A Just Cause Invariably Gains Support: Key to China's Return to Glory
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
January 7, 2014
Summary: The New Year has already begun, but tensions in Northeast Asia have not improved. Beijing has forcefully reiterated that "The Chinese people do not fear demons, and do not believe evil will prevail." It has already declared its intention to fight to the bitter end. But the Japanese government under Abe shows no signs of softening. We appeal to all parties. War is hell. It involves life and death. When all is said and done, peace remains the highest value. Neither side should precipitate a major disaster merely because it could not endure a minor slight. Neither side should act to the detriment of its own national growth, national interests, and to regional security.
Full text below:
The New Year has already begun, but tensions in Northeast Asia have not improved. Beijing has forcefully reiterated that "The Chinese people do not fear demons, and do not believe evil will prevail." It has already declared its intention to fight to the bitter end. Some in the Mainland military and media say that sooner or later China and Japan must have a showdown. But the Japanese government under Abe shows no signs of softening. It even added fuel to the fire by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine. It insists on further revising its textbooks, whitewashing Japanese war crimes. Chinese and Japanese nationalist sentiments are escalating. The outside world long ago concluded that the situation will get worse before it gets better. Consider the big picture. Consider practical interests. We appeal to all parties. War is hell. It involves life and death. When all is said and done, peace remains the highest value. Neither side should precipitate a major disaster merely because it could not endure a minor slight. Neither side should act to the detriment of its own national growth, national interests, and to regional security.
Everything has a beginning and end. The East China Sea dispute arose because Japan "nationalized" the Diaoyutai Islands. The Japanese side insists that its motives were pure. But It gave no prior warning. its behavior afterwards was unacceptable. Naturally this led to unnecessary suspicions. Once the status quo was disrupted, it became difficult to restore. Beijing established territorial waters baselines and an air defense identification zone. It dispatched maritime surveillance and fisheries vessels to Diaoyutai Islands waters. It demonstrated a willingness to go to war. The Japanese side fired back three security treaty arrows. It openly named China as the biggest threat to its national defense. It sought international support from the United States, Australia, and ASEAN. It is determined to crush Mainland China. Late last year, Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, in a move deliberately calculated to provoke Mainland China. No wonder the Mainland Chinese Foreign Ministry named Abe persona non grata. A vicious cycle has formed between Mainland China and Japan.
Escalating tensions and conflict involve a process. First the parties exchange verbal threats. They halt exchanges. They withdraw diplomatic personnel. They impose economic sanctions. They dispatch troops. They stockpile materiel. A small-scale conflict becomes full-scale war. There are invariably warning signs. Most importantly, the countries involved must not send complex, contradictory signals. They must avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations. After all, rationally speaking, neither Mainland China nor Japan, nor even the United States, considers conflict absolutely necessary. In case the situation spins out of control, it will be a lose/lose, lose/lose/lose, everyone loses scenario. No country will benefit. Consider the situation logically. Many believe the United States hopes to provoke a Sino-Japanese conflict in order to undermine Mainland China's modernization. But such opportunism is far too risky. The consequences are far too unpredictable. America cannot afford such a gamble.
He who creates a problem ought to solve the problem. As matters stand, Mainland China cannot accept Japan's "nationalization" of the Diaoyutai Islands. Beijing has already delineated its territorial waters baselines. It has no reason to rescind its air defense identification zone. Japan may refuse to recognize Beijing's air defense identification zone. Japan's desire to become a "normal nation" is understandable. But whatever the outcome, Tokyo must confront Japan's past. It must dispel Asian-Pacific doubts about its reversion to militarism. In particular, Japan must acknowledge the reality of a rising Mainland China. It must deal with the WWII war criminals enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine. It must avoid pouring salt into China and South Korea's wounds. It must seek diplomatic solutions based on current realities. Abe's empty rhetoric and lies will only increase the complexity of the problem. He must says something more constructive. He must do something more substantive. He must not go too far. That is how he can ease the current conflict.
We also have some suggestion for Mainland China. This is the 120th anniversary of First Sino-Japanese War. For over 100 years, the Chinese people have endured humiliation. The entire nation seeks to restore China's glorious history. Today a thriving Mainland China is a reality. Essentially the problem of being invaded, of being starved, and of being denounced has been solved. The Chinese people have the opportunity to contribute to peaceful development and economic prosperity. Unless there is no alternative, Beijing must safeguard China's national sovereignty, national security, and its pursuit of economic prosperity. Its national strength must have a firm foundation. If harsh words are required, it must utter them in a quiet voice. It must resort to more civilized means than others use to solve problems. America's hegemonic mannerism, and its "Big Stick" approach, is alien to China's political tradition. The best military strategy is an intelligent military strategy. A just cause will invariably gain broad support. Winning without fighting is always the best policy. If refusing to endure a minor slight results in a major debacle, and deprives China of the opportunity to restore its former glory, the CCP will go down in infamy.
Lastly, we must address President Ma Ying-jeou's long touted East China Sea Peace Initiative. Some say his proposal includes only principles, and lacks a roadmap for concrete action. But this sees only part of the picture. All of the countries involved have concerns they dare not express publicly. But privately all believe the disputes should be shelved, the resources developed jointly, and the dispute settled peacefully. In this regard, we must give the Ma government its due. Taipei's voice may be small. But the countries involved should all be thinking along these lines, and seeking to solve the problem. Taipei's proposal shows that it is a defender of the regional peace.