Territorial row has escalated between China and Japan as Chinese protesters continue demonstrations against Tokyo.
Thousands of angry Chinese protesters have hold their ground outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, throwing bottles at the building and shouting slogans against Japan.
In the southern city of Shenzhen, police fired tear gas at the angry protesters who were calling for “bloodbath” in Tokyo.
In addition, over 1,000 protesters held a demonstration in the southern city of Guangzhou, burning Japanese flags. They also attacked a hotel next to the Japanese consulate.
Meanwhile, the Japanese companies working in China have temporarily suspended their operations in the country as anti-Japanese sentiment grow.
Japan and China have long been competing over the sovereignty of a chain of uninhabited islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, which are located near a crucial shipping lane in the East China Sea and would give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in the surrounding waters.
China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said on September 12 that Beijing would “never yield an inch” over the disputed territories.
Press TV has talked with Paul James Host of China Radio International from Beijing to further discuss the issue at hand.
He is joined by Bill Jones with the Executive Intelligence Review from Washington and also Linh Dinh, a political analyst and writer from Philadelphia.
The following is a rough transcription of the Interview.
How serious do you think these tensions actually are becoming between the two countries and is it going to spin out of control?
The question of whether it will spin out of control is still sort of up in the air, over the weekend we saw a large-scale protest taking place across China, in many cities large-scale demonstrations, a lot of attacks against Japanese interests including car dealerships, a couple of Japanese citizens were actually attacked, very violent anger amongst the demonstrators here in China as they see the Diaoyu Islands, as they are known here in China, as intrinsic Chinese territory.
The question now of how broad-scale and how far out of control these protests may go is a larger question because the government has come out and said that they want the protesters to settle down a bit, they do not to see the violent actions that we saw taking place over the weekend.
That being said, September 18th here in China marks what is known as a Menchuria Day, I hear in China that is going back to the 81st anniversary of an incident which basically launched the Japanese incursion into what is known as Menchuria here in China in the northeastern part of this country.
So today we are expecting to see more protests take place, the scale of which still very questionable at this point in time.
And Mr. James just quickly, we know of course that there has been calls by the protesters who have boycotted the Japanese products, etc. Is the [Chinese] government for that?
No, definitely not. They are not officially for these sorts of things. The government did come out and say today that they want the protesters to settle down and take part in protests in a calm and rational manner.
What the concern here in China is amongst the leadership here, is that if the protesters do tend to lose control and start attacking more Japanese interests here in China, it may affect bilateral trade between the two countries.
Japan is very critical to China’s economy as far as foreign direct investment is concerned and of course China is very important to Japan’s economy as well.
So there are concerns on both sides that if this does spin out of control that business interest here in China could be affected and trade could be affected in the longer term.
That visit by Leon Panetta, what has been described ‘the second sophisticated X-Band Radar system’ to Japan. Now is this going to further increase tensions with China?
Well, it is certainly not going to help the situation any. The Chinese side has come out against this missile shield, the second phase of this missile shield that was alluded to previously.
Of course, the American side is saying that this is aimed at blocking any launches by the North Korean side and whether or not, the authorities here in Beijing really believed that or not is a larger question.
They have not made a lot of broad statements on this particular issue as of yet. Of course Leon Panetta is here in China now for discussions with these countries top leaderships including Vice President Xi Jinpin so we will see how that element of the situation plays out.
One of the other element, though, that does not get a lot of discussion here but I think is note worthy for our discussion is the fact that this particular set of islands is claimed by the mainland, by Japan and by Taiwan.
Now this adds a certain element to the wrinkle as well because of the fact that the mainland considers Taiwan a renegade province and Japan has always maintained a fairly strong set of ties with the authorities in Taiwan.
Though not official, they do have a lot of economic ties with Taiwan as well.
So that adds another element to the wrinkle and also brings into the fold the Americans given the United States continued support for Taiwan and arming Taiwan.
So if Taiwan were to make stronger claims towards these Diaoyu islands, this could exacerbate the situation even further.
On questions about whether there is going to be a military confrontation or not, Paul James we know of course that China has sailed surveillance ships to the area and we have had a lot of lawmakers in reports, asking the Tokyo government to get military involved to, in their words, protect the area.
So do you think, however, that Japan will be doing that?
That is a difficult question to answer at this point because of, I guess, the state of the military and naval defenses on both sides.
Japan has a significant naval presence in the East China Sea area as it is home to many smaller islands that is part of the Japanese island chain in general. China on the other hand does not have a very significant naval force. The Blue Water Navy here in China is relatively small, very fledgling in fact. It does have a significant coastal defenses and the inclusion of these ships into this area adds an interesting twist from a military and strategic standpoint because China is starting to flex its muscles a little bit more.
It is developing Blue Water Navy, it has created its first ever aircraft carrier which is set to take sail into the ocean, probably later on this year.
So it is a real question mark and a real sort of, I guess, challenge to try to sort out what is going on in the mind of the authorities here in Beijing and to what their broader intentions are.
Obviously the sovereignty is the key issue not just for the East China Sea but of course they have large claims in the South China Sea as well, which of course has been coming up between Vietnam and the Philippines.
So I guess it, as I said, goes into the larger question of the mindset of how far Beijing wants to take it and the counter reactions that may be brought on by the Japanese side.
And the Last concluding comments, Paul James, if you can tell us in less than a minute, do you think that this is going to lead to a termination of ties between the two countries?
No, there will never be a full termination of the ties between the two countries.
The economies are just too far interlinked, they have got too much political history and too much at stake in the East China Sea region and in the East China in general.
The one thing I would say though to watch for in the next little while is how the new leadership here in Beijing is going to take on this particular issue.
Wherein a once a decade leadership transition right now, the old president and the premier are moving out, they are being replaced by a newer, younger generation of leaders, who may take a different tact towards the situation as these younger leaders are economists, they are not engineers that the current leadership is.
So they may be looking more towards an economic conclusion to the situation rather than a strategic or a military one.