Should China SUPPORT JAPAN FOR SEAT ON UN SECURITY COUNCIL?
January 3, 2007 10:50pm CST
The www.straitstimes.com.sg carried an article that is reprinted below as representing the two prevailing views of China's elite. I have been most hopeful for years for Asia to come together to form an Asian Union of all Asian nations so that we can better define our Asian-ness. The world is already too small for us to remain separate, while America is a union of states, and Europe has also become a union of European Nations. If Asia can form a union of Asian Nations then we will be the strongest union on this good earth. The USA has been the most single stumbling block to this vision. I am for China to support Japan for entry to the Security Council of the UN, while I also see Japan kow towing to the Americans as their lackeys. This therefore is the interesting point of my perspective. I see the opposing views of those in China who oppose China's support to Japan's entry as NOT PRODUCTIVE for the best outcome possible. I endorse their views that Japan is not contrite for the atrocities that they committed in China during the second world war. I also comdemn the Japs for being the animals that their Jap culture made them for what they were and what they will most probably likely do again if they are given a second chance; but that is not rational because we will be sacrificing the best outcome for the sake of vengence that yields no benefits at all. From my perspective it is more beneficial for us to leave aside our hatred for the Japs and assess in the most detail WHAT IT IS THAT WE CAN BENEFIT FROM SUPPORTING THE JAPS IN THEIR QUEST FOR CHINA TO WITHHOLD OUR VETO. For me the absolute most important benefit to support the Japs is that China is sending to the other Asian nations that WE ASIANS WANT A NEW MIND SET IN OUR DEALINGS WITH ONE AND OTHER and that it is more important for us to unite than to remain divided. It does not matter one jot that China still does not forgive the Japs for what they did; but it is most important that we act in concert; AN ASIA WITH SUCH A MIND SET WILL BE THE GREATEST COMPETITOR TO THE REST OF THE WORLD AND MORE PARTICULAR TO THE HEGEMONY OF THE USA. I suggest that China should approach this issue with this perspective in mind. The Stature of a China that acts in this manner will attract more respect and support than a China that succumbs to narrow emotional issues. There is no fear that Japan can ever gain a greater leadership role from the other Asian nations over China. The People's Republic of China is by its size and the strength of its new found economic clout the NATURAL LEADER OF ALL ASIA. The support of China for Japan's application for a seat on the UN Security Council is the first step. China will then consolidate and build on this first step to pave the path for the other Asian nations to follow into the bright future for all Asians. Do not take a non profit path that yelds illusory satisfaction. Demand great returns for our support. I WILL EXPAND ON THIS DISCUSSION AT A LATER DATE, because this is such a great opportunity for China to break into the leadership of all Asia and helping Japan is the first step on our journey of a thousand miles. HONG KONG - Chinese President Hu Jintao faces a tough test when China has to decide whether to allow Japan to join the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a permanent member. So far, Beijing has been non-committal. Mr Kong Quan, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, would say only that his government understands Japan's desire to play a greater role in international affairs. Advertisement As one of the five existing permanent members, China can vote for, abstain on, or veto Tokyo's bid. Its foreign policy experts are divided over what it should do. Proponents for Japanese membership, like Professor Shi Yinhong of the Chinese People's University and Dr Feng Chaokui of the Japan Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, argue that a 'yes' would go a long way to allay fears that the two are set on a collision path, given soured relations recently. It could even be an initial step towards building a future Asian Community in much the same way as the Franco-German rapprochement in the European Community. To give substance to China's statements that it wants a peaceful rise in its influence in the region, China should take steps to reverse this collision trend, they say. After all, China needs stable and amicable relations with Tokyo to create a favourable regional environment, necessary for its own growth. If China votes against Japan, it would hurt Japanese feelings deeply and reinforce their belief that China is the biggest stumbling block on their way to becoming a 'normal state'. More than that, the two argue, it will lend credence to the view that China and Japan are unable to coexist as equally strong neighbours. As in the past 300 years, Asia has witnessed one attempting to subdue the other. A Chinese veto will remind the Japanese of this historical pattern and would exacerbate the downward spiral in bilateral relations, already at their worst in decades. Prof Shi and Dr Feng believe the biggest psychological barrier for China to accepting Japan as a permanent member of the UNSC stems from what has been called the 'history' issue. While Beijing is right in pointing out that the Japanese need to be more repentant of their war crimes, it should, on its part, be more forward-looking in managing the problem and not be bogged down by historical baggage. Proponents against Japan's quest, like Professor Pang Zhongying of the Institute of Global Studies of the Nankai University in Tianjin and Research Fellow Jin Linbo of the Asian-Pacific Studies Directorate at the Institute of International Studies, argue that a nation not remorseful about its war crimes will pose a potential threat to its neighbours. By re-writing history text books to de-emphasise its invasion of Asian neighbours in World War II, and by continuing to honour 14 convicted 'Class A' war criminals in the Yasukuni Shrine, Japan is openly insulting all its erstwhile victims. Besides, they say, post-war Japan has not shown any capacity to devise and implement an independent foreign policy. More often than not, it merely echoes the Americans. Giving Japan a permanent seat is thus tantamount to giving the US, an existing permanent member, a second veto. Worse, permanent membership provides Japan with a good excuse to rescind Article 9 of its Constitution, which forbids its use of force. The US, its main supporter, has already suggested that doing so is a prerequisite for its UN bid. Opponents argue that while abrogating Article 9 suits Americans, who would like to see Japan shoulder greater military responsibilities in the region, especially in containing China, the spectre of a militarised Japan unsettles its neighbours. Even if China were to agree, some preconditions must be set for Japan, such as a more acceptable stance on its past atrocities, and some mechanism to prevent its flexing military muscles again in the future. While Chinese experts are split on whether to support or veto, they are almost unanimous in saying abstention is the worst possible option. Given that the other four permanent members - the US, Britain, France and Russia - are for Tokyo, an abstention will see Japan through - without the Japanese feeling the least bit thankful to the Chinese. It is also equivalent to an outright veto as the Japanese are certain to read it as thinly veiled Chinese hostility. President Hu is, in this sense, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. However he decides, he will upset sizeable parts of the Chinese population. What's your idea?