抗日戦勝70年 習氏が内外に誇示する軍事力

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Xi shows Chinese military might at home, abroad / Distortion of history by China, ROK unacceptable
抗日戦勝70年 習氏が内外に誇示する軍事力

China’s display of military might is symbolic of its arms expansion policy and threatens regional stability. The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping must exercise self-restraint in challenging the international order.

A 70th anniversary ceremony and military parade marking China’s “victory in the War of Resistance against Japan” were held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Thursday. “This great triumph crushed the plot of Japanese militarists,” Xi said in his speech.

China said the anniversary events were “not targeted at Japan as it is today.” However, it is crystal clear that they were intended as part of anti-Japan propaganda activities.

Abe’s absence right

Excessively highlighting the past and eliminating future-oriented elements would hinder the improvement of Japan-China relations.

It was proper for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to decline a request to attend the anniversary events.

China held a celebration on Sept. 3, 1945, the day after Japan signed its instrument of surrender. Last year, the Xi administration officially designated that date as “the day to celebrate the victory of the war of resistance against Japan.” Thursday’s parade was China’s first since October 2009, when it celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and the first of its kind to mark the country’s “victory against Japan.”

Xi probably wants to stir up patriotism by emphasizing both China’s status as “a victorious nation” and its “military power,” and thereby strive to maintain the political leadership of his administration.

About 12,000 officers and soldiers participated in Thursday’s parade, which is said to have been China’s biggest ever. About 200 aircraft, including the latest types of early-warning planes and fighter jets, and domestically produced weapons such as cruise and ballistic missiles, were on display.

Worthy of note was China’s first public showing of its new intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Coupled with the fact that Xi made no reference in his commemorative speech to the role played by the United States during World War II, this suggests China intends to eliminate Washington from the Asian order.

During a meeting with Lien Chan, a former leader of Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), Xi mentioned that both the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist Party “contributed significantly to the victory in the war of resistance against Japan,” thereby acknowledging the Nationalist Party’s role in the war.

At the time it was engaged in war with Japan, China was largely under the rule of the Nationalist Party. Concluding the victory as one gained by the whole of China is likely intended to emphasize the legitimacy of the communist administration. Isn’t this a distortion of history?

Heads of state and leaders from more than 20 nations, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, attended the ceremony and the parade. Leaders from Japan, the United States and major European nations skipped the events.

Attendance at the parade could be interpreted as giving approval to China’s military buildup. Part of the reason many nations did not send a leader is that the parade was held in Tiananmen Square, the site of a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

Putin was the only leader from the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to attend the parade. If anything, this highlighted how China and Russia stand apart from other nations. Both have strengthened their dictatorial systems, and they will not elicit much sympathy even as they profess “victory in the anti-fascist war.”

Ban lacking neutrality

We felt the attendance of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at the ceremony was problematic. Ban, who also attended a Russian ceremony commemorating “the 70th anniversary of the victory over Germany,” justified his participation by saying he has taken part in various events marking the end of World War II.

We wonder if this sends a message of approval for the actions of China and Russia as they seek to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China and South China seas, and in Ukraine. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was quite right to show concern and say that the United Nations “should keep a neutral position.”

China is South Korea’s largest trading partner. Park’s attendance at the parade indicates that she has to give greater weight to ties with Beijing as South Korea’s economic dependence on it grows.

During talks with Xi held before the parade, Park said, “[Our] two countries together underwent a time of great adversity during the past century.” This was affirmation of Xi’s comment that the peoples of both nations had fought against Japanese aggression.

This once again gave the impression that South Korea is tending to side with China on issues of history.

Park will travel to Shanghai, where she will attend a commemorative event for the office building of “the provisional government of the Republic of Korea,” a site regarded as a stronghold of the independence movement.

Closer ties on security

Does Park want to close her eyes to the fact that Japan and South Korea did not fight against each other, and emphasize the self-flattering historical perception that the independence movement achieved liberation from Japanese colonial rule?

South Korea’s leader attended these events even though Seoul is an ally of Washington. Their alliance has its origins in the United States fighting alongside South Korea in the Korean War, in which China stood on the North Korean side.

It appears China’s extension of assistance to ease recent tensions between the Koreas has shaken South Korea’s position and, in the national security field, Seoul is straying from its previous path.

Japan and the United States must increase their vigilance against attempts to drive a wedge between cooperation among Tokyo, Washington and Seoul.

Xi and Park have agreed to hold talks with Abe as early as late October in South Korea. It is highly possible that Abe and Park will hold their first talks at this gathering. It is vital that Japan pursues strategic and productive summit diplomacy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 4, 2015)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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