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Talk with Japan, don't alienate it
Paul Lin
7/9/2005

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In order to curry favor with Western nations, China is willing to recognize an "unequal treaty" -- once regarded as a "undying humiliation" -- and permanently cede what it regarded as its territory to Russia.

China signed several treaties with powerful nations ceding territory over the past century.

It ceded the most land to Russia, but it also had great hopes of reclaiming this territory, for soon after the October Revolution of 1917, the Soviet government declared that all treaties with China concluded by former Russian governments were invalid and that the Soviet government would give up all territories that had been seized earlier.

China seems to ask for trouble because it has targeted territories that are difficult to be retrieved, such as Hong Kong, while ignoring Russian territories that could be easily reclaimed.

China is also in a desperate bid to claim back independent, sovereign nations such as Taiwan.

What is China's strategy? It wants to establish an anti-US united front in order to maintain its political power from being eroded.

`It is a pity that Japan lacks politicians with a "united front" ideology. This has led to Tokyo aggravating its relations with South Korea and Taiwan on maritime issues, and not being able to resolve the territorial disputes with China.'

So as long as it can maintain its one-party dictatorial regime, China can afford to lose a certain amount of territory to this end.

China can make concessions in territorial disputes to countries ranging from communist, pre-communist and dictatorial countries to developing countries, such as Russia, Vietnam, North Korea, Myanmar, India, the Philippines and Malaysia.

But, it cannot do this with Hong Kong and other sovereign nations such as Japan and Taiwan, for these are all Western-style democracies.

Using territorial disputes, China has been pushing the notion of "contesting every inch of land," inciting nationalist sentiment and denouncing democracy.

Because the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee dared to state that those two countries had an interest in restraining China's military expansion, Beijing has made Japan its primary enemy. In response, Japan should elevate relations with its neighboring countries to counterbalance China's territorial expansion.

It is a pity that Japan lacks politicians with a "united front" ideology. This has led to Tokyo aggravating its relations with South Korea and Taiwan on maritime issues, and not being able to resolve territorial disputes with China.

In order to launch an all-out effort to tackle China, Japan must first seek political resolutions to the disputes with Taiwan and South Korea. If such disputes cannot be settled in a timely manner, Japan should at least put them aside for the time being.

Independent Aboriginal Legislator May Chin recently tried to lead a group of Taiwanese Aborigines in a protest at Japan's Yasukuni shrine over memorial tablets for Aboriginal soldiers.

Her visit was entirely hypocritical. Meanwhile, the discontent over the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces' harsh treatment of Taiwanese fishermen has been used by Taiwan's pro-China forces, chiming in with China's recent anti-Japanese protests, but also obstructing hopes of Taiwan and Japan working together to stop Chinese expansionism.

Just as Taiwan's pro-China forces have needed to oppose the US in their efforts to curry favor with Beijing, they now must also oppose Japan.

It is unfortunate that there are Taiwanese who follow this lead in opposing both the US and Japan.

Although the recent standoff between Taiwanese and Japanese fishing vessels has encroached on Taiwanese fishermen's rights and caused damage to Taiwan's economy, it has not resulted in bloodshed. The dispute can still be resolved through negotiations.

Unfortunately, some politicians are styling themselves as patriots and attempting to sensationalize the issue.

But when China moves to annex Taiwan, how patriotic are these politicians going to be? Will they denounce China's threat? Will they express their anger in front of the media? Will they be brave enough to stage an anti-China protest in China?

No, they will simply surrender to Beijing.

Given that the same group of people are obstructing the arms-procurement bill and advocating conflict with Japan, what kind of intentions do they harbor? Their anti-Japanese stance only serves to antagonize Tokyo so that China can benefit.

The people dressed up as fishermen demonstrating outside Japan's Interchange Association in Taipei didn't sound too local, and they even managed to tie the US into their protests, opposing the joint defense agreement with Japan.

These pro-China people have simply demonstrated that they are minions of the "communist bandits."

Therefore, when the government and the people stand up for the rights of Taiwan's fishermen, they must be careful that they do not allow themselves to be used by pro-China forces, compromising the nation's security and giving an advantage to China.

Paul Lin is a freelance writer based in New York.



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