Commentary: Japan heads down dangerous path with provocative moves   2012-07-27 18:42:08            

BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Japan is heading down a dangerous path with its recent island-grabbing moves concerning the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Its action may cause tension to flare up despite China's efforts to peacefully resolve the issue.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Thursday that, if "illegal activities" were to take place on the Diaoyu Islands, his country would consider deploying its Self Defense Force.

The tough words were an escalation from two days earlier, when he told a parliament hearing the Japanese government had launched a plan to "nationalize" the islands, over which China claims sovereignty.

The repeated provocations underscore that Tokyo is pursuing a dangerous approach to this delicate matter, which guarantees a backlash from Beijing and the Chinese people.

With Japan's nationalist right-wing gaining more power, a trend of China-bashing has become popular. An article in the Weekly Standard, a U.S. political magazine, said Japan's national government was being pushed in a more aggressive direction.

Tokyo's move on the Diaoyu Islands has disrupted Japan's current defense policy, in which article nine of its constitution renounces war and the use of force in settling international disputes.

China has always shown constraint and remained cool-headed on the issue, but its goodwill was only misinterpreted by Tokyo as tolerance.

Therefore, the Japanese government must drop its provocative moves and fully understand that any unilateral move on the Diaoyu Islands is illegal and invalid, and will not change the fact that the islands belong to China.

The motive behind risking treading thin ice may be that Noda was attempting to divert domestic attention to security affairs in order to reclaim support within the ruling Democratic Party, which has suffered a serious split over a tax hike bill and the defection of political kingpin Ichiro Ozawa.

The moves also come at a time when the United States is pivoting to the Asia-Pacific, raising speculation that Japan is falling into step with its ally to pressure China on the volatile waters.

Marking the 40th anniversary of normalized diplomatic relations this year, China and Japan should work together to create a harmonious environment and push for the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.

It's high time for Noda's administration to reassess its foreign policy, which lacks far-sighted planning, to cherish the hard-won friendship with China, and fully respect the history and feelings of the Chinese people.

Editor: Wang Yuanyuan
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