THE STATEMENT BY THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT ON THE SENKAKU ISLANDS DISPUTE: A COMMENT
"QUESTION: Asian allies of the United States very much appreciate the “Asia rebalance strategy” of the Obama administration. Could you please describe the core objectives of the policy in your own words? What do you think China is aiming at when they advocate a “new type of major power relations?” China claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. Would you officially declare that the Islands are covered by Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security treaty? What do you expect China and Japan to do to in order to lessen the tensions in the area? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our strategy is a long-term commitment to this region and its people, and I’m proud of our progress so far. Our alliances, including with Japan, are stronger than ever and we’re modernizing our defense posture across the region. Our trade is growing and we’re working to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’re deepening our ties with emerging powers like China, India and Indonesia. We’re more closely engaged with regional institutions like ASEAN and the East Asia Summit.... With regard to China, the new model of relations we seek between our two countries is based on my belief that we can work together on issues of mutual interest, both regionally and globally, and that both our nations have to resist the danger of slipping into conflict, which is not inevitable....And our engagement with China does not and will not come at the expense of Japan or any other ally. At the same time, the United States is going to deal directly and candidly with China on issues where we have differences, such as human rights. I’ve also told President Xi that all our nations have an interest in dealing constructively with maritime issues, including in the East China Sea. Disputes need to be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, not intimidation and coercion. The policy of the United States is clear—the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.' ""Q&A: Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun interviews President Obama". The Washington Post. 23 April 2014, in www.washingtonpost.com. "Today a dangerous dynamic is emerging in Northeast Asia. Three powerful, nationalist states with a history of hostility between them are simultaneously awakening from a period of quiescence and jockeying for power. For the past half century, the United States has assumed that its bilateral ties with Japan and South Korea were defining relationships on which it could build the entire architecture for its policies in Northeast Asia. In part because of these ties, it further assumed that it could largely set the agenda with China". Jason T. Shaplen & James Laney, "Washington's Eastern Sunset". Foreign Affairs. (November / December 2007), p. 96. The clear and unmitigated statement made by the American President in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun quoted above really only requires one comment: vivat! The statement is something which has been needed and required for quite some time. It clearly and effectively shows that if the leadership of the Peoples Republic were insane enough to endeavor to seize the islands by force, the United States would activate its defense forces and stop said attempted seizure. Full stop. Enough said. The PRC cannot going forward have any doubts that its revisionist policies in the Far East will be resisted by the might of the worlds premier military power as it relates to the Senkaku islands. One can only hope that the rulers in power in Peking remember what was said to-day and act accordingly. And what is good for he Senkaku islands goes for other parts of the region: what is in fact needed is a updated, Kennanesque policy of containing the Peoples Republic along its vast periphery. Only something akin to this will convince the ruling elites in Peking that a policy of changing the status quo ante bellum via force will be unsuccessful. And like the case of the former Sovietskaya Vlast, once well contained, it can be hoped that gradually the regime in power in China will begin to dismantle itself, piece by piece. In short, a policy of containing the PRC is the best hope of true 'regime change' for the Peoples Republic.