News / Asia

Japan, China to Square Off at Regional Security Forum

FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks next to the Japanese national flag.
FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks next to the Japanese national flag.
Reuters
— A major regional security conference is shaping up as a face-off between Asia's two biggest powers, as Japan sends its hawkish prime minister and China dispatches a feisty diplomat instead of the usual brass to counter Tokyo's more assertive message.
 
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office in 2012 promising to bolster the role of the nation's military, will deliver the keynote address at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore at the end of the month.
 
Beijing is sending Fu Ying, a tough and articulate former deputy foreign minister now serving as chairwoman of the Chinese parliament's foreign affairs committee, who is expected to make the case that it is Japan, not an increasingly powerful China, which threatens regional security.
 
Sino-Japanese tensions over a string of Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Beijing spiked two years, ago shortly before Abe took office.
 
Relations were further strained when Abe last December visited Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese World War II leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals are honored along with millions of war dead.
 
“We understand that the Chinese are keen to continue participating and will be sending a strong delegation, and Fu Ying's appearance reflects that,” said Tim Huxley, Singapore-based executive director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (Asia), which organizes the event.
 
“Our impression is that Prime Minister Abe's speech will stimulate a lot of interest, not least in China, and understandably they want to be in a position to respond swiftly and appropriately,” Huxley said.
 
China's foreign ministry said it was unable to confirm Fu's attendance.
 
China has yet to confirm who will head the delegation from the People's Liberation Army, Huxley said. China's defense ministry did not respond to request for comment.
 
A source familiar with China's foreign policy, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Fu was a good choice to go and spar with Abe.
 
“She is well-versed in putting across China's position to an international audience,” said the source.
 
A polished English-speaker - still a rarity among senior Chinese officials - Fu is no stranger to taking on Japan.
 
Fu attended the Munich Security Conference earlier this year, where she criticized Japan for what she said was its “denial” of its crimes during World War II.
 
“She can be very charming but she can also be very tough,” said a diplomatic source in Beijing. “She will give a robust response to anything Abe says.”
 
Regional tensions
 
Organizers of the forum usually invite a regional prime minister or president to give the keynote address. Last year it was delivered by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
 
Abe, accompanied by his defense minister and national security adviser, will likely be carrying what has become a consistent message from the Japanese leader on the world stage since he took office: that Japan will stick to a peaceful path, that Tokyo wants to play a bigger role on the global security stage, and that all nations should follow the rule of law.
 
In a speech at the North Atlantic Council this month, Abe - pointing to the growing security tensions in the region - highlighted China's hefty defense spending, along with what he called Beijing's efforts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas, where China has territorial disputes with Japan and Southeast Asian nations.
 
While Japan is wary of China's growing military assertiveness, Beijing is suspicious of Abe's efforts to loosen the limits of Japan's pacifist post-war constitution on its military.
 
Relations have also long been soured by Chinese resentment of Japan's wartime occupation of large parts of China and the belief that Japan has never properly atoned for its actions.
 
Unlike most other countries, China does not usually send a top-ranked official to the Shangri-La Dialogue. It has sent its defense minister only once - in 2011.
 
Last year, China's most senior official at the forum was Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, the People's Liberation Army's deputy chief of general staff, who used the opportunity to ease concerns about Beijing's intentions.
 
A series of moves by China have unsettled its neighbors in recent months, including the declaration of a new air defense zone in the East China Sea and a more confrontational stance in the disputed South China Sea.
 
Tensions rose in the resource-rich South China Sea last week after China positioned a giant oil rig in an area also claimed by Vietnam. Each country accused the other of ramming its ships near the disputed Paracel Islands.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid