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Protective wing of US has emboldened Japan over the Diaoyu Islands, but it should not test China's patience too far
The Diaoyu Islands dispute continues to ferment following the Japanese government's attempt to "nationalize" the islands and is at the risk of spiraling out of control if Tokyo does not chart a new course.
China's fast development since reform and opening-up in 1978 has also benefited the rest of the world. However, the development dividend they have received has not been appreciated by all beneficiaries: certain countries have never stopped proclaiming there is a "China threat", and some countries even covet islands or maritime areas belonging to China while enjoying the huge benefits brought about by China's rapid economic development.
The normal buildup of China's military, including its navy, is for defense and not based on selfish interests or the pursuit of hegemony. And it should be borne in mind that despite the remarkable progress made in recent years, China's navy is still unable to meet the international responsibilities and obligations it is expected to undertake as a big international power.
China is a peace-loving nation and Chinese people are opposed to the use of war to resolve disputes. But such a disposition does not mean we lack the courage to stand up for ourselves. Facing the latest strained and complicated developments following Japan's provocative behaviors on the Diaoyu Islands issue, China should make all possible preparations, including preparations for a possible military conflict and even war.
With its provocative farce of their so-called purchase of the Diaoyu Islands, the right wing in Japan has exposed its desire to regain the "No 1" status for Japan in East Asia and its unease at China's steady and sustainable development. The Chinese government and people should be on a high alert and resolutely oppose Japan's militarism.
The Japanese government's stance on the Diaoyu Islands issue has come amid Japan's renewed militarism. Under the domination of militarism Japan caused untold pain to and disasters in many Asian countries. And under the umbrella of the United States' protection, Japan conducts little soul-searching repentance for its past crimes and continuously fanfares right-wing extremism.
The resurrection of militarism within Japan is inseparable from the US. To maintain its global hegemonic status since World War II and defeat the erstwhile Soviet Union, the US sought to strengthen and cultivate Japan as an ally.
Under such strategic consideration, the US signed a security treaty with Japan and privately and illegally handed over the administration of the Diaoyu Islands to Japan, in an attempt to bury the seed for the China-Japan territorial dispute. It is because of this strategic arrangement that the US has turned a blind eye to the rise of Japan's militarism and its continuous attempts to breach the restraints of its pro-peace constitution.
The US, which is largely responsible for the China-Japan Diaoyu Islands entanglement, should have maintained an impartial stance and sought to help resolve the dispute. Instead, Washington poses as a neutral, but favors Japan in action, allowing Japanese officials to claim its security treaty with Japan is applicable to the Diaoyu Islands. Such a stance is essentially connivance with Japan's militarism and aggression and could embolden Tokyo to take more provocative action with dire consequences.
The Japanese government should realize the severity of the dispute and immediately refrain from any more provocations and infringements of China's sovereignty.
From the re-naming of some of the Diaoyu Islands' affiliated islets earlier this year and the attempt to purchase three of the islands by some Japanese rightist forces to the latest "nationalization" move by the Japanese government, the Japanese government and Japan's right-wing forces have tried to make fools of the Chinese people.
But while not offending others if we are not offended is the long-cherished principle of China's dealings with other countries, Japan should not mistake China's patience and tolerance as an opportunity for pressing for more "concessions". It should not underrate Chinese people's courage and resolve to resist foreign aggression. China will not back down an inch on issues related to its sovereignty.
The author is director of the Naval Research Institute of the People's Liberation Army.
(China Daily 09/20/2012 page8)