According to a report on Aug. 30 by Kyodo News (Japan), the Japanese government began carrying out a coordinated plan to launch comprehensive economic cooperation with Russia, despite still not making any progress on the issue of the territories of the “Four Northern Islands.” For many years, Japan has insisted that economic cooperation with Russia and settling the territorial dispute are linked together. Therefore, this report by Kyodo is nothing less than a sign of an important shift in Japanese policy toward Russia.
Shinzo Abe plans to attend this year’s Eastern Economic Forum, held in the Russian far eastern city of Vladivostok, on Sept. 2. When the time comes for the summit talks between the Japanese and Russian heads of state, the discussion will no doubt include the two countries’ eight economic cooperation proposals.
Japan’s actions here can easily be seen as trying to kill two birds with one stone. By improving the Japan-Russia relationship, the Japanese are also exerting more geopolitical pressure on China.
After attending the G20 summit meetings in southern China, Obama will visit Laos and attend an East Asian summit meeting there. He will be the first sitting American president to ever visit Laos. This is thought to be his last effort before leaving office to promote his “pivot to Asia” strategy. Laos simultaneously has good relations with China and Vietnam, but after a change in leadership this year, Western public opinion has constantly been claiming that Vientiane has taken one step closer to Hanoi, which will also make Laos take one step closer to the U.S.
Furthermore, in these last two days, India’s minister of defense has visited the U.S. and has signed a bilateral agreement stating that both nation’s militaries will be able to use the other’s bases. U.S. media has made it very clear that this should be seen as symbolizing India taking one step closer to an alliance with the U.S., Japan and Australia.
China appears to be surrounded more and more vigorously by U.S.-Japanese geopolitical attacks. If we prick up our ears, we can hear the shouts and mutters of the U.S. and Japan in their “small meetings” all around China’s borders; it appears they are trying awfully hard to sow dissension and scheme against China.
This kind of concern is not necessarily superfluous, but China still clearly cannot fall into this trap and allow its core interests be pulled into a crux by the U.S. and Japan. Twenty-first century geopolitics really isn’t like the traditional game of Go: The chief aim of every seed planted by China, the U.S. and Japan is not necessarily just to surround the other side involved. There is a very large overlap in present age international relations, and important affiliations are often multi-faceted in significance and meaning. Idiots are not sensitive to anything, but being too sensitive will make one neurotic.
We can see from China’s own foreign relations that the rest of the world is reading far too much into its “geopolitical” moves. For example, when a Chinese leader visits Cuba or Mexico, is it to encircle the U.S.? Or when China’s economic cooperation with Latin America develops very quickly, is it to dig around just outside the wall of America’s back garden? In Asia, Chinese investment in Sri Lanka has not stopped increasing. Is it because we are sowing seeds against India?
We believe that within the U.S. and Japan there exists a real force to compete against China geopolitically, and their aspirations on this issue are far more intense than China’s. But we should still be clear: When they rely on playing geopolitics, they cannot defeat China. This is firstly because China is too big, and secondly because the effort they are putting into it is nowhere near enough. The protective net Japan and the U.S. are weaving will never have enough power to strangle China. The only real use of its large scale is to create a false feeling of self-reassurance, a false idea that they could choke China.
Looking at the big picture, relative to China’s strength, the many deployments that the U.S. and Japan have been making around China are equivalent to laying out a spider web in front of a dragon. Myanmar is an important country that Japan and the U.S. have been focused on trying to rope in. Aung San Suu Kyi just recently visited China, and the China-Myanmar relationship is on a trend exactly opposite of U.S.-Japan desires.
A microcosm of the “stiffest battle” between China, the U.S. and Japan these last few years was the South China Sea arbitration case. The loss brought about by the case was supposed to cancel out China’s gains from construction on the islands, but China ended up on top. The large majority of people will most likely agree with this statement.
China has just recently become a great power of real significance, and isn’t especially familiar with the circumstances associated with this situation. The response by all sides that have flocked to China has been really quite dazzling. Our ability to judge no doubt still needs to continue to mature. When we don’t follow the norms completely, focus on what gives us real gain or real loss, and on what only makes us lose face, this is our safest and most reliable measuring stick.
China wants to develop a modern national defense force, while at the same time it must maintain long-term economic vitality. Furthermore, China must constantly expand its horizons and vision, as being a great power is the only way for us to walk forward steadily. Russia’s military is strong, but its economy is weak; its strength and weakness are very prominent. China’s military strength must improve until it is at a level sufficient to allow us to ignore military pressure from any foreign nation. In the long term, China’s economy will continue booming, it will maintain the posture needed to overtake America, and it will hold on to its enduring attractiveness to various nations. China’s comprehensive national strength will be changed to providing the base for everyday superiority.
Concentrating its efforts on taking care of its own business will forever be China’s number one priority and in the midst of the Asia-Pacific geopolitical clamor, this truth is something we must not forget.