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Sino-Japanese Relations
Chinese See War With Japan as Inevitable

More than half of Chinese respondents to a recent Genron/China Daily poll expect China and Japan to go to war. A smaller but not insignificant number (29 percent) of Japanese respondents said the same. The poll, which was conducted before a UN-backed move to nationalize more contested East China Sea Islands, asked many questions about Sino-Japanese relations, and found that relations between the two historical enemies are at a record low. The FT reports on the results:

Relations between Japan and China have soured since Japan bought three of the tiny islands – which China claims and calls the Diaoyu – in 2012. Japan defended the move as an effort to thwart a plan by the anti-China governor of Tokyo to buy them, but China accused it of breaching an unwritten deal to keep the status quo.

According to the poll, 38 per cent of Japanese think war will be avoided, but that marked a nine point drop from 2013. It also found that a record 93 per cent of Japanese have an unfavourable view of their Chinese neighbours, while the number of Chinese who view Japanese unfavourably fell 6 points to 87 per cent.

It has become a standard refrain in the commentary on Japanese maritime territorial aggression that the island chains—the Senkakus, the Spratlys, the Paracels—are just some rocks, although perhaps rocks with oil and gas underneath them. China may want to follow through on its irredentist territorial claims for matters of national pride, or it might want to secure the resources in the East and South China Seas. But with regional opponents allying against Beijing’s provocations and America making at least a nominal “pivot to Asia”, hopefully the leadership’s cooler heads prevail, and China will prove its citizens wrong about an impending war. Emotions are high, but everybody would do well to remember that great power conflict in the Pacific would be a disaster for all.

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  • ShadrachSmith

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Chinese have a very poor record in wars with Japan. We could go into the reasons, but short version: I give 3-1 against China.

    • Duperray

      During Korean War around 1950, China Army was able to stop US army advance in North Korea, up to the point that Gl Mac Arthur was requiring permission to use atom bomb against… which was refused.

      • ShadrachSmith

        So, Johnson and Obama are just like Eisenhower? No. There is a difference in kind between bombing outhouses and dropping the big one.
        Try to keep up 🙂

      • JollyGreenChemist

        China suffered 2-3 times as many troops killed-in-action and 2-3 times as many troops wounded as did the US, despite their later entry into the war. They typically employed human wave tactics that were already obsolete in WWI. As recent as 1978-79 the Vietnamese kicked the PLA’s ass in a brief border war. (Some speculate that Deng precipitated the war knowing the PLA would lose badly, in order to have the justification to sack the PLA leadership).

      • Tom

        The reason that happened was because MacArthur refused to believe they were coming, and as a result American, ROK, and other allied forces were at the end of fragile supply lines, totally unprepared for the massive Chinese assault. We still bled them badly.

        • Stephen W. Houghton

          Also the Chines troops in question were American trained.

          • Tom

            Ummm…what? Unless you’re claiming that the PLA troops thrown into the Korean War were all former Nationalists from the divisions under direct American command in Burma and India.

    • JollyGreenChemist

      Agree. In addition, compare the professionalism of the PLA officer corps to that of the JSDF. I wonder how many PLA generals owe their position to their family or party connections and how many view their position as an opportunity for graft rather than an opportunity to serve their country.

  • Anthony

    “Emotions are high, but everybody would do well to remember that great power conflict in the Pacific would be a disaster for all.”

    This is very true. This same sentiment was conspicuously absent when Professor Mead suggested that The United States might want to put “boots on the ground” in the Ukraine to fight Putin. Why is Professor Mead so eager to take on Russia when China is the much larger threat. Also, our security commitment to Japan has been formalized in a treaty since the end of World War 2, whereas our relationship with The Ukraine has never been that strong.

    • Duperray

      Tagging Russia with all the evils (up to worse than Hitler + Stalin altogether) is a mock up propaganda exercise destinated to hide something else, far more important, probably evolving now, in a way world media don’t orientate their projectors upon.

  • Anthony

    Emotions are high and polls show those polled (Japanese and Chinese citizens) expressing antagonism. Okay so post hoc ergo propter hoc? Probably not.

  • BobSykes

    Meade and his staff are drooling lunatics on all matters European, especially the US/EU created crisis in Ukraine.

    As to China’s territorial ambitions, the most obvious and primary goal is reunification with Taiwan. This is also a strategic necessity prior to any other territorial acquisitions in the China Sea. Beijing’s recent curtailment of Hong Kong democracy suggests such a consolidation is currently underway. The US’ bogus Asian Pivot and its ongoing disarmament make any US promises to Taiwan null and void and will not deter Chinese actions.

    • tdperk

      “Meade and his staff are drooling lunatics on all matters European, especially the US/EU created crisis in Ukraine.”

      With no justifiaction at all, Russian wants it’s tiny minority in the Ukraine to rule the place as Moscow’s puppet, but Putin’s warmongering to make that real are the US/EU’s fault.

      You are the drooling lunatic.

      • Duperray

        Seen from another Continent: I can say you are intoxicated by Obamanian propaganda. If I were living also in US, I would too.

        • tdperk

          Then you need glasses, as I have no affection for Obama at all.

          But it’s perfectly plain to see, that as long as Russia consents to be ruled by such as Putin, all humanity is better off if Russians are cold, poor, and hungry, and Russia gets smaller and weaker every year. It’s the same with the Iranians, Venezuelan, North Koreans.

          Everywhere people decide to live by theft and murder, we should work to blight them, and see that the felons do not prosper. We are both safer that way, and true to ourselves.

          • Duperray

            You just gave me again another proof of what I said!

            About theft, murder and so on, which country has, directly or indirectly during past 25 years, triggered many local wars, cretaed Al Quaïda, installed anarchy by destabilizing many regions in the world?

            And the worst is that these guys are sure of themselves, they have done right….

            The first US religion is : “We are exceptional”. No comment.

          • Tom

            Sure. If you accept that the USA was the only country with the capacity to do so.
            And if you accept the fact that no US money would have gone to the Afghan mujaheddin, some of whom became Al-Qaeda, had Russia not invaded Afghanistan and thereby triggered local wars and installed anarchy.

          • Duperray

            I detect in your sentence a trace of what part of my family (american and living US) says: “Americans, are always right because are the most powerful..!”. Short sighted, this is opposite to the principle of mutual respect between states irrespective of their military strength. It is the law of force, opposite of civilization.

            Afghanistan: Now it is Russia’s fault ! Come on ! by 1980 USSR had recongnized a fact US took 35 years to understand: Islamic threat is the largest one and should be strangled. US naïvely played “little boy game” by arming afghan rebels, totally missing the point. Afghan weapons are american, not russian. Whatever claims, we are always back to square one: US have an infantile foreign policy because they do not listen to others (sure of their exceptionalism) and therefore cannot learn from errors. How many times in US history arming “friendly rebels” eventually backfired into a “another US armed enemy” ??? US better let british ministers handle US foreign policy, they have centuries of good experience.

            Look at Pacific WWII: Japan was a military ally of UK in WWI up to 1922. Why this broke up? Because US impose this to UK in exchange of US granting UK with a no agression pact. Why? We still wonder why? Consequences were that Japan military felt outraged and fueled the fraction of Army which was totalitarian. The latter crushed the other Army party and went in power by various assassinations during the 1920’s. From 1931 the game was over. We can say that shall US had not interfered with UK-Japan treaty, Pacific war would have not existed: A similar-to-1908 Japan-US treaty would have been peacefully risen and respected (Korea invasion versus Philippines)….
            All this is clearly explained into well know american history books.

          • Tom

            Your first paragraph is not what I said. What I said was that we had a greater capacity to mess things up than anyone else did–so, being human, we did so.
            Regarding your second paragraph–oh please. Afghanistan was, if not a purely secular society, also not run by psycho Islamists–until the USSR decided to start mucking about because the Communists in charge might’ve stopped being in charge. Your fault. Deal with it.
            As regards Japan–yeah. Right. No.

        • Stephen W. Houghton

          Actually if Obama said up I would assume down. He if said black I would assume white. He would say cold and I would assume hot.

          But that doesn’t change the fact that Putin is ex KGB and fascist swine.

    • Duperray

      I share your reasonable point. Also, don’t forget that Japan never recognized 1937 Nanjing 200-300 thousand civilians slaugther, WWII medical experiment camps and so on. This is not negligible and is a easy emotional topic (still very sensitive nowadays when you travel in China) for chinese leaders to warm up their troops in view of a possible war.
      Once this said, a conflict there is not the most effective way to exploit sea bed resources….

  • lukelea

    The Chinese may see it that way but The Party decides. Expect no war with Japan.

    • XBradTC

      That’s true, of course, but the Party also has an outsized influence on what news and editorials the public can see. Given that, there has to be some tacit level of support of the Party for inflaming public opinion against Japan.

      Maybe not “expect a war with Japan” but “don’t rule it out.”

  • Tom Scharf

    The US and Japan could forgive and forget after WWII. China and Japan not so much. There is a real grudge here that has not dissipated.

  • tdperk

    “Japanese maritime territorial aggression”

    Don’t you mean Chinese? All the aggression is coming from them, AFAICT.

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