To avoid a possible tense and volatile situation, a BBC program conducted live broadcast interviews with the Chinese and Japanese ambassadors to the United Kingdom, but placed them in separate studios. Things have heated up between the two after they both accused the other country of being the “Lord Voldemort” of Asia in different interviews for British newspapers.
On Wednesday evening, BBC’s Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman interviewed both Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming and Japanese ambassador Keiichi Hayashi on his program, regarding the issues between the two Asian giants. Usually, the program puts guests together and face-to-face, even if they are on opposing sides on an issue. But the two diplomats only agreed to appear on the show if they were to be interviewed separately. This was explained by Paxman at the beginning of the segment, although he could not hide his opinion when he visibly smirked when he had to transfer studios to interview Xiaoming after the segment with Hiyashi.
Hayashi accused China of “breaking the international order” because it is staking its claim on the Senkaku Islands, which are under Japan’s administration. “China is changing the status quo through provocation and coercion,” he said. Liu then said that Tokyo refuses to face up to the reality that there is a dispute regarding the uninhabited islands. Regarding the still unsettled historical issues, he then quoted Britain’s former prime minister Winston Churchill: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Territorial disputes and lingering historical issues have affected ties between China and Japan, which was further worsened by the recent visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Yasukuni Shrine. Former colonies like China consider it offensive when Japanese officials visit the shrine that honors the war dead, including convicted Class A war criminals. Abe for his part, says that the visit was part of the country’s commitment to never wage war again.
[ via South China Morning Post ]
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