China and Japan Must Show Restraint

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An op-ed in the Korea Times is urging restraint from Japan and China over an increasingly contentious territorial dispute involving a set of rocky iselts off the coast of Taiwan. On Tuesday Voice of America reported that two Chinese government vessels had entered territorial waters near the islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.

As per the Korea Times:

The extraordinary nature of the latest conflict is that the United States could be implicated in the bilateral disputes because the Senkakus were returned to Japan in 1972 along with Okinawa after being under America’s military rule. Japan had acquired the islands from China, together with Taiwan, after winning the Sino-Japanese war in 1895. Japan claims that the islands are covered by the U.S.-Japan defense treaty.

To make matters worse, government change is in the offing in both countries, raising fears that politicians may inflame nationalistic sentiments for political gain.

Given that territorial disputes are not solvable without war, the two countries should exercise restraint and restore composure.

The lion’s share of the blame should be laid on Japan for not offering a sincere apology and compensation for its past wrongdoings. It’s shameful that Japan shows greed for land, instead of soliciting forgiveness for its forcible mobilization of wartime sexual slaves and the Nanjing massacre.

China is obliged to stop protestors from using violence against Japanese nationals and companies. The Chinese government should be reminded that the protests could morph into anti-government demonstrations at any time.

The escalation of tensions between China and Japan, the world’s No. 2 and 3 economies, will deal a fatal blow to the already-moribund global economy.

What’s needed most is for the politicians of the two countries to act responsibly. For Korea, this may be an opportune time to ensure security levels.