East China Sea Conflict: Harbor No Illusions Of U.S. Impartiality


US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta just visited Japan and China and his position on the Diaoyu issue was intensively scrutinized by the media. But Washington’s attitude still remains vague, insisting that the White House takes no position over Diaoyu’s sovereignty.

But it is obvious that Washington is not so impartial between China and Japan. In other disputes China has with its neighbors, the US directly or indirectly sides with China’s opponents. The question is how much weight the US will put behind Japan.

Until now Washington has been reluctant in openly supporting Japan’s claim, since Tokyo’s demand isn’t legitimate. Also Japan hasn’t been in a disadvantageous position that requires Washington to immediately step in. Moreover, the US has to take into consideration the Sino-US relationship. It doesn’t want to face a strategic dilemma whether to intervene if a war breaks out between China and Japan.

The US has its strategic considerations in taking a position between China and Japan. It is impossible for China to persuade Washington to take a neutral position. The hope of such is purely an illusion, though China can urge the US to move toward a neutral position through concrete actions that show doing so is more in line with US interests.

China should take the opportunity of Panetta’s visit to let the US know its will to safeguard the Diaoyu Islands and resist Japan’s provocation.

As long as Japan escalates the situation, China will take ready actions. If the US does not restrain Japan but incites it to provoke China, then we will all bear the military risks.

Japan claimed the US has agreed that the Diaoyu Islands fall within the purview of the US-Japan Security Treaty. China should show its stance to the US that China rejects any military presence in Diaoyu, and it will take military actions against such moves.

Japan has the actual control of the Diaoyu Islands. The US and Japan can make offensive moves at will. Only through taking firm actions, can our determination be firmer and we win back the initiative.

Sacrifices will be necessary in safeguarding Diaoyu. Chinese should be prepared for it. These sacrifices will not only improve the situation we are in over the Diaoyu dispute, but also lay a solid foundation for China’s global status in the future.

The US urged China and Japan to solve the dispute peacefully, and stressed it did not take a stance on the issue, which is an admission there is a dispute. It serves as a blow for Japan’s right-wing forces, which claim there is no dispute on the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands. It is China’s attitude that made the US take this position.

The policy the US takes toward Diaoyu is far from US core interests. The US attitude can vary according to how strong China’s approach is.

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