Ordinarily some new move in the ongoing slapfight between elements of the Chinese and Japanese governments wouldn’t be terribly newsworthy, but I’m including this because it’s an example of the way the relationship between China and almost all of her neighbors has degraded recently:
Japan intensified its rhetoric against China’s military, accusing Beijing for the first time of “assertiveness” and saying it needs to keep a closer watch on how China views the contested waters between the two countries.
Japanese government officials stressed that the new language—contained in an annual white paper released Tuesday and approved by the cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan—shouldn’t be seen as a cause for alarm. “This is one way of expressing our hope that China will address these issues through friendly relations,” said Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Still, the paper underscores the rising tensions between China and a number of its neighbors over similar regional issues. China has bumped heads with Vietnam and the Philippines over territorial claims in the South China Sea. Beijing also publicly sparred with Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, on his visit to China last month over U.S. joint military exercises with those two countries.
The paper also details what it said was China’s “frictions” with other countries, including “unbalanced trade, currency and human-rights issues.” “China is expected to acknowledge responsibility as a superpower, abide by international standards and play a more active and cooperative role toward regional and global issues,” it added.
The white paper had previously cited China’s lack of transparency in its military capabilities and its defense spending, but had focused its strongest criticism on domestic issues such as corruption, pollution and issues involving ethnic minorities.
The U-Shaped Line angering almost all of Southeast Asia, ongoing fights with India over NEFA/Zangnan and Pakistan (which is itself now being accused of giving Uyghur terrorists safe haven), the usual tensions with South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan… it isn’t a coincidence that neighbors in all directions are feeling less and less secure next to China.