Saturday, October 06, 2012

Q&A: China-Japan row over disputed islands


The following is the translation of an Arabic Q&A from the website of Sheikh Ata' Abu Rashta.  

The Question: U.S. Defense Secretary during his visit to Japan on 16-17/9/2012 said that "this dispute between China and Japan on the subject of the islands can intensify" (AP News Agency 17/9/2012) and then added "I am worried because when these countries start provoking one another on these disputed islands, it would enhance the possibility of making the wrong decision from one side or the other, which on its part could lead to violence and result in conflict" (the above source). The current development came to the fore in the wake of the announcement made by Japan on 11/9/2012 that she bought the three islands from a Japanese family in an archipelago of the East China Sea, thus she claims their ownership and calls them Senkaku. This scenario triggered tension between them and China who claims that these islands belong to them and she calls them Diaoyu. China sent two warships towards these islands.
So the question is: why did Japan take this step at this juncture? Does America have a role in this conflict? Is it possible that the situation will drive them to the outbreak of war or is it a storm which will calm down?
The answer to the question gets clarified by reviewing the following matters:
1- China claims that these three islands are from among the five main islands owned by her and were captured by Japan in the war that took place between them during 1894 and 1895. The Americans took control of them in World War II after they defeated the Japanese. They (Americans) annexed the administration of these islands to the Japanese island of Oukinao which they also occupied in the same war and established therein a large U.S. base. The America, however, handed over these islands to the Japanese in 1972 by handing over them to a Japanese family and then these islands were bought by another Japanese family who were controlling them since the nineties of the nineteenth century. The area of all these islands in the archipelago is about 6.2 km, including the rocks surrounded by the sea water. These islands are uninhabited but they are of strategic importance in the East China Sea. They are close to the routes of maritime navigation and their waters are replete with fish wealth. Also there are reports about the possibility that they may have large reserves of oil and gas.
The issue of these islands has been raised between the two countries several times, the last of which was in the year 2010 when a similar tension arose.
2- The United States officially informed Japan on 29/06/2012 that they want to deploy "12" Osprey aircrafts in the U.S. Futenma base in the Japanese island of Oukinao and that the deployment of these aircrafts will be at the end of the ongoing month (ASHA - Musrs – scene - masress almashhad 1.7.2012) and U.S. forces announced that one of these aircrafts will begin its trip on 21/9/2012 (Arabic News CN World 20.9.2012). All this came in an atmosphere witnessing Japanese protests against the American presence, which was started to be looked at unpleasantly, with some of them even demanding the departure of the Americans from their country as there are still 47 thousand U.S. troops by virtue of a bilateral security treaty signed in 1960 with the Government of Japan under the U.S. occupation. This is an American method which she has resorted to in order to change the form of her occupation and keep her influence in the country occupied by her as she did in Iraq when she held the U.S. security treaty with the Maliki government in 2008 under American official occupation as well as the American strategic security agreement with the Government of Afghanistan, which was signed a few month ago under the patronage of ongoing American occupation.
In such atmosphere of Japanese dissatisfaction with the largely American presence in their country, America announces the deployment of aircrafts! Of course, such announcement will intensify the opposition by the Japanese... So America deemed it appropriate that creating an atmosphere of provocation with China and manifestation, that the war with China is approaching, will make the Japanese accept the deployment of these aircrafts and will mitigate their protests against the American presence, on the pretext that the U.S. will support Japan in the face of China! That's why and in agreement with the Japanese government closely related to U.S. policy was raised the issue of the islands that they belong to Japan while they are disputed between the two. This scenario provoked China and created an atmosphere of misleading clash with her and that the war may erupt. And this is what pacified the Japanese opposition to the American presence in their country considering that they would lend a helping hand to them in the face of China.
3- Therefore, raising the issue of the islands this time, after the announcement to deploy the aircrafts, is a deliberate step by the Government of Japan based on the U.S. plan to provoke the Chinese until the tension between Japan and China becomes apparent so that the Japanese are terrified by China and surrender to the American plans to be implemented in their region. Therefore the statements by U.S. officials indicate the forthcoming confrontation or that they are prelude to confrontation! U.S. Defense Secretary during his visit to Japan said on 16-17/9/2012 "this dispute between the two can intensify" (A.P. News Agency 17/9/2012) and then added "I am worried because when these countries start provoking one another on these disputed islands, it would enhance the possibility of making the wrong decision from one side or the other, which on its part could lead to violence and result in conflict" (the above source). He called on "the two sides to equanimity and self-control". U.S. Defense Secretary describes the issue as if a war is about to occur between the two countries for the sake of the American goals. He reminded Japan of the security pacts between his country and Japan to show that America is ready to stand by Japan and said "we honor our commitments related to the treaties existing for a long time and will not change" (the above source). All these escalations are happening at a time when the US Defense Secretary is focusing in his talks with the Japanese government on the US Plans to deploy 12 Osprey aircrafts in the U.S. base in the Japanese island of Oukinao amid strong opposition from the residents of the South Island as reported French News Agency on 16/9/2012.
4- The Chinese reaction was emotional and the mass demonstration were allowed to roam through the streets of her cities to protest against the Japanese step towards these islands that are officially not controlled by the Japanese state. But when it announced the purchase of three of them from the Japanese family to be owned by the Japanese state, the sovereignty of these islands officially came under the Japanese state and it was considered as if these islands were again annexed by Japan. This Japanese action provoked China who moved some of her ships that guard her territorial waters in the East China Sea toward these islands. The Prime Minister of China Wen Jiabao being impressed and touched by the Chinese emotions said: "the era of humiliating the Chinese has gone irrevocably"(A.P. News Agency 17/9/2012). The Chinese still remember the humiliation that they suffered from at the hands of the Japanese, whether it is in the war that broke out between them in the nineties of the nineteenth century or it is the direct Japanese occupation of China in the thirties of the twentieth century which lasted until Japan's defeat in World War II by America. So they went out of Chinese control and then were left for Americans. The complication of defeat and humiliation that afflicted the Chinese at the hands of the Japanese is still a factor of provocation among them. So the Chinese getting agitated by such an issue is very easy.
5- Thus, America hit two birds with one stone by pushing Japan to claim the islands, on the one hand the atmosphere became strained between China and Japan so that Japan feel compelled to have the American presence, which can be easily acceptable to the Japanese. On the other hand, America wants to keep China always busy with tense regional issues, thus preventing China from any aspirations towards any global state policy except within the limits of its territory. America continues in her plans aimed at restraining China and putting an end to China's plans to strengthen its regional position in order to reach the global status, particularly towards America. Thus, the U.S. plan in the regional areas of China is to achieve this goal. America has already announced her plans to strengthen her presence in Asia/ Pacific Ocean as part of a new strategy when her defense secretary Leon Panetta announced on 01/06/2012 this strategy of his country in Asia/ Pacific Ocean regarding sending six aircrafts carriers and deploying 60% of its warships in this region over the coming years until 2020. Thus America is working towards igniting all the conflicts in the face of China: in the region of the East China Sea as happened with Japan and in the South China Sea as there is tension between China and the Philippines over the islands and the fishing, and also there is dispute between China and Vietnam over the islands where the Chinese stood up and expelled the Vietnamese in 1988. All this is aroused to keep China busy in these two regions!
America also stands behind these countries in the two regions with the exception of North Korea, and incites them against China so that the latter, as we said above, is made busy in her own region and cannot be in a position to go beyond this territory, especially in view of the fact that America has full control over many of these countries such as South Korea in the East China Sea, the Philippines in the South China Sea, where there are U.S. bases as well as Indonesia subordinate to U.S. policy and then Japan which is also in the American orbit.
6- This is the reality about America's role in this matter and triggering the issue of the islands at this time. As for the question that this provocation will reach to the outbreak of war between China and Japan over the islands, it is unlikely at least in the foreseeable future because there are islands larger and more important than these such as the island of Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa and for which China did not ignite a war considering that America is agreed with her that she would work to peacefully bring them back to China. Then there is a conflict with the Philippines, Vietnam and others on islands located in the South China Sea, without getting into war with them. Otherwise, she will open upon herself a door which she cannot close! China will never sacrifice its large interests with Japan because of these islands, for the reason that the volume of trade between them is about $ 300 billion a year and the Japanese companies operating in China employ more than 20 million Chinese workers. In addition, China is working to take advantage of Japanese technology and expertise and therefore it is not in China's interest to ignite a war with Japan for these islands. The Chinese Defense Minister Liang Gwaungla said in his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary on 18/9/2012 while answering to a question by the journalists as to whether Beijing intends to resort to force, he said that "we still hope to have a peaceful and negotiated solution", (A.P. News Agency 18/9/2012) which indicates that it is unlikely on the part of China to ignite a war with Japan for these islands.
7- If China remains preoccupied with her territorial issues, America could succeed in expelling China from international politics. However it is true that China is effectively threatening the U.S. policy worldwide and creates problems to her, which threaten the latter's interests i.e. China applies the policy of effective threat to the U.S. policy in every region of the world and therefore it is easy for China to have effective influence in her regional domain, especially in the two regions of East and South China Sea.
However, the noticeable prospects in the Chinese policy are that it is still misled by the notion that her effective interference in the international politics is not in her best interest and so she only takes care of her regional areas... and is not aware of the fact that she will never be able to control her regions if she does not have global political aspirations of creating problems for America in order to compel the latter to lessen the harassment of China in its territory. Unless China pursues this policy, she will remain at a standstill and America will continue to create regional tension for her one after the other.
After all, perhaps the history is repeating itself wholly or partially! The Khilaafah, Allah willing, will be established and its international political actions "prior to its military actions "in expelling the West and America from the Islamic region, will be an example to be copied and followed by China in expelling the American influence from around China. Thus the political actions by the Khilaafah will indirectly realize the security to China as the Khilaafah directly achieved security to China in the past. The Chinese and Islamic sources mention that the Chinese state requested the Islamic Khilaafah state at the time of Abbasid Khalifaah Abu Jafar Al-Mansur to assist her in quelling the unrest and chaos occurred in China in 756 CE and engulfed the country. The Khalifah sent a force consisting of 4 thousand Muslim soldiers and thus the matter got stabilized in China and they brought the security for the people of the country. The Chinese became highly impressed by the characters, good behaviors and demeanors of the Muslim soldiers and requested them to stay with them and hence those Muslims soldiers stayed there in their capacity as the Daw'ah carriers, spreading the Deen of Islam, its guidance and light among the people of China. Among their grandsons today are the Muslims of East Turkestan who are currently being oppressed by China instead of reciprocating the favor to them!! Will China get aware of this matter and end its occupation of Turkestan without denying the favor done to her by the Khilaafah in the past?!
4th Thul Qa'dah 1433 AH
20th September 2012 CE

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