[原创][ 阿拉伯 半岛电视台 ] 中韩好兄弟？
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Are China and S Korea the region's newest best buddies?
Following Japan's move towards greater militarisation, China and South Korea edge closer.
作者：Alex Jensen 亚历克斯延森
Alex Jensen is a Seoul-based broadcast journalist covering both domestic and foreign affairs. He currently hosts a breakfast current affairs show for South Korea's tbs eFM and freelances for several international broadcasters and news outlets.
VisitingChinese President Xi Jinping decided to offer a history lesson in Japan's"barbarous wars of aggression" against his country and South Koreaduring a speech at Seoul National University on July 4, though his intendedaudience was clearly Tokyo's government. The wounds suffered by South Korea andChina at the hands of Japanese 20th century imperialism have never reallyhealed.Tokyo'smove last July to widen its military capabilities has seemingly sealed a bondmade of what Xi described in terms of "sweat and blood". But if Xi'sresponse was as much about the past as a shared future with South Korea, doesit actually signal a significant shift for Northeast Asia going forwards?Thereality of this region's ties depends on which lens one views them through. Inhis speech, Xi was selective. For example, as well as reviewing Japan'sexpansion in the last century, he chose to highlight Korea and China's mutualsupport against Japanese aggression 400 years ago - rather than focus on hisnation's key role during the Korean War on the side of the North.
Beijingremains a vital military and economic partner for North Korea, a country stilltechnically at war with the South as their 1950-53 conflict closed with anarmistice agreement rather than a peace treaty. South Korea may be able toboast that Xi broke a Chinese presidential tradition stretching back more thantwo decades by visiting Seoul for a summit with South Korean President ParkGeun-hye before heading to Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,but China is still bound by an alliance to protect the North.Asidefrom this three-nation entanglement, what if China's ongoing territorialdispute with Japan was to boil over into a physical conflict? Tokyo'sestablished ally, the United States, would be there to back Japan, but Seoul isalso tied militarily to the US - with around 30,000 American boots on theground in the South.Howabout if Japan's conflict was instead with North Korea? South Korea and Japan'sarmed forces would be on the same side, but then again, that would be nothingnew for their defence chiefs.Inother words, all this talk of South Korea and China being supportive of oneanother is limited to other fields, like the economy and culture - thanks tobeing key trade and tourism partners; with China topping both lists as far asSouth Korea is concerned. Those sides of their relationship are notinsignificant, but they were already progressing nicely before this latestcontroversy involving Japan.
Japanrevisits constitution 重审日本宪法
Noneof that though, makes Japan's recent behaviour unworthy of a further look.Fears of an end to Japanese pacifism are justified in that Tokyo'sreinterpretation of Article 9 in its post-World War II constitution allows thecountry to break a mould that has defined Japanese foreign policy since 1947.The country can now feel emboldened when joining its neighbours in the kind ofposturing that has prevailed in the apparent absence of the will to go to war.TheAbe administration has also consistently stirred anger among Japan's neighbourswithdemonstrations of insensitivity to the past. Tokyo's attitudetowards its wartime use of sex slaves, for example, has provoked widespread angerin South Korea and China. Then there was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe'svisit at the end of last December to the Yasukuni war shrine, which is mostinfamous for honouring war criminals - and one should not forget the fiercereaction to that impromptu stopover by a certain Justin Bieber earlier thisyear.Yetthere are limitations to what the Abe administration can actually achieve withits defence shift. The US might openly support Tokyo's new position, but thatis not the same as backing acts of aggression. Japan would only be able tooffer military assistance to allies under attack - no wonder the US is happy tohave an extra threat on its side. While the sight of a Japanese militarygaining confidence understandably touches already open wounds among SouthKoreans and Chinese who can, in some cases, still remember the suffering thesenations endured, realistically, Tokyo is toothless without US approval.
False dawn 幻象
ChineseForeign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on July 4 that "a new milestonefor the future development of bilateral relations" had been set. Itfollowed a script that had begun to be written on July 1 with the Abeadministration's success in gaining approval to bolster Japan's military might.North Korea even provided some fanfare with the latest of its rocket tests aday later - a possible sign of disapproval concerning Xi's trip to South Korea.In afurther twist, the North also continued to enjoy Japanesefavour as Tokyo lifted sanctions in return for an investigation into the fateof abductees plucked by Pyongyang decades ago. TheChinese president's visit to the South at the tail-end of the week offered anopportunity to portray all these events as comingto a head - a chance to suggest the birth of a newdiplomatic framework.Thatconclusion, however, has its limitations. Last week was a naked exhibition ofindividual ambitions, but none of those developments change the fundamentalties holding the main players back from making anymeaningful steps forward.Evenviewed from the narrow perspective of the two Koreas and China, Seoul's growingfriendship with Beijing loses its significance in the presence ofthe Chinese-North Korean bond - which emboldens Pyongyang in the face of UnitedNations sanctions.Fewwould be surprised if the North were to conduct another nuclear test to add toits third-ever last year. Even fewer would express shock ifBeijing were to support North Korea regardless of punishments imposed by the UNSecurity Council. That is not to even mention human rights issues, such asChina's refusal to allow North Korean defectors to move onwards to the South.NorthKorea repeatedly threatens Xi's "blood and sweat" partner South Koreawith nuclear warfare. It is in this obvious contradiction that we realise aseismic shift in regional relations is impossible without a unified KoreanPeninsula. In the long run, a stronger relationship between Seoul and Beijingcannot hurt the goal of reunification, but a great deal ofuntangling is required before reaching that stage. In the meantime, Pyongyangis fast becoming too dangerous even for China to control.Displaysof disenchantment with Tokyo do not herald the start of a new Northeast Asianorder. Instead, disorder is a more accurate description of relations in thisregion, where peace is for now maintained by the joint realisation that no onestands to gain anything from an armed conflict.
Alex Jensen is a Seoul-based broadcastjournalist covering both domestic and foreign affairs. He currently hosts abreakfast current affairs show for South Korea's tbs eFM and freelances forseveral international broadcasters and news outlets. The views expressed inthis article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera'seditorial policy. 作者：亚历克斯延森
bystander Unfolding Universe 21 hours agoIt's likelybecause the US doesn't want to be forced to come to Japan's defense in material terms,in the event of a shooting war between China and Japan. To the extent thatJapan can handle such an encounter with its own defense forces, it will allowthe US to stand back from the conflict.Itmakes one wonder ifChina is missing the obvious point that the agreement reached atthe end of WWII *disarmed* Japan in exchange for the US providing defense forit. China is effectively forcing an end to this arrangement -- it veryobviously doesn't want the US to play the defense role. But surely they realizethat if one half of the agreement goes away (US is responsible for Japan'sdefense) then the other half must also go away (Japan is disarmed).5 Reply匠栀愀爀攀
UnfoldingUniverse bystander 21 hours agoThe problem is, Idon 't think China have any intention to invade, or occupy Japan. The endresult is an increasingly militarized East Asia that will counter to UShegemony.Over time, an armrace will continue forever into the future for all Asia countries, and what youhave is a region of the world that will be powerful than theWest. This is counter to US interest.It is much morerational if US joins with China in something like a G2, but China don 't wantthat.3 Reply匠栀愀爀攀 Show 2 new replies
bystander Unfolding Universe 14 hours agoI haven't heardanyone in the US express the idea that Japan arming itself is "counter toUS hegemony". In reality, "US hegemony" is much more limitedthan is widely perceived (IMO). The US has a very great capacityinthe event of a full-blown shooting war. But it has very (very)limited capacity in the event of small-scale stuff, which is why the Chineseare able to tweak their neighbors while the US watches and wonders what it mightbe able to do. 2 删攀瀀氀礀匠栀愀爀攀
ararar3 Unfolding Universe 20 hours agothey are dividedso it doesn't matter.China wants thesouthern islands, not invade japan. Militarization is the obvious consequences. Reply匠栀愀爀攀
UnfoldingUniverse ararar3 20 hours agoMy point was Chinahave no intention to invade Japan. Thus, an increasing powerful Japan, andAsian alliance are not just going to hedge China, but it is going to weakenAmerican power in Asia. Similarly, a continuously powerful East Asia + China wouldnot going be more powerful,but it would wonder why an non-Asia country place itself in their group.At the end, therise of China increase the power of Asia by collective increasing Asia 'smilitary budge, and military industrial complex. Is this the objective of theWest?3 Reply匠栀愀爀攀
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