticks Up for Japan

Helene Cooper
New York Times
For the first time, China will host the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, a meeting every two years of countries that border the Pacific Ocean.

Books

04.01.14

The Contest of the Century

Geoff Dyer
From the former Financial Times Beijing bureau chief, a balanced and far-seeing analysis of the emerging competition between China and the United States that will dominate twenty-first-century world affairs—an inside account of Beijing’s quest for influence and an explanation of how America can come out on top. The structure of global politics is shifting rapidly. After decades of rising, China has entered a new and critical phase where it seeks to turn its economic heft into global power. In this deeply informed book, Geoff Dyer makes a lucid and convincing argument that China and the United States are now embarking on a great power–style competition that will dominate the century. This contest will take place in every arena: from control of the seas, where China’s new navy is trying to ease the United States out of Asia and reassert its traditional leadership, to rewriting the rules of the global economy, with attempts to turn the renminbi into the predominant international currency, toppling the dominance of the U.S. dollar. And by investing billions to send its media groups overseas, Beijing hopes to shift the global debate about democracy and individual rights. Eyeing the high ground of international politics, China is taking the first steps in an ambitious global agenda. Yet Dyer explains how China will struggle to unseat the United States. China’s new ambitions are provoking intense anxiety, especially in Asia, while America’s global influence has deep roots. If Washington can adjust to a world in which it is no longer dominant but still immensely powerful, it can withstand China’s challenge. With keen insight based on a deep local knowledge—offering the reader visions of coastal Chinese beauty pageants and secret submarine bases, lockstep Beijing military parades and the neon media screens of Xinhua exported to New York City’s Times Square—The Contest of the Century is essential reading at a time of great uncertainty about America’s future, a road map for retaining a central role in the world.  —Knopf {chop}

Mr. Abe’s Dangerous Revisionism

The Editorial Board
New York Times
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s use of revisionist history is a dangerous provocation for East Asia, which is already struggling with China’s aggressive stance in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.

Nurturing History’s Miseries

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
The lurch to the political right by the Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe so fraught with danger because it plays into poisonous memories of Japan in China. 

China, Eyeing Japan, Seeks WW2 Focus for Xi During Germany Visit

Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina
Reuters
Diplomatic sources said Germany did not want to get dragged into the dispute between China and Japan, and dislikes China constantly bringing up Germany's painful past...

China’s Television War on Japan

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The state prohibits content that “incites ethnic hatred,” yet according to Southern Weekly more than 70 anti-Japanese TV series were screened in China in 2012. The result of this stream of rancor is just what you’d expect. &...

Commentary: Philippine Leader's Senseless Attack Against China Smells of Amateurish Politician

Ming Jinwei
Xinhua
A Xinhua writer fiercely responds to Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III’s comparison of China to Nazy Germany.

Taiwan: The Winner in the China-Japan Row?

Jens Kastner
Al Jazeera
Dispute between two powers results in unexpected benefits for tiny Taiwan's fishing industry...

China is Playing Chicken with the U.S. Military in the South China Sea

Benjamin Carlson
Global Post
Vessels from the U.S. military and other countries increasingly find themselves in high-stakes confrontations in the region.

United Against China?

The Editorial Board
New York Times
Japan invests in India, and the two countries prepare for potential hostility from China.