Saturday, April 23, 2005

China-Japan Spat to end finally?

At last there seems to be some good news for diffusing the tensions between Japan and China. The first ray of hope emerged when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made known his intentions for a dialog, sent his Foreign Minister to Beijing and openly showed interests to hold a dialog with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Afro-Asian summit in Jakarta.

Although Chinese were not so forthcoming, they at least did not screw up anything in the last few days. They did some good to diffuse tensions, albeit in their typical communist way. China is scaling down anti-Japanese protests and has reportedly warned those holding protests without state’s approval of dire consequences. This will obviously work, because nobody in China has the guts to go against the government.

The icing on the cake came just few minutes ago when Junichiro Koizumi, publicly apologized for the atrocities committed by Imperial Japan. This is what Reuters says:

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized on Friday for the "tremendous damage and suffering" caused by Japan's wartime past in an apparent effort to help douse a flaming row with China.

Koizumi made the apology during a speech at a multilateral summit in Jakarta in front of leaders from 100 Asian and African countries including Chinese President Hu Jintao, whom he is likely to meet in the coming days.

I can already sense that “anger” in Chinese coming down! How do I know? Well, the number of hate mails that our Chinese colleagues used to dish out to company-wide mailing list has significantly reduced. In fact it is almost nil. There isn’t even a single hate mail since Tuesday. Good for them! Well after all everyone wants to see China maintain it’s aggressive economic growth rate so that they can benefit from it!

I have been closely observing this latest China-Japan spat and it is interesting to note that Japanese have been quite soft and mellowed-down during the whole episode. Are they really that way? I don’t think so. Even though they may be sincere in diffusing the tensions, the soft approach they took basically stems from the bad timing (for Japanese). With Japanese economy still struggling to show a decent growth and China emerging as Japan’s largest trading partner, fight with China is the last thing Japan wants. So Japan seems to have though smart and let go jingoistic national pride for economic growth and stability.

As for China, it maybe grinning with an ugly smile and might even claim to have brought Japan on its knees. After all it provided them a chance to let the super-heated steam out! Since almost every Chinese has let his “anger” against Japan, no steam left in him. So Communist bosses made their seats safe for few more years by shifting the window. An old technique, how long will it last?


At April 22, 2005 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post...curious if you're seeing any "official response" in the state media on the apology...tough to get a sense on local reactions here in the US.



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