News / Asia

    Abe: China-Japan Ties 'Similar' to Britain and Germany Before WWI

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gestures as he speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014.
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gestures as he speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014.
    VOA News
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the rocky relationship between Japan and China is comparable to that of Germany and Britain before World War I.
     
    Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Abe also referred to China's steady increases in military spending as a "provocation."
     
    In a later keynote speech, Abe said Asian countries should be more forthcoming in order to avoid conflict.
     
    “We must, ladies and gentlemen, restrain military expansion in Asia which could otherwise go unchecked. Military [budgets] should be completely transparent and there should be public disclosure in a form that can be verified,” said Abe.
     
    Tokyo and Beijing have long shared a fraught past, but ties have been especially strained because of a worsening territorial dispute and mutual concerns over each other's military intentions.
     
    Most analysts think strong economic ties make an outbreak of hostilities between the two countries unlikely, but Prime Minister Abe pointed out that close economic relations did not prevent Britain and Germany from going to war in 1914.
     
    His spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, on Thursday denied the prime minister thinks war is inevitable between the two Asian powers.
     
    “As you can see, Abe basically said things should not become like they were during World War I. I have no idea why it was misinterpreted in that way,” said Suga.
     
    Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang dismissed the comments, saying it would be better for Abe to "face up to what Japan did to China before the war and in recent history," than discuss Germany-Britain relations.
     
    Qin also said it is Japanese, not Chinese, military motivations that should be questioned.
     
    “It is Japan that should increase transparency. Japan should explain to Asian countries and the international community why it is attempting to rectify its pacifist constitution, and why it is trying so hard to expand and build up its military. What is its real objective?" asked Qin.
     
    Ankit Panda, an associate editor at The Diplomat, told VOA the outlook for improved China-Japan relations is poor, as the two countries have not held high-level diplomatic meetings for over a year.
     
    “Even though economic ties between Japan and China are so high today, the possibility of conflict remains very real. What makes the Japan-China case even worse though than the pre-World War I era, is that [public] perceptions of China and Japan and Japan and China are very bad," explained Panda.
     
    Many in China have become more critical of Japan since Mr. Abe took power in 2012, vowing to change Japan's pacifist, World War II-era constitution and build a greater regional role for Japan's defense forces.
     
    The moves come in response to what Japan and others in the region view as China's increasingly assertive military behavior.

    Beijing last year set up an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea, where China and Japan both claim a series of uninhabited but strategic islands.
     
    Japan, along with its ally the United States and South Korea, have rejected the ADIZ as a unilateral provocation, and say it has heightened regional tensions.
     
    The islands, known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu, have been under Japanese control since 1971. However, in recent months, a steady stream of Chinese patrol ships has attempted to change the status quo.
     
    Beijing said tensions were only raised after Japan effectively nationalized some of the islands in 2012, buying them from their private Japanese owner.
     
    China also reacted furiously to Prime Minister Abe's recent visit to a Tokyo shrine that many Chinese view as a symbol of Japan's military past in Asia.
     
    Abe on Wednesday defended his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, saying he was honoring the souls millions of dead Japanese soldiers, and not just war criminals enshrined there.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Atlas from: Canada
    January 24, 2014 2:38 PM
    It is totally Japan fault starting up the tensions by purchasing the islands, deny history, worhsipped the ghostly Shrine, increase military spending even under US protection. Don’t forget this liar Abe crying in loud voice to the world that China spending double digit on military spending but comparsion in 2013, Japan military spending is 36% of China and China is 24% of US. This liar Abe is acting like his uncles in the imperial Japan army. Always lying.

    by: Tuan
    January 23, 2014 2:46 PM
    China claim 90% of SE Asia seas. China plays dirty and creates tension in the many regions.
    To all Chinese people Beijing is at wrong doing.

    by: George321 from: Canada
    January 23, 2014 9:38 AM
    It is totally Japan fault starting up the tensions by purchasing the islands. Even wrose is now under the ultranationalist Abe leadership who denied history, worhsipped the ghostly Shrine, increase military spending even under US protection. Don’t forget this liar Abe crying in loud voice to the world that China spending double digit on military spending but comparsion in 2013, Japan military spending is 36% of China and China is 24% of US. This liar Abe is acting like his uncles in the imperial Japan army. Always lying
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    January 24, 2014 6:55 PM
    To anonymaous and George321, I would like to tell you some additional information. First, Abe's grandfather was just a commercial minister during the WWII and he was acused but conducted after all not guilty of war criminal A. So, he was not enrolled in Yasukuni shrine. Second, what I think most serious for us Japanes, we have not asked ourselves since all after the war, who were actually responsible for the war suffering not only neighbors but Japanese nationals. I guess Abe is skeptical about the responsibilty of war criminal As saying they were merely punished at the "unilateral" war trials. It could be said a commander of the winner is a hero and those of looser are criminals. I am sure all nations having concerned the WWII should reflect on who were really responsible for it. No nation probably could declaire I was completely not responsible for that disaster.
    In Response

    by: Tuan
    January 24, 2014 1:38 AM
    Keep your mouth shut! You are an ugly Chinese with false history. In 1979 Chinese invaded, shot and killed Vietnamese on Spratly islands in South China Sea 2000 miles from China main land.
    Chinese is HYPOCRITE!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    January 23, 2014 2:59 PM
    greetings Godwin. should read history especially in the text of Sino Japanese war and WWII Asia theater along with the defeat and Japan signing the surrender documents in more details. Then you may come out with a different conclusion and viewpoint. Japan do not own the islands in dispute just administering them! Abe is a son of Class A war criminal and want to restore Japan past imperialistic " glory". I called it SHAME.
    In Response

    by: George321 from: Canada
    January 23, 2014 2:46 PM
    @Godwin
    You must not know the history yet and make this mistake thinking Japan own the islands. No wonder you are fool by the liar Abe and his team making falsewood to the world. The real owne is China, Japan illegally took them in 1895 base on unequal treaty. After WWII, Japan was defeated and need to return the stolen properties to China but they didn't. It is the history and you are talking nonsense on this.

    Do you know that Japan Abe background now talking peace, he is from the famous WWII war criminal family member and his grandfather is a key member of the evil imperial Japan army. His worship to that ghosty Shrine is an insult to all WWII victims in the world. He should go back to lerarn histroy before to be Japan leader. Shame on him.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    January 23, 2014 1:11 PM
    Shut up George321, China wants to show it has arrived. Last night I learned China is now the world's biggest trader, trading over 4trillion dollars a year. With so much money to throw about, China wants to be everywhere, as well as try to beat Japan to the background after overtaking it in size of economy and trade earning. If Japanese citizen has had an island since 1971, why do you want to say today that it does not belong to Japan? China is trying to flex its muscles in the region even as we see it moving slowly and steadily to become the world number 1 in everything. But a Japan which sees the feeling between Britain and Germany before WW1 will be an obstacle to its expansionist agenda. Don't mistake me here, I am gradually falling in love with China, only IF it should remain steadfast in resisting imperial subterfuges from Britain and USA.

    by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
    January 23, 2014 9:17 AM
    Acording to Shinzo Abe's diplomatic theory, China has been propagandized as a negative country in the international community by western media.Any one those who confronts China would be deemed as a positive country, regardless of who it is involed,how poor it is or how rich it is.
    It must be pointed out that Abe will be more unscrupulous and dare to provocate China deliberately in future. By doing so Abe always in an effort to be this hero and would be acclaimed as a brave watch dog by the US’government.
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    January 24, 2014 3:03 AM
    I am sure US does not support Abe's hawkish stance. US officials said they were disappointed when Abe suddenly visited Yasukuni shrine last year. Most of the general Japanese also do not agree with his right wing policy weighing budgets on millitary. He should seek for some reconciliating measures with China and Korea to solve territorial disputes.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora