Commentary: Japan’s petty tricks counterproductive to ties with China

 

by Xinhua writer Shang Jun

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made another attempt on February 8 to mislead the international community by demanding China apologize for the recent radar incident.

If there is an apology to be made for the latest unease in China-Japan relations, it should be from the Japanese side.

The accusation that Chinese warships targeted fire-control radars at Japanese vessels in the East China Sea on January 30 is a sheer fabrication. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense has confirmed that no fire-control radar was used.

To safeguard the overall situation of China-Japan relations, China had taken Japan’s allegation seriously and immediately conducted an earnest investigation, but the truth disappointed Tokyo.

As a matter of fact, Japan should be held responsible for any possible missteps as its Self-Defense Forces vessels had closely traced and monitored Chinese warships which were conducting regular training in high sea.

By spreading false accusation and posing as a poor victim, Japan had intended to tarnish China’s image so as to gain sympathy and support, but a lie does not help.

While hyping up the “China threat” with irresponsible remarks, the Abe government is boosting Japan’s military strength. For the first time in years, Japan raised its military budget this year despite its economic woes. This is seen as a worrisome signal by its Asian neighbors troubled by bitter memories of Japan’s militarism during the Second World War.

Japan’s petty tricks are counterproductive to the improvement of its ties with China, which have been souring over Tokyo’s provocative move to “nationalize” the Diaoyu Islands last year. The disputed islands have been China’s inherent territory since ancient times.

Uichiro Niwa, who served as Japanese ambassador to China from mid-2010 till late last year, acknowledged recently that his government misread the situation and made a mistake in choosing to “buy” the Diaoyu Islands, which ignited contention.

A Chinese saying goes that “it is better for the doer to undo what he has done.” It is time for Japan to make sincere efforts to rectify its wrongdoing and mend relations with China, rather than playing petty tricks and stirring up tension.

The stakes are high for the two Asian neighbors and economic giants to improve their strained ties, which needs both political courage and wisdom.

China has been exercising maximum restraint and stayed committed to solving the dispute through dialogue and consultation.

It is hoped that Japan can face up to reality and history, and act on its words to contribute to the China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit.

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