Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had some straightforward assessments about China during his interview with The Washington Post. He believes that China’s need to spar with Japan and other Asian countries is “deeply ingrained.” He said that the ruling Communist Party’s decisions to clash with its neighbors play to popular opinion. He attributes this to a Chinese education system emphasizing patriotism and “anti-Japanese sentiment.”
This theory is the reason why Abe choose to go head-on with the Chinese government rather than talk peace with them—he doesn’t believe that the territorial disputes will be resolved any time soon. He points out that if other Asian countries decide to reduce trade and other economic ties, as a sort of means of fighting back, China’s government would be hurt badly. He said that without economic development, it “will not be able to control the 1.3 billion people . . . under the one-party rule.” He also plotted out his plans for prevention, which necessarily includes having a bigger military spending and strengthening ties with Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and other nearby nations with similar concerns about Beijing.
Abe said that China should be made to realize that “they would not be able to change the rules or take away somebody’s territorial water or territory by coercion or intimidation.” Of course, these are mirrored sentiments of China as regards Japan. And the point of Abe about the Chinese system of education is worthy of attention, coming from someone who has pushed for a more patriotic curriculum in Japanese classrooms.[via Washington Post]