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Diplomacy, No.34  Oct. 7, 2016

Has the Cultural Revolution Become “History” in China? — Underlying political climate over decades in China

Tsuji Kogo, Representative, Center for Contemporary Materials Research of China

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, which began in China in 1966. The Communist Party of China adopted the “Resolution on certain questions in the history of our party since the founding of the People’s Republic of China” at its Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee in 1981, reviewing the results of the Cultural Revolution as a whole. It may well be said, however, that the evaluation made in the resolution was used by the Chinese leadership as a tool to justify their attempt of putting an end to any further debate regarding the Cultural Revolution. Will the tragedy of the Cultural Revolution repeat itself? In search of answers to this question, in the following article I will discuss the history of the Chinese revolutionary struggle in terms of the country’s underlying political climate. The Cultural Revolution revealed ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.34  Oct. 7, 2016

The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that led to President Obama visiting Hiroshima — Increased focus on “looking to the future” from all concerned

April 11, 2016, G7 foreign ministers and the EU higher representative laid wreaths and stand in front of the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. ©Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Peace Memorial Park while in Japan for the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima. Following a concerted effort from the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio, atomic bomb survivors and various other parties, this ultimately led to a visit by President Obama. We take a look at what actually happened   After laying flowers at the Cenotaph for A-bomb Victims, US Secretary of State John Kerry put his arm around the shoulder of Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio and spoke to him, while pointing in a certain direction. Kishida appeared to look uncertain for a moment, but nonetheless visibly nodded in agreement. After commemorative photos had been taken, they began walking in that same direction. As they did so however, an almost panicked cry rang out from the security forces. Following the order to ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.34  Sept. 29, 2016

Abe’s Tour of Europe Sets the Stage

In an article written before the G7 summit in May and the referendum on membership of the EU in the United Kingdom in June, Professor Endo Ken considers the immediate and potential impact of Prime Minister Abe’s recent meetings with foreign leaders in Europe.   Prime Minister Abe Shinzo made a round of calls on European leaders from May 1 to 7 this year. A longer agenda for the visit had been planned, but it had to be shortened due to the earthquakes in Kumamoto from April 14 on. Regardless of the disaster contingency planning and the tight schedule, the Prime Minister had two major reasons for insisting on the round of calls. Firstly, to lay the groundwork for the Ise-Shima Summit (the G7 meeting) slated for May 26 to 27. Phrased like this, it sounds like a routine call, but the actual situation ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.34  Sept. 29, 2016

Competition and Collaboration with China

The rapid increase in China’s national strength is giving rise to a massive change in the balance of power throughout the Western rim of the Pacific, and these changes are now having a very large impact on regional order. As countries situated in this region and having the world’s second and third largest economies, China and Japan are expected by the international community to bear grave responsibilities with respect to the peace and prosperity of the regional and global order. In recent years, however, China and Japan have been unsuccessful in building the kind of relationship that the international community expects of them. Dialogue between the political leaders of the two countries has been lacking, and the law enforcement agencies of both have been confronting each other in the East China Sea. A Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism between China and Japan is desperately ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.34  Sept. 29, 2016

Reef Reclamation by China and the Security of Japan and the Asian Region

The current conditions in the South China Sea, an area that has been attracting global attention since last year, can be called a product of China’s underhanded strategies for turning the concentrated international interest in antagonism between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands to its own advantage. China, which had had no effective military foothold in the southern part of the South China Sea, has attempted to build man-made islands and military bases on the Spratly Islands (hereinafter referred to as the “man-made island preparation”) by reclaiming reefs there, using the situation in the East China Sea as cover. The United States, which must have known about the man-made island preparation, refrained from demanding that China exercise self-control until the beginning of last year. Interpreting this stance as tacit approval by the United States, China accelerated the man-made island preparation, ignoring the opposition ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.34  Sept. 29, 2016

Philippines v. China — Implications of the Arbitral Award

On 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribuna l rendered an Arbitral Award in the Philippines v. China case. The Philippines instituted the arbitral proceedings in accordance with Section 2 of Part XV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2013. Despite China’s rejection of the arbitral proceedings, the Arbitral Tribunal, in its Award of 29 October 2015, found that it had jurisdiction over seven of the Philippines’ fifteen submissions, reserving consideration of its jurisdiction over seven others to the merits phase and requesting the Philippines to clarify the last. In its Award of 12 July 2016, the Tribunal found that China’s claim to the South China Sea on the basis of the “nine-dash line” was incompatible with the UNCLOS and that there was no evidence supporting the “historic rights” of China. In accordance with the relevant provisions of ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.34  Sept. 27, 2016

China’s Next Legal Battle at SeaChina has sent warships into Japanese territorial seas. There is no room for complacency, even after an award on the South China Sea.

Sakamoto Shigeki, Professor, Doshisha University

Despite being a member of the permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, China is making no attempt to abide by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. China’s one-sided claims are similarly based on flimsy grounds. If it wants to become a great sea power however, China cannot afford to make enemies. Japan meanwhile needs to focus its full attention on this increasingly fierce legal battle.   Adopted in 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is also known as the “Constitution of the Oceans”. As of 2016, 167 countries are parties to the Convention, including Japan, China and every other country with a coastline along the South China Sea. Each country is required to comply with provisions set out in UNCLOS, which serves as an international code of conduct for marine activities. At ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.34  Sept. 25, 2016

A Record of Struggle with Modern China

Mikan no Chugoku: Kadai to Shite no Minshuka (Author: Kagami Mitsuyuki; Iwanami Shoten, 2016) is a collection of selected writings published by the author, analyzing decades of China’s modern development from a unique perspective. Frankly, I find the author’s discussions and analyses in this book to be incomplete and he fails to put China’s sociopolitical movements into perspective with regard to the Great Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square protests in light of related empirical studies in later years. Each individual article collected in this anthology largely reflects the critical view of the author at the time of its writing. You can see a clear consistency in the perspectives presented by the author regarding China or Japan. The author’s attitudes towards Modern China seem to be characterized by some particular viewpoints. First, he maintains a critical view regarding materialistic prosperity under a capitalist economy. ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.32  May. 22, 2016

Japan Is Set for A New Dimension of International Cooperation― A perspective for future international cooperation

Future course for Japan to take Yamazaki Masakazu: On the domestic front today, things surrounding our society seem to be remaining stable at a level that has never been experienced before. This observation does not take the form of a commonly shared view in the media, however. Japan was engaged in a war when I was at elementary school. Compared with those gloomy days that I had to spend as a child during the war, our current era is so much better. It is true that our economy is struggling to take off in one way or another, with growing concern among us regarding our future amid the progress of an aging population with a declining birthrate. But if you look at the bright side, you will find that the jobless rate for young adults remains low and our public safety standards are by ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.33  May. 17, 2016

Mao Zedong, Founding Father of the People’s Republic of China, Conspired with the Japanese Army

ENDO Homare, Director, Center of International Relations, Tokyo University of Social Welfare, Professor Emeritus, University of Tsukuba

On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong declared the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The achievement of Mao Zedong as founding father of the PRC is, indeed, great. If we focus attention on this achievement alone, Mao Zedong can be described as “a man of great stature” who deserves to be respected. It should be noted, however, that the PRC is a state that was ultimately created through victory in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang (KMT) forces led by Chiang Kai-shek and forces loyal to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and is not by any means a state created by defeating the Japanese Army in the Sino-Japanese War. The proof of this is that Japan announced defeat on 15 August 1945, but it was 1 October 1949 that the PRC was founded. During this four-year period, the KMT and ... ... [Read more]