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Japan's olive branch needs to take root   2012-08-30 08:27:00
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao through a senior Japanese official. According to the Japanese side, Noda expressed his worries about the tensions over Diaoyu between China and Japan and also wished for the two sides to advance a mutually beneficial relationship.

We believe it is an important signal from Japan that it doesn't want to see bilateral conflict further intensify. Previously, Japanese authorities have repeatedly suggested that Self-Defense Forces could be sent to Diaoyu when necessary and stressed the inclusion of Diaoyu in the US-Japan Security Treaty. Now Noda has softened this stance.

Tensions over the Diaoyu Islands have been spiraling. Among Japan's multi-faceted stance toward China, Noda's stressing of the bilateral relationship is positive to helping ease matters. But Japan needs a more stable attitude toward China. There are numerous conflicts between both sides. Strengthening mutual trust is the only way to prevent issues from developing into serious confrontations.

The root of the current tensions between Tokyo and Beijing is Japan's diplomatic strategy.

The rise of China, as a result of a changing Asia-Pacific region and a global geopolitical power shift, has stirred up resistance and guarding from Japan. No matter how hard the two countries have tried, mutual trust has been difficult to build up.

To the Chinese public, Japan has completely sided with the US, forming an anti-China union. Friendship with China is over in Japan and it has occasionally seemed to have more hostilities toward China than the US has with China. It does not even display the willingness to strike a balance between China and the US compared with other countries such as South Korea.

This is against China's interests, and is of no help to Japan either as the approach actually constrains Tokyo's strategic room. Japan should move to a middle ground between Beijing and Washington. In this way, it would feel more open strategic prospects.

The biggest danger in the 21st century for the Asia-Pacific is a strategic confrontation between China and the US. The two sides, despite being reluctant to see this possibility, are showing more distrust toward each other. Tokyo is choosing to band with Washington to contain China.

Tokyo needs to shift its role to being a bridge between China and the US. The region needs such a player and no country can play this role better than Japan. It will also create much more potential for Japan's future.
source : People's Daily Online     editor:: tina
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