Last month, Sino-Japanese relations soured greatly when a row over disputed islands led to violent anti-Japanese protests across
China. The row hurt
trade relations between the two countries and despite most predictions, things
has not gone back to normal.
The latest incident between the two countries was a visit by two Japanese ministers to a controversial shrine for war dead on Thursday.
condemned the visit as usual but the Japanese reactions have been telling. For
the past few years, successive Japanese government has been bending over
backwards to smooth over relations between them but in the latest incident, the
Japanese has basically ignored the Chinese protest.
for this. The flare-up over the disputed islands should have never been allowed
to grow to the proportions it has become. Not helping matters was the fact that
the first protests in China
came while China
was dealing with a domestic scandal of its own. When the protests in China started,
the Japanese government tried to downplay them but it just kept on growing in intensity.
The sneaky suspicions in Japan
is that China
inflamed the row to distract the Chinese public from the Bo Xilai scandal and I
fear the Japanese government has now abandoned all hopes of normal ties with China.
Even before the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the Japanese government bought over the disputed islands from the Japanese landowners on the island despite stern protest from China. If you combined the two incidents, I can’t help thinking that
Japan is saying enough is enough and has now
chosen to treat China
as an annoying neighbor rather than a potential ally and friend.
At least that’s my hope. The last thing the world need is for two of the major powers in
Asia to butt
heads and clash over a row of small islands.