Wen Jiabao’s Softly Approach to Japan – Willy Lam

From Asia Sentinel:

The Chinese premier’s visit to Tokyo indicates a desire to play by the rules and tolerate ambiguity for the sake of diplomacy.

Premier ’s just-completed “ice-thawing” visit to Japan has demonstrates a new sophistication in Chinese diplomacy: a readiness to focus on positive elements in bilateral ties while temporarily setting aside contentious issues, and a willingness to tolerate ambiguity if the clarification of disputes cannot be achieved in the near term.

This is not to say that a leap forward of significant proportions has been attained. Beijing and Tokyo have only begun the long journey towards the goal of a “mutually beneficial strategic” relationship. And both sides have hardly made a dent in resolving the major bone of contention in Sino-Japanese relations: Beijing’s perception that Tokyo is playing a key role in an emerging anti-China containment policy supposedly spearheaded by Washington; and Tokyo’s perception of the threat posed by the People’s Liberation Army – as well as Beijing’s determination to become Asia’s top dog through by various means, including marginalizing Japan’s influence in the region. [Full Text]

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