A former Chinese ambassador to Japan has accused the United States of using China’s territorial disputes to expand its own influence in the region.
Chen Jian, who was posted in Tokyo between 1998 and 2001, said yesterday that the US had been “exploiting contradictions among countries of the region” as tensions run high between China and its neighbours, especially Japan, with which Beijing contests islands in the East China Sea.
“It is no longer a secret that it is in the US interest for countries in this region to quarrel with China, but not to fight with China,” Chen, who is dean of Renmin University’s school of international relations, said during a talk at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong.
His remarks come amid continued sabre-rattling between Beijing and Tokyo over control of the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan. The long-running row boiled over last month after Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, announced his government’s purchase of the islands from their private Japanese owner.
Yesterday four China marine surveillance ships were again spotted near the islands. The State Oceanic Administration said they were carrying out “expulsion measures” against nearby Japan Coast Guard ships.
One of the ships displayed an electronic message board informing the Japanese ships they were in China’s territorial waters and ordering them to leave, Kyodo News reported. A Japan Coast Guard spokesman said ships from each side flashed signs at the other demanding they leave.
Beijing argues that Tokyo took the islands, along with Taiwan, during the first Sino-Japanese war in 1895 and should have returned them after losing the second world war. Tokyo contends its claim to the islands pre-dates the earlier war.
Chen blamed the US, which administered the Diaoyus for a quarter century after the second world war, for setting a “time bomb” in 1971, when it handed control over the islands to Japan. Washington was now using the resulting tension to aid its military “pivot” towards the region.
“Japan is now being used by the US as a strategic point for its return to Asia,” Chen said. “The US is urging Japan to play a greater role in the region in security terms, not just in economic terms, which suit the purpose of right-wing groups in Japan.”
He said the US was trying to restrain China’s growing influence and warned Beijing to be cautious because the perceived backing from Washington could cause some countries to “carry their quarrel with China too far”.
Last month US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for “cooler heads” on both sides to seek a peaceful resolution to the dispute. Last year she said the US backed a three-way meeting between Beijing, Tokyo and Washington.
Wednesday, 31 October, 2012
Teddy Ng email@example.com
China defies ‘destabilising’ critics
Date October 31, 2012
Tania Branigan, Beijing
CHINA’S foreign ministry has accused critics of trying to destabilise the country and warned they are ”doomed to failure” after reports that the family of the Premier, Wen Jiabao, has amassed vast wealth.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Mr Wen’s relatives had controlled assets worth at least $US2.7 billion ($A2.6 billion), citing company and regulatory filings.
In an unusual move, lawyers representing the family released a statement to Hong Kong media at the weekend disputing the article.
Asked about the article, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: ”It is confirmed that Premier Wen’s family has employed a lawyer to release the statement. We will continue to clarify the report.”
He said the Communist Party leadership had improved China’s international standing and such criticism was aimed at hampering its progress.
”There are always some voices in the world who do not want to see China develop and become strong,” Mr Hong said.
”They try every means to smear China and the Chinese leaders and create instability in China. Their scheme is doomed to failure.
”The Communist Party of China and the government and people will eliminate any disruptions and firmly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The foreign ministry had previously claimed the article ”blackens China’s name and has ulterior motives”.
The Communist Party had hoped for a quiet year in the lead-up to next month’s party congress, marking the handover of power to a new generation of leaders.
But it has faced a string of embarrassments, with the downfall of the former Chongqing party secretary, Bo Xilai – now under investigation by prosecutors – and the jailing of his wife, Gu Kailai, for the murder of the British businessman Neil Heywood.
Other reports have focused on the wealth amassed by Mr Bo’s extended family and by relatives of Xi Jinping, the heir apparent to the presidency.
Such reports have underlined how closely economic and political power coexist in a country in which the top 70 members of the largely rubber-stamp legislature were worth an average 8 billion yuan ($A1.3 billion) last year.
The website of the People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, also attacked The New York Times in an article on Monday that failed to mention the report on Mr Wen’s relatives but claimed that ”in recent years, there has been an explosion in plagiarism and fabrication by its journalists”.