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Abe's plot to contain China is doomed to fail

Updated: 2013-06-14 06:41

BEIJING - Since taking office as Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe has been launching frequent diplomatic blitzes targeting China, apparently in a bid to put up a ring of encirclement to contain and guard against China.

On the one hand, Abe and his cabinet members have paid visits to nearly 30 countries surrounding China. On the other hand, over 10 countries' leaders including those from India and Myanmar have been invited by Tokyo to visit Japan.

As the Diaoyu Islands issue keeps escalating, Abe's diplomatic activities were interpreted by many international media as an attempt to rope some countries in to contain China and then re-establish Japan's dominant position in Asia. However, no matter the construction of "arc of freedom and prosperity," or the building of "security diamond," Abe's plot to contain China is doomed to fail.

First, China's economic and trade relations with its neighbors have been developing rapidly, which can hardly be changed by Japan.

Taking the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for example, although Japan is the second largest trade partner of ASEAN, it is China that occupies the top position. Since the Free Trade Area between China and ASEAN was launched, the two sides' bilateral trade and investment have been rocketing. Trade between China and ASEAN reached a record high of $400 billion in 2012, with two-way investment amounting to $100 billion and personnel exchange coming to 15 million persons.

Second, China's neighbors, especially Southeast Asian countries, are victims of Japan's aggression in World War II and are still vigilant against Japanese militarism.

Moreover, instead of reflecting on Japan's history of aggression, Abe put the blame on the victims and attempted to challenge the post-war order, which will not get support in the long run.

For example, during a recent visit to Sanya of China's Hainan province, Myanmar President U Thein Sein said his country treasures its traditional friendship with China and expects China to continue giving support to Myanmar. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, that Australia does not hold position on the Diaoyu Islands issue.

Although some exceptional Southeast Asian countries collaborate with Japan due to their territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, the majority of the countries in the region agree to solve the problems by negotiation, and no country has given public support to Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.

What's more important is that China is no longer the weak and poverty-stricken country in the first Sino-Japanese War in 1894, nor the disunited nation in the Sept 18th incident in 1931. With its national power greatly promoted, China can by no means be contained by Japan.

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