|The Holy Family and pet bunny|
Some are of the opinion that it is China - not North Korea - that will determine how Japan plans its defense budget.
They would be right:
China has stepped up military spending and already dominates the South China Sea, through which Japan's trade with major markets including Europe and the Middle East flows.Now, Japanese military experts are worried Beijing may be on the brink of opening access to the Pacific through a Japanese island chain that has marked the limit of China's military influence for decades.Tokyo sees unfettered passage for Chinese warships and warplanes through the Okinawan island chain as a threat to vital sea lanes. For China that access is part and parcel of becoming a global superpower.
This is why it is imperative that not only does Japan nuclearise, that it also forms alliances with other Asian nations and encourages them to do the same instead of forging partnerships that will ultimately prove one-sided.
China's simmering belligerence and megalomania have reached Mao levels of lunacy. Its unchecked currency-fixing, unfair trade practices, land-grabbing and unmarried military age males have allowed China to expand as it has. Whatever adjustments China has made in the size of its armed forces can be made up with the technologies and weapons it has appropriated through various means. For the moment, China appears to be at the top of its game. Having a toe-hold in trade and ownership of foreign debt, one wonders why China needs to fire a shot at all to let the world know it means martial business.
Because global super-powers wouldn't be global super-powers without displays of strength and hubris.
Consider the recently chastised and currently conciliatory North Korea and its congratulations for Xi and his near-permanent place in absolutist power:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a congratulatory message on Saturday to Chinese President Xi Jinping on a re-election that many see as blatant power grab.
According to North Korean state media, Kim said he hopes Xi would "achieve greater achievements under his leadership."
The boss always likes it when an underling flatters him. Indeed, where would North Korea be without Chinese support? Does Kim Jong-Un's fawning statement sound like a sincere effort to cease its nuclear program, as South Korea erroneously believes, or is Kim high-fiving its backer in full confidence that, once again, China will maintain its buffer state and the world will stand by and watch?
Japan had better start with some conciliatory and friendly gestures of its own or it will find itself standing against the dragon (albeit paper) by itself.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi retained his job and was also promoted to a state councillor on Monday, meaning he now has the country's two top diplomat roles, in a vote of confidence for his strong defense of China's interests.
Sources had previously told Reuters that Wang would probably become a state councillor with responsibility for foreign affairs, and that he may also keep his job as foreign minister.He has been likened to a "silver fox" in China's state media, and online, for his looks and his staunch defense of Chinese positions, which has won him a loyal following. Foreign diplomats say he can be suave and charming, as well as tough.
A Canadian reporter who was scolded by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi for raising the issue of human rights during a press conference in Ottawa says she “absolutely” stands by her question.
Amanda Connolly from the online outlet iPolitics asked about China’s questionable human rights record, expanding territorial claims, and the case of a Canadian man held in prison for allegedly spying and stealing Chinese state secrets.
Her question was addressed to Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion during a joint press conference with Wangon Wednesday.
“Please don’t ask questions in such an irresponsible manner,” Wang told Connelly through a translator. “I don’t know where that comes from. This is totally unacceptable.”
Wang then went on to berate the journalist.
“I have to ask whether you understand China,” he said. “Have you been to China? Do you know that China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty? Do you know that China is now the second largest economy in the world, (built up) from a very low foundation? Do you think development is possible for China without the protection of human rights?”
Mr. Tantrum himself has really gone up in the world.