‘China-Japan island dispute, of geopolitical interest to US’
Tensions have risen between China and Japan over disputed islands in East China Sea with geopolitical significance spurred on by citizen protests.
The uninhabited islands are known as Daioyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. They lie on a vital shipping lane and have potential gas resources. A group of Chinese activists recently sailed to one of the islets to plant the country’s flag there. They were arrested and sent back by Japanese authorities. The Japanese have responded so far with staged protests and a visit themselves to the islands, an action condemned by China.
Press TV has interviewed Stephen Lendman, writer and radio host, from Chicago to further discuss the issue.
He is joined by Lin Dinh, political analyst, from Philadelphia and Jim W. Deane, managing editor of Veterans Today, in Atlanta.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Speaking about what exactly Japan’s policy is, the country deported the Chinese activists it arrested when they raised the Chinese flag on one islet and that was seen as a goodwill gesture by some observers.
What does this move say do you think about Tokyo’s policy on the issue? Was this a goodwill gesture and does it show that Japan doesn’t want to raise tension when it comes to this issue?
Lendman: I think there are three issues involved: national sovereignty is the least important. These islands are claimed by three countries not two – Taiwan is the other one. Each country gives it a different name – Japan calls it Senkaku island and two other names that are hard to pronounce by China and by Taiwan.
The second important issue is economic resources. That’s always important. Where there’s gas there’s oil. How much, will be known when they start the exploring for it.
The most important issue is the one you’ll never see discussed in the West and that is the geo-political interest, Japan is a proxy for America. When Washington speaks it’s coming out of Japan’s mouth.
So, in the region Japan is representing Washington. It’s a provocation; this was a staged event by Japanese people. But China does the same thing – they bring their people over; they raise the flag or they burn Japanese flags. This is all staged stuff.
But Japan… imagine. Since 1945, 67 years still occupied by America and these islands are not that far from the southernmost prefecture of Japan, Okinawa, but very distant from the main island. It’s close to Okinawa, close to Taipei and close to China.
As far as territorial rights go, my guess is that China has more rights than any other country and China claims Taiwan is its legitimate territory, which it was until after World War II.
But again, the geopolitical goings on are the most important and Japan is representing America, America is going head to head with China – that’s the regional rival.
America by 2020 has already said publicly 60 percent of its fleet will be in the Pacific. It’s one thing for the American government to call the Gulf of Mexico its waters, it’s quite another to call the South China Sea an American state, it is not.
Press TV: You referred in your previous comments about who is the rightful owner of these islands. China is claiming that the islands have been part of its territory since ancient times. Japan is saying it is more than 100 years now that these islands belong to it. So basically, this is also what happened as you said after World War II.
Who can actually decide which country is the rightful owner and how can this territorial dispute by which force can it be resolved?
Lendman: It really can be resolved very easily, but I have had a Japanese expert on my program and I asked him once or I made a statement, a question statement combined together and I said to him, he’s been studying Japan all his academic life, I said, “When will Japan grow up and start acting like an adult.”
Japan was a vassal US State until the last two or three years; the dominant economic power in Asia, the number two economic power in the world. Japan is going down as the other guest said, America is going up, China is very definitely rising.
The IMF when Strauss Kahn was the director before they bumped him out said that by 2016 based on a purchase price basis – what you need to pay for a basket of goods – China will equal America. I mean it’s absolutely astonishing, this has all happened in the last three decades.
America knows that. America really is in economic decline. Japan controls its own money so it can keep printing as much as it wants. I don’t consider Japan bankrupt, I don’t consider America bankrupt – European countries if they can’t control their money, I consider them bankrupt.
China is anything but that. They have lots of problems, but they are on the ascendancy. This is what worries Washington. This is why Washington sicks its Asian dogs on China whether it be Japan whether it be Taiwan. Leon Panetta wants to get Vietnam as an ally – wants to go back to Cam Ranh Bay and establish another US base… Australia… it goes on and on.
This is China’s part of the world. The Asian countries if they were smart would ally with their Asian neighbors and they could all grow and prosper together. May be one day they’ll up and do that and they’ll all benefit from it and disassociate from a destructive nation like America that only wants to use them for America’s own purpose and then if they’re not needed anymore America will dump them. That’s the way America behaves.