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Past Disputes
Chinese Premier: History Will Not Be Reversed

A verbal bomb was dropped this week during China’s annual meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. In a stern escalation of rhetoric, Premier Li Keqiang challenged Tokyo’s perceived revisionism. The Financial Times has the story:

“We will safeguard the victory of World War II and the postwar international order, and will not allow anyone to reverse the course of history,” Mr Li said on Wednesday at the opening of China’s rubber stamp parliament.

The Premier’s words are yet another instance of verbal squabbling between the two regional powers, in which alluding to the first and second World Wars has become commonplace. Last January at Davos, far-right Japanese PM Shinzo Abe stoked the fire when he compared Sino-Japanese relations to those between Germany and Britain preceding the Great War. Other countries in the region have been adopting equally aggressive tones against China and Japan over both China’s claims for contested territory in the region and Japan’s increasingly vocal historical insensitivity. Last month, Filipino President Benigno Aquino made waves when he compared China’s territorial aggression to Hitler’s militancy towards Czechoslovakia.

China and Japan are locked in a territorial dispute over a string of islands in the South China Sea. The dispute has had a deteriorating effect on Sino-Japanese relations, and has led to a stark uptick in nasty language from both sides, as well as moves by Japan to revise its pacifist constitution.

Now it looks like China is willing to put its money where its mouth is. On Wednesday, China announced it would increase its military spending by 12.2 percent, its larger increase in three years.

The Middle Kingdom demonstrates an increasing willingness to shape Asia’s future, with or without regional support. Japan, and by extension America, will be concerned.

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  • Pete

    As if China had anything to do with the victory over Japan.

    • rheddles

      The Chinese history books appear to be as accurate as the Japanese. What 19th century behavior.

      You would think that after what was done to both countries in WWII they’d have learned something. After the shooting starts next time, we should follow our WWII strategy and let them bleed eachother so we can enter after they are weakened.

      • Nick Bidler

        Isn’t maritime military power nice?

    • Jim__L

      China didn’t entirely do to Japan’s war machine what Russia did to Germany’s (“ripped the guts out”, in

      Churchill’s ever-colorful words), but I’ve seen it argued that Japan’s army was already on its way to defeat even before the US annihilated its navy.

  • ShadrachSmith

    What China is likely to take is Taiwan. In the wake of Russia taking Crimea, why not?

    China loses wars with Japan because China is so corrupt that they can’t supply an army in the field. It all gets stolen along the way.

    • rheddles

      Taiwan is better armed than Crimea.

      • ShadrachSmith

        No man knows the future, but I would use the current negotiations to advance the issue and claim whatever, corrupt some local official for a landing site and you may well take the whole place without firing a shot.

        There is no shortage of weapons in the Crimea, but not even the staunchest Ukrainian patriots are fighting the inevitable either.

  • free_agent

    You write, “Japan, and by extension America, will be concerned.”

    I don’t know how carefully that sentence was composed, but I read it as “Japan, and by extension America, won’t do anything.”

  • Jim__L

    So, will China respect the results of the war vis-a-vis the Kuomintang?

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