The Japanese government officially announced its decision to purchase and "nationalize" the Diaoyu Islands yesterday. The Chinese government has reacted strongly. The Sino-Japanese relationship will unavoidably deteriorate.
We could feel that China was in a passive position over the Diaoyu Islands issue. As Japan holds "actual control" of the islands, it has an advantage that China doesn't in terms of what can be done about the islands. As long as Japan holds control, the possibility that Japan makes provocative moves will always be there.
Therefore, China should set a long-term goal, which is to change the current situation in terms of who controls the islands. It requires that the Chinese be strong-minded and highly united.
The sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands cannot be negotiated. Japan will not talk with China about it either. Japan's determination to defend the islands is also firm. It would be naive for the Chinese public to believe that the Chinese navy can solve the problem.
The conflict over the Diaoyu Islands seems to be between China and Japan. With Chinese pressure rising, the US may step into the issue, causing a confrontation between China and the US-Japan alliance to take place. China should be prepared for the worst.
China is on its fast development track with many strategic opportunities. It needs to seek a strategic balance between the issue involving Diaoyu, including the Nansha Islands, and national development.
This is not the best time for China to resolve territorial disputes with relevant countries. China is in a process where its national strength is rising, while it is being kept under a watchful eye by Western countries such as the US.
Currently, what China needs to do most is insist on the legal sovereignty over its maritime territory. Based on the above, China should seek every opportunity to take control of these disputed islands.
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