East Asia coming full circle
China is demanding that Japan apologises and pay compensation for the arrest of fishing boat captain Ding Xiping. Japan had detained him for 3 weeks before releasing him under intense pressure from China. For the uninitiated, Japan annexed the island with the Penghu island group and Taiwan after it defeated China in 1895. It also claimed war reparation and many other rights and territorial claims. It wrestled Korea as its colony and hundreds of tons of silver from China. The weak and defeated China could not do anything but resigned to its dismal fate. And Japan went on to rape China and extort more and more rights from her, creating all kinds of incidents for more apologies and demands. The Marco Polo Incident was etched deeply in the minds of the Chinese populace. The closest equivalent of power between China and Japan then is between Iraq and the US today. The US could do anything to Iraq without any credible response from the Iraqi people. Today Japan is till a powerful military state. But the equation of its military might vis a vis China is that of Germany or England vis a vis the US. The Japanese still did not realise that there is a mismatch of the power equation and not in its favour anymore. For every soldier the Japanese have, the Chinese have 1000. For every military aircraft or tanks the Japanese have, the Chinese have 100 more. The bow and arrow and big sword armies of the Qing Dynasty were long gone. Today China will be making demands and more demands for any Japanese incursion and violation of its territorial integrity. And China does not need to create any incident like the Japanese did. It only needs to claim back all its territories ceded to Japan during the days of gunboat diplomacy and unequal treaties. The Yakuzas in Japan still think that they can take on China in the battle field. They are dreaming. The China of today is even ready to take on the US if forced to defend its national interest and territorial integrity. If Japan still does not take heed, it will be China declaring war on Japan and demanding apologies and war reparation. Naoto Kan said it is unthinkable for Japan to apologise over this incident and that Diaoyutai is Japanese territory. Such a stand will have grave consequences as China will no longer accept the unjust treaties it signed under duress. China will not and cannot back down from this Japanese position or it will be seen as acceptance of the Japanese claim. Let’s see what China will do next.