Japan - China

Chronology from May 2017 to Aug 2017

:   Global Times editorial accuses Abe of encouraging Indian aggressiveness on the disputed Indo-Chinese border in the Himalayas to divert China’s attention from the South China Sea and relieve pressure on Japan.

:   Global Times editorial predicts that, due to its domestic difficulties, Japan will not back India in its border dispute with China, and that the only road forward for Japan is closer cooperation with China.

:   Japan attends a ministerial-level meeting with 50 African countries, pledging investment to aid their efforts to achieve self-sustaining development.

: Environmental ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea agree on cooperation to combat the spread of invasive species such as fire ants.

: China responds to Japanese sanctions on Chinese companies doing business with North Korea saying that unless Tokyo desists immediately “it must be responsible for the consequences.”

: Japan’s Defense Ministry requests a record-high 2.5 percent increase to 5.25 trillion yen ($48 billion) in its initial budget for fiscal 2018, to bolster security measures against North Korea’s military provocations and China’s maritime advances.

:   Japan commemorates the 72nd anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Chinese media commenting that, for the fifth year in a row, Abe did not mention remorse over Japan’s actions nor did he pledge that the country would never again engage in war.  Although Abe did not attend ceremonies at the Yasukuni Shrine, nor did any currently serving Cabinet members, they noted, Abe sent a sacred masasaki branch, and numerous Diet members representing several political parties were present.

:  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warns Japan and the US against opposing China’s development of islands in the South China Sea.

: Chinese media’s coverage of the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima admonishes Japan to cease downplaying its role as an aggressor in the war and portraying itself as a victim.  Only by learning from history can a recurrence of war tragedies be prevented.

: Japanese government reveals that it made several high-level requests to China to restrict its acceptance of North Korean workers, to no avail.

:   United Nations report on contributions to the UN’s budget announces that China’s share is estimated to rise to second place after the US, surpassing Japan for the first time.

: Sankei reports that Japanese Maritime SDF frogmen from a nearby Japanese ship approached two Chinese military vessels anchored at China’s newly opened base at Djibouti, and were driven away by crew members.

: Japanese government sources reveal that China has established a new mobile drilling rig near the Japan-China median line in the East China Sea.

:   India’s The Pioneer daily describes the launch of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor for Japan-India collaboration, together with Australian participation, as an initiative through which “the China challenge could be tackled.”

: Japan announces sanctions on two Chinese firms, including a bank accused of laundering North Korean cash. Five entities, including two Chinese organizations and nine individuals, are affected.

:   PRC military expert disparages the new air-to-ship supersonic missiles Japan plans to deploy, describing their limited range as unable to reach aircraft carrier formations and hence  a fatal shortcoming.

: Japanese Coast Guard announces that, in a first for these particular areas, two Chinese Coast Guard ship violated Japanese waters off the coasts of Tsushima and Okinoshima.

: Xi and Abe meet on sidelines of the G20 in Hamburg; Yomiuri says both must make concessions, suggesting joint development of the East China Sea gas fields. Xi responds on July 13 by proposing “separation of politics and economy.”

: China Daily states that Japan’s helicopter destroyer Izumo’s passage near China’s nine-dash line in the South China Sea and participation in exercises with a US aircraft carrier a few days earlier have been interpreted by the international community as open defiance of China’s “so-called assertiveness” in the waters.

: Four Chinese Coast Guard ships enter Japanese territorial waters near the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

: Editorial in Japan’s leading business newspaper states that the time has come for the US and Japan to examine the pros and cons of joining the AIIB.

: Chinese Foreign Ministry objects to new curricular guidelines for Japanese elementary and secondary schools that describe “China’s Diaoyu islands … as ‘inherent’ parts of Japanese territory.” Japan must face up to history and reality and stop provocation.

: New volume appears in the 51-book series to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the July 7 Marco Polo Bridge incident that began the Japanese invasion of northeast China.

: China Daily criticizes Japan for warning its tourists to avoid activities that might arouse suspicion that they are engaging in espionage; the government should instead “issue a self-warning: efforts to whitewash the war crimes … will not succeed.”

: China Daily opines that the birth of a panda cub at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo might renew Sino-Japanese friendship.

: Xinhua describes Japanese participation in an international maritime defense trade show as a “dangerous push to buddy up to Southeast Asia.”

: Chinese media highlights Japanese opposition parties’ resistance to a government bill that would criminalize the planning of serious crimes.

: Article in the conservative Japan Forward argues that, because the US is losing ground in the Pacific, Japan should double its defense spending against Chinese expansionism.

: US government pledges that Japan will never be a bargaining chip in its trade negotiations with China.

: Tokyo and Beijing agree to resume high-level talks on joint resource development and avoiding unintended maritime clashes.

: Japanese defense official states that the country is seeking to increase sales of military equipment to Southeast Asia states amid growing tensions with China and North Korea.

:   Delegation from China’s National People’s Congress calls on Japan to “properly handle Tibet-related issues.”

: China protests publication of The Real History of Japan, a second book by Motoya Toshio, rightist president of the APA Group, which blames Chinese soldiers for the looting and killings of the 1937 Nanjing massacre.

: Defense Minister Inada Tomomi’s address at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue decries continued unprovoked, unilateral attempts to alter the status quo in Asian seas, adding that “government ships of a certain country continue to make periodic incursions into Japanese waters,[and] construct outposts in the South China Sea… for military purposes.”

: China announces that a seventh Japanese national is being investigated for harming national security and violating China’s domestic law.

: Global Times editorial says Abe administration’s interest in joining the AIIB is a ruse to improve relations with China while using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in negotiations and contriving an imaginary China threat as a pretext for revising Japan’s Constitution and reviving militarism.

: Fourth round of high-level Sino-Japanese political talks is held in Tokyo, co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Japanese National Security Advisor Yachi Shotarō.  According to Xinhua, Yang calls on the Japanese side to honor its words and abide by the relevant rules regarding the historical and Taiwan issues.”

: Japan and India agree on a broad strategy to promote development across an arc from East Asia to Africa to counter China’s expanding influence in the regions.

: China expresses dissatisfaction with the renaming of the former Association of East Asian Relations as the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association.

:   Japan’s conservative Sankei Shimbun predicts that if the US withdraws from Japan, the country could not defend itself against China, since the latter’s quantitative advantages would prevail over SDF weapons that had been developed exclusively for defensive purposes.  Hence Japan should not rule out the possibility of possessing nuclear weapons.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary  Suga Yoshihide states that Chinese authorities had placed six Japanese nationals under detention since March on grounds they conducted illegal activities; China’s Foreign Ministry confirms the arrests on the next day. Asahi reports all six were conducting surveys for possible hot springs in cooperation with a Chinese company.

: Xinhua reports that 1,800 people had gathered in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Park to protest Prime Minister Abe’s plan to amend the Japanese Constitution.

: Argentine President Mauricio Macri, having obtained 16 agreements worth an estimated $17 billion from China, flies to Japan to seek additional funding.

: Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the Duterte administration plans to “pivot to neighboring economic giants” by seeking loans from both China and Japan.

:   Japanese Foreign Ministry lodges a protest to China after four Chinese Coast Guard vessels, one of which appeared to be equipped with guns, entered Japanese waters near the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. A drone was seen flying above. Chinese Foreign Ministry refuses to accept the protest, replying that the drone was used for aerial photography and that, since the islands belong to China, the ships and drone had a right to be there.

: Xinhua cites Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying as describing a planned meeting between the Japanese and New Zealand prime ministers as “inappropriate,” and calling on Japan to improve relations with China through concrete policies and actions.

: Japan Times editorial observes that Beijing must address skepticism about China’s motives in establishing the OBOR, and that there is a long way to go if the plan is to serve its stated end of providing the cornerstone of a regional and global order.

:   Asahi opines that since Xi’s BRI strategy is designed primarily for the advancement of Chinese investment, it can be considered a form of neocolonialism. Unless China modifies its traditional tendency to pursue only its own interests, questions will remain about its suitability as the promoter of collaborative international efforts.

: Renmin Ribao publishes an article by “Commentator,” a standard pseudonym for a high-ranking Chinese leader, stating the China must first know whether Japan is completely changing its strategy of confronting China or if the overtures are merely a strategic easing.  China would warmly welcome the first, but regret the second.

: Asahi reports that Nikai carried a letter from Abe to Xi that proposed the two of them engage in regular shuttle diplomacy.  Asahi adds that Nikai also called on Xi and other Chinese leaders to visit Japan by the end of next year, the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

: Yomiuri Shimbun says Xi Jinping’s maritime Silk Road plan is inseparably linked to Chinese efforts to secure footholds for its navy through harbor improvement projects and is aimed at excluding the US from the region.

:   Nikai Toshihiro, secretary general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) meets Chinese President Xi Jinping, and, according to Asahi Shimbun, says the question was not if but when Japan will join AIIB. A parallel story in Beijing’s Global Times does not mention this statement, saying only that Nikai congratulated China on the success of its Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and cited the need to develop bilateral ties.

: Space News reports that the Japanese government is considering a three-satellite addition to the country’s domestic navigation system so that it would work even if China were to take out the US Global Positioning System.

: In what Asahi Shimbun terms “cutter diplomacy,” Japan supplies front-line coast guard cutters to the Philippines and Vietnam. Japan’s Coast Guard has created the post of director for international coast guard cooperation who will focus on providing support to Southeast Asian nations.  Trilateral exercises including Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam are planned.

: Editorial in Huanqiu Shibao, which is sponsored by Renmin Ribao, official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), states that the momentum of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiaive would be more robust with Japanese, US, and South Korean participation.

: Associated Press reports that multinational military drills off Guam designed to show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid concerns that China intends to restrict access to the South China Sea were postponed indefinitely after a French landing craft ran aground there.

: Yomiuri Shimbun expresses concern that the China-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) could be twisted toward the PRC’s ends, and urges reform of the Asian Development Bank, whose largest financial contributor has been Japan, and all of whose nine successive presidents have been Japanese.

: Xinhua reports that four Chinese Coast Guard vessels conducted a patrol in the territorial waters off the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands on May 8.

: Yomiuri Shimbun summarizes war games sponsored by the  US Sasakawa Peace Foundation involving unlikely scenarios for a Chinese-Japanese confrontation over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

: China Daily reports that Xiao Jie met Taro Aso, who serves concurrently as Japan’s deputy prime minister of minister of finance. They agree that dialogue is important to both sides and pledge to deepen pragmatic cooperation in the financial field.

: Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie skips a trilateral meeting with Japanese and South Korean counterparts, casting doubt over the outlook for regional cooperation among the Northeast Asian powers.

: Global Times criticizes the Japanese Foreign Ministry 2017 Diplomatic Blue Book of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula as an excuse to strengthen its military, create the conditions for revising Article 9 of its Constitution, and enhance its global influence.

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