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The Monster in the China Sea

February 7, 2014, 1:14 PM
Shutterstock_174203795

BEIJING AND TOKYO - The Chunjie celebrations have come to an end this week and, starting from next Monday, we can expect Beijing's political retaliations against Tokyo and Manila for having interfered in its maritime southern territories.

Missile Boats, Aircraft Carriers, and B-52 Bomber Fighters

Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, evidently wants to bond with his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin in a political maneuver (and on the occasion of the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia's Sochi) that may or may not bring Japan closer to its ambition to repatriate the disputed Kuril islands - Japan's former territory that had been sacked by Moscow after the Great War, in 1951. Moreover, Mr. Abe surely hopes to win support from Mr. Putin for Tokyo's claim over the Senkaku islands that were recently unilaterally re-annexed by Beijing (after Tokyo "bought" the island from a private owner).

Reat at Big Think: If all Chinese go to the coast and spit, Japan will drown

The islands which are known in China as Diaoyu islands are currently dangerous waters ever since Beijing declared the region its new 'Air Defense Identification Zone' or ADIZ. The US chose to ignore Beijing's ruling and demonstratively flew two (unarmed) B-52 bomber fighters over the region, followed by Beijing's immediate response by sending its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the Taiwan Straits.

Read at RT Russia: The US fears China - no one in China fears the US

Japan is fearful of China's size and economic might that now translates into a military build-up. Tokyo recently agreed to move the controversial US Futenma military base on Okinawa to a more remote site. The costs of the relocation are unclear; reports give numbers between $2.8 billion to $10.27 billion, but exactly how much Japan has to contribute (Tokyo has to pay for US military presence) it often obscured by the government.

How to moderate great powers?

The Japan-US relations (often also a benign rivalry) can only be understood against the background of Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s arrival with US cannon boats and his 'Opening up' of Japan in 1854, and the US triumph over Imperial Japan in WWII. Although over 60 years past since Nippon's capitulation, and although Japan's economy recovered and became second only to America until China took that place in 2012, yet US officials keep reminding Tokyo who calls the shots in the battle for dominance in Asia, and it is believed the rise of China might give Tokyo a welcomed excuse to reduce its reliance for military protection by the US, change Japan's pacifist constitutions, and as a result become a "normal" sovereign state again.

Washington cannot want this to happen, as it is determined to keep its US troops in Japan, currently over 40,000, in order to contain China. Meanwhile, the Philippines have voiced their concerns about Beijing's geopolitical tactics in the South China sea, with its president, Benigno Aquino, recently comparing China to Nazi Germany.

Read at The Telegraph: Philippine president compares China's expansion to Nazi Germany

China has territorial (maritime) disputes with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan which often regards itself as autonomous nation. Most of the disputed islands are no more than greater rocks piercing through the waves, or else uninhabited islets. So what's really in dispute, I think most analysts would agree, are the maritime boundaries surrounding them, including natural resources beneath the seabed, as well as fishery rights and, most importantly, free access to trade routes. For China, the South-Eastern sea is the sole passage to the ocean, and naturally Beijing cannot want Tokyo (and its US ally Washington) or any other government de facto controlling those waters.

China’s Mandate of Heaven

China’s line of argument supporting its claim of the entire South China Sea is deeply worrying analysts: Literally, Chinese historians, journalists, and politicians talk about “2,000 years of History” siding with China on all its territorial claims. Beijing reckons it holds rights and entitlement to whatever once “belonged” to a Chinese dynasty, as if nothing ever happened since then, and as if China’s own imperial expansionism – the Han empire, Mongol empire, the Manchu empire - didn't exist.

Read at Big Think: Who is a Chinese?

Little wonder than that bullied Manila and Tokyo are reaching out for diplomatic support from Washington.

The Monsters of Past and Future War

The US repeatedly called for all the powers not to unilaterally attempting to change the status quo in the region (namely: the US dominance), but it seems that the current conflict has gotten a life on its own. In Japan, great destruction is often portrayed in the tales of great kaiju, a gargantuan monsters like, say, Godzilla, Rodan, or Mothra. Those creatures are but metaphors for conflict, existential threat, and apocalypse. They also portray the horrors of past and future war.

People with a precognition already talk about the emergence of a new powerful kaiju nesting in the China sea. If we are not careful, if it wakes, they say, it'll sink all fleets and devour the soldiers -no matter of which blood. And, then, it'll crawl on land and punish our cities...

Image credit: katalinks/Shutterstock.com

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The Monster in the China Sea

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