Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:1AM
They [the US authorities] have initiated the ‘Asia Pivot’ which is generally recognized as being an attempt to limit China’s influence.”
China has warned Japan over the landing of two Japanese on a group of disputed islets, amid more anti-Japan protests across China over the islands claimed by the two economic heavyweights and Taiwan. This is while, thousands of anti-Japan protesters marched on the Japanese Embassy in the capital, Beijing, demanding a boycott of Japanese products. The demonstration came after armed police forces were deployed to curb the violence of several days of protests across the country. The protesters massed outside the Japanese embassy in the capital, hurling stones, eggs and plastic bottles into the embassy compound. The long-running row between the two states over the sovereignty of the islands flared up after Japan announced that the country had purchased the islands from their private Japanese owner. The islands would give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in surrounding waters. Tokyo has been enjoying Washington’s support in its island dispute with China, because Japan represents the regional interests of the United States. Press TV has talked with the political commentator Bill Jones from Washington to further elaborate in the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview. Press TV : Mr. Jones, where will this row lead to? I mean because the US is treaty-bound to defend Japan in case of an attack. Are we speaking about a possible conflict between the US and China here or is there something else in the works? Jones: Well, there is obviously a very serious situation because there are very heightened emotions on both the Chinese and the Japanese side. Nobody can say what is going to happen now. You have got the fishing season started; Chinese fishermen are going into the area. Last year of course there was a fishing boat that was captured by the Japanese [forces] that caused the major crisis. Now you have the Japanese petrol vessels there in the area and anything is likely to happen. It is hard to say what the motivation is from the Japanese side; obviously there is a lot of pressure from the right-wing, the right-wing mayor of Tokyo who has been pushing this thing. The Japanese are now in an electoral process and so there is also a lot of politics that are involved in this but it is a very serious situation. I think that the United States would like to see it calm down although whether they want it to or not it probably has encouraged it to the extent that they have initiated the ‘Asia Pivot’ which is generally recognized as being an attempt to limit China’s influence in the area and the Japanese-US treaty has been strengthened. So that might have indirectly also given a push to that, but I think that right now Secretary Panetta is most concerned about trying to bring down the tension but we are going into a period of the next few days where something can really happen. Press TV : And what could be a solution to this crisis? I mean there is also talks of buying and selling the chain of islands. Jones: Well, somehow the unilateral actions that are being taken, and this is the Japan as just one part of a chain of actions that have been taken with regard to these disputed territories, somehow have to be put on hold. Somebody has to say stop! And a diplomatic track [has to be] created. Now the Chinese have submitted to the United Nations their claims and their maps of the area so it is going into something of a legal process that is where it ought to be and until that is resolved, some kind of, if you want to call it a code of conduct, that is a popular term being used now with regard to the disputed area, has to be created between the two countries. That is how they are going to act in regard to this territory which is clearly disputed. And I think that even the United States would have to agree that that is what has to be done since the official policy is that they do not enter in these disputes between these two nations. But the bigger picture is that China and Japan should begin to concentrate on improving their overall relationship. China is a very important market for Japan, Japan is a very important investor in China and if there was a conflict between those two; I think it would be devastating for the both economies. So if there is a little give on that in terms of improving that relationship, I think that they can kind of, place this thing on hold and let the legal proceedings play out. MY/PKH