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China & Japan

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  1. Introduction.
  2. A Sino Japanese relation characterized by diplomatic and political tensions.
    1. Two states haunted by their common past.
    2. The importance of public opinions.
    3. The Diaoyu dao and Sengaku islands issue.
  3. An ambiguous economic relationship.
    1. Two complementary and inter-dependent economies.
    2. Disputes about the ODA (overseas development assistance).
    3. Improve or or worsen the relationship?
  4. A lot of concerns in the military field.
    1. Chinese vigilance toward the ghost of Japanese militarism.
    2. Us-Japan alliance and the TMD (theatre missile defence).
    3. What could most lead to a conflict: Taiwan.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

Sino-Japanese relationships are very complex. Historically, both countries have known a kind of ?Golden Age? when they dominated the Pacific region. Before the arrival of the Europeans, China was dominant. Then Japan modernized a lot during the Meiji Era (1868) and became superior. Even its defeat in the Second World War (1945) did not strike a blow to its leadership in the East Asian region. Nowadays, with the so-called ?Rise of China?, both countries clearly show aspirations for influence. So, the historic relation between China and Japan is made of competition and sometimes hostility. Yet, during the past few years, there have been a growing number of contacts between these two states at many levels: the economic ties are stronger and socially, the peoples seem to have got closer. But unexpectedly, these new links have not led to a significant improvement of the Sino-Japanese relationship. We can even wonder if the situation is not now worst than during the Cold War because China and Japan do not have a common enemy anymore; the Soviet Union and later the whole communist bloc vanished and it triggered off a necessary redefinition of international strategies for Japan and China.

[...] Two states haunted by their common past First, Japan and China have a huge common past. And this past is today a big issue. China considers that Japan has to recognize the atrocities committed during the Pacific War. At that time, China was invaded by the Japanese army and suffered a lot. For example, the Nanjing massacre took place. The Japanese soldiers killed 300,000 Chinese men, women and children. They also raped women and committed all sorts of atrocities. Nowadays, China wants Japan to apologize for its former actions. [...]


[...] As an illustration of the tension, China refused to meet the Group of Seven which was meeting in Japan because the invitation came from Japan. Many thinkers in both countries would like to compartmentalise political disputes. They do not want them to interfere in an efficient economic relation. This economic relationship is made of competition but at the same time, both China and Japan are ready to cooperate. First because it is in their interest but also since they are aware that it is the better way to challenge the US leadership in the region. [...]


[...] China does not want Japan to take part in it. Indeed, if this system of missile defence is applied in Asia, it would deny Chinese deterrence power: successful, TMD would be able to nullify the Chinese missile threat to Taiwan'.[19] But at the same time, the relationship with the USA appears like a guarantee to avoid a serious conflict between China and Japan: ?Currently, the fact that none of the protagonists anticipates military conflict between China and Japan is only possible because of the role played by the United States'[20]. [...]

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