News / Asia

    China-Japan Dispute Tests China’s Ties With the US

    Paramilitary police officers arrange the steel fence at the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai, September 19, 2012.
    Paramilitary police officers arrange the steel fence at the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai, September 19, 2012.
    VOA News
    China's territorial dispute with Japan over a group of islands in the East China Sea is also testing the country's relations with the U.S.   

    While both the American and the Chinese governments are taking steps to avoid escalating tensions between Asia's two biggest economies, there were signs this week that Washington’s alliance with Japan and its intentions in the region remain a source of friction.

    During a visit to China this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged China and Japan to exercise restraint and repeated Washington's insistence that it does not take sides in the dispute.  But an article in China's state-run Global Times said it is "obvious" that Washington is partial to Japan.

    Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University says that China is suspicious of Japan’s military alliance with the United States, guaranteed by the Japan-U.S. security treaty of 1951.  The pact assures that Japan gets U.S. assistance should China take military action against its neighbor.

    “The Chinese government views the U.S. as encouraging illegal actions by Japan. The government is dissatisfied with this, and the Chinese population is even more dissatisfied,” Shi says.

    Anti-Japanese rallies started in China after Japan announced it would nationalize three disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
     
    Some slogans during the most recent marches criticized the United States, blamed by people for having included the disputed islets into its security treaty with Japan.  

    On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador’s car was surrounded in Beijing by a small group of protesters who had wandered away from the nearby Japanese embassy, focal point of the recent demonstrations. Protesters pelted the car with small objects before Chinese police intervened and the car was able to make its way inside the diplomatic compound.

    “I believe that this event will push the Chinese government to be more serious and more insistent to ensure that anti-Japanese protests are conducted in accordance with the law,” Shi Yinhong says.

    Renown artist and Chinese government critic Ai Weiwei, who posted a video showing ambassador Gary Locke’s car becoming target of the protesters, told the French News agency that he believes central authorities were encouraging mass rallies.

    Although extreme anger against Japan was palpable at the marches and some slogans included calls for brutal retaliation measures against China’s long time rival, most of the protests were peaceful. Reports of violence against Japanese individuals and businesses in some Chinese cities including Shenzhen and Guangzhou prompted the Chinese Foreign Ministry to say that criminal episodes would be investigated according to the law.

    David Zweig, professor of social science at Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology, says that Beijing certainly wished the demonstrations did not turn violent, but was in careful in how it phrased its warning.

    “They did not publicly condemn the use of violence because that might make them look like they don’t support the marches or the protests,” Zweig says. “It’s a way of warning people, without antagonizing them,” he adds.

    With no more protests reported since Tuesday and after a three-day visit by the American defense secretary, Zweig believes that China and the U.S. now have some breathing space to move forward in their overall relations.

    “They decided to have joint exercises, which is a significant move forward,” he says.

    Yet next month both countries face an uncertain political phase, with an election in the United States and China’s Party Congress expected to nominate the country’s next rulers.

    Shi Yinhong says that this might complicate the two country’s traditional rivalries, which he thinks have gotten worse in the last few years and during the recent crisis with Japan.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora