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Millennium Post

The great Asian trapeze

Newspapers further reported how the two countries in the hindsight further decided to elevate their ties to a special strategic global partnership but evidently enough failed to conclude a civil nuclear deal.  In terms of ODA, India is the largest beneficiary of the Japanese funds.

In the course of things when Mr Modi referred to certain countries having expansionist mindset, it was evident that reference to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had been made. Sensing trouble, the Chinese, who acted cautiously by calling a media briefing on the issue, released a statement clarifying their position as that of muted ignorance about the identity of the country in question.

Beijing, however felt irked by Modi’s statement especially when he tried to draw a parallel between the controversial Senkaku islands dispute between China and Japan and the constant run-in’s of the
Chinese Army in Arunachal Pradesh and also Ladakh, bordering the highly disputed Aksai Chin area.
China is palpably upset at the fact that at a time when it is seriously seeking to amend ties with India, especially after President Xi Jingping met Modi at the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil and consequently invited him for the APEC Summit in Beijing, China, the Indian PM jumped the gun in Japan.

On the contrary, Modi, who adheres to the no-nonsense school of thought, has made his and more importantly India’s concerns about China’s constant attempts at incursions inside the Indian border heard, much ahead than Chinese President Xi Jingping’s meeting with the Indian PM in New Delhi. This move signifies a paradigm shift and can perhaps be the precursor of the many rounds of confidence building measures (CBM’s) to come. Moreover, Modi’s Buddhist diplomacy with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe is further going to insinuate China.

This shall primarily happen because India had provided the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso and the other Tibetan refugees political asylum way back in March 1959, in spite of the then Chinese premier Zhou-en Lai writing to his Indian counterpart Jawahar Lal Nehru in the same year in January that no Chinese government had ever accepted the McMahon Line, an outcome of the 1914 Simla Convention as legal. In 1960, Zhou-en Lai unofficially suggested that India dropped its claims to Aksai Chin and in return China would withdraw its belligerent assertion over the North East Frontier Area (NEFA).

Chinese antagonism was for everyone to see but Nehru still remained hopeful of a possible reunion of his highly dubious ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai’ foreign policy with China. When on 20 October, 1962, the Chinese army launched two scathing attacks, Indian forces were found to be deficient as compared to the Chinese. The non-authorization of the Indian Air Force being made a part of the offensive proved costly and India, badly depleted, lost the war. The blame fell on the Indian defence minister, V.K Krishna Menon and Nehru was lambasted by the President, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan for his naïve foreign policy measures with China.

In recent times India’s (read ONGC Videsh Limited’s) bid to explore oil with PetroVietnam in the South China Sea prompted the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson to issue a strongly worded statement saying, ‘China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and the island. China’s stand is based on historical facts and international law. China’s sovereign rights and positions are formed in the course of history and this position has been held by Chinese Government for long.

On the basis of this China is ready to engage in peaceful negotiations and friendly consultations to peacefully solve the disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights so as to positively contribute to peace and tranquility in the South China Sea area. We hope that the relevant countries respect China’s position and refrain from taking unilateral action to complicate and expand the issue. We hope they will respect and support countries in the region to solve the bilateral disputes through bilateral channels. As for oil and gas exploration activities, our consistent position is that we are opposed to any country engaging in oil and gas exploration and development activities in waters under China’s jurisdiction. We hope the foreign countries do not get involved in South China Sea dispute.’

Reuters US on 7 September, 2014 reported from Hong Kong that Vietnam will soon have a credible
naval presence in the South China Sea after acquiring two state of the art submarines from Russia with a third expected in November, this year. The deal valued at under US$ 2.6 billion could give China serious jitters at the expanding clout of its much smaller in size neighbor, who reportedly is angered at China’s claims of complete suzerainty over the controversial waters. China is also said to be upset with the Indian Navy, which has been operating kilo class submarines since mid eighties and which has been training Vietnamese crews at its INS Satavahana submarine center in Vishakhapatnam.

SINO-JAPAN: Clash of the Imperialists
China and Japan have never had peaceful relations. Both imperialist powers, have clashed throughout the course of history beginning in 663 AD when the Battle of Baekjang happened. The battle was part of the ancient relationships between the Korean Three Kingdoms (Samguk or Samhan), the Japanese Yamato, and Chinese dynasties.

The point of contention between the two Asian giants however in the 20th century can be traced back to 1937 when the Nanking Massacre also known as Rape of Nanking happened at the behest of the Japanese Imperial forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The annihilation which started on 13 December, 1937 can perhaps be attributed as the darkest episode between the two countries all because of the Japanese dream of annexing the resources wealthy Manchuria to fuel its engine of growth which began with the Meiji Restoration. Estimates of the International Military Tribunal of the Far East reported that over 200,000 Chinese were killed in the incident. China’s official estimates are more than 300,000 dead based on the evaluation of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal in 1947.

After the end of WW II and the subsequent loss of the Axis powers there came a change of perception about the Japanese. China in 1948, under Chairman Mao was a new country and trade relations soon started but the vigil on the Japanese shores remained intact. Jiang Zemin, former Chinese President in 2003, reported that the Japanese invasion of 1937 had left China in direct economic losses of about US$ 100 billion and indirect losses of about US$ 500 billion. In recent times, words have been exchanged not only on the Senkaku dispute but also on Abe’s last year visit to the Yasakuni shrine for paying respects at a site that is reminiscent with people who lost their lives in World War II, including wartime criminals.

The move which came on both the first anniversary of Abe’s second accession to power and the 120th birthday of Mao Zedong, founding father of the People’s Republic of China and also the 1st Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, was widely rebuked by the world’s most populous country and also capitalist South Korea, on counts that this visit was a clear reminder of how widely the Japanese adore their militaristic and atrocious past.

China and Japan share a cagily affable relationship with both the countries being the world’s second and third largest economies of the world. In 2008, China-Japan trade grew to $266.4 billion, a rise of 12.5 percent on 2007, making China and Japan the top two-way trading partners. China was also the biggest destination for Japanese exports in 2009. But a Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) survey conducted early this year claimed that Japan’s total trade with China dropped 6.5 per cent to US$ 311.995 billion in 2013, down for the second consecutive year. It further said that exports to China fell 10.2 per cent to US$ 129.883 billion, posting a double-digit decline for the second straight year, while imports from China fell 3.7 per cent to US$ 182.112 billion, making the first drop since 2009.

India’s trade with China on the other hand has been robust all this while and over the past five years, India’s imports from China have shot up more than 60per cent, while imports from Japan have risen only 12 per cent. In FY 2013-2014 India’s imports from China had reached US$ 51 billion, while imports from Japan were pegged at US$ 9 billion. Japan’s desperation to maintain stable economic ties with India are apparent. The manner the Japanese PM visited Sri Lanka immediately after Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan also signals their intent at expanding trade in South Asia too.

China’s pursuance of the new union government in India is also admirable as Xi Jingping has taken calculated risk by visiting India ahead of his now cancelled visit to all weather friend Pakistan. His accession to Modi’s willingness about first visiting Gujarat is being seen as a purported move in Chinese circles to strengthen further ties between the two great nations. Modi is a plain-speaking politician and it is obvious he would bring up the repeated incidents of incursion by the PLA on Indian borders. As for now, if the three Asian superpowers want to bring down West’s influence on world trade bodies and emerge as the largest economies, they’ll have to work in close cooperation.
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