Thursday, September 22, 2005

China's Rise, Japan, and Taiwan

A commentary on China's rise appeared today in the International Herald Tribune:

China's real issue with Japan, disguised by historical complaints, lies in the
fact that Japan under Koizumi has become a stauncher ally of the United States.
Most notably, the U.S.-Japanese joint statement on common goals in the Taiwan
dispute, implying that Japan might not simply stand by in case of a Chinese
invasion of Taiwan, angered China last February.

And from the correspondent of the Apple Daily in Washington, too....

Japan's shift toward more active support of Taiwan is a move of seismic proportion whose effects are going to ripple across Asia for years to come. A decade from now, when a militarily resurgent Japan, an increasingly irrelevant and weakening, but still hugely nationalistic US, and a rising China confront each other over Taiwan, oil shipments, and regional hegemony....that is not a mix for peace. That is recipe for a nasty cold war that may blow hot at any moment.

Perhaps what East and South Asia needs is a new regional body or regional framework where the major powers sit as equals to solve any of the numerous problems that confront the region -- claims over Taiwan, the Senkakus, the Spratlys, the Himalayan border regions (a flashpoint not well understood or publicized in the West), divided Korea, fishing and mineral rights.... There are too many nations from Indonesia to Japan whose economies are growing and whose demand for finite resources will only increase. Just today the Indonesian navy fired on Chinese fishing boats...(CNN, BBC)

3 comments:

Budding Sinologist said...

"A decade from now... an increasingly irrelevant and weakening, but still hugely nationalistic US"

People have been predicting this would soon come for decades. Yet, somehow America is still sits unrivaled at the top.

I guess if we keep predicting it, eventually we'll be right. I'll refrain from wishing you good luck with your predictions of doom but I don't enjoy cheerleading the downfall of my own nation--and the nation that does more than any other to maintain international stability.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. needs puppets like Taiwan and Japan to hold their stake against the risen China. No facts needed to prove.

Michael Turton said...

I guess if we keep predicting it, eventually we'll be right. I'll refrain from wishing you good luck with your predictions of doom but I don't enjoy cheerleading the downfall of my own nation--and the nation that does more than any other to maintain international stability.

That used to be true. But now the US is embarked on unilateral madness -- invading Iraq, wanting to invade Iran and Syria, destroying our alliance relationships, trashing the UN -- the Bush Administration gutted an international system that took 50 years to build -- while at home the Bush Administration makes war on our scientific capacity, economic power, and civil rights. The US is not finished as a power -- it will remain powerful for years to come -- but its ability to function as a force for stability is badly impaired.

I don't like it either that the Bush Administration has probably put a stake through the future of the United States. But it would be dishonest not to factor in the effects of the Administration's insanity into any calculus about the future.

Michael