Opinion: Is war on the verge of breaking out?

Haoran Li

Haoran Li is a sophomore communication studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater

He can be reached at [email protected].

The governments of China and Japan have been arguing for several years. On Sept. 17, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said that unmanned Chinese aerial vehicles were found flying over the Senkaku Islands, which are called Diaoyu Islands by China and called Senkaku by Japan. The Japanese threatened to shoot down the vehicles that flew over the East China Sea. However, the spokesperson of China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said on the same day, “China has determination and abilities to guard the sovereignty of Diaoyu Islands.”

The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that its position, or lack thereof, on the disputed islands has not changed, and it will not take sides on the ultimate question of the sovereignty of these islands.

Neither country has residents on the islands, but the disagreement about to whom these islands belong was set aside for more than 30 years before being brought up again this month.

We know that this is not only a problem between the two governments but also involves the U.S. government. After WWII, Japan became an ally to the U.S., but, it took a visit from President Richard Nixon in 1972 to form a strategic partnership with China, a still-communist country. When it comes down to it, both China and Japan are important to U.S. foreign policy, and a military conflict would be detrimental for American economic affairs.

Right now, China’s government does not want to start any war or skirmish. China’s priority is development. Obviously, war cannot bring any prosperity. China is working to transform its political system. If there is a war or skirmish between China and Japan, it is difficult to predict what the U.S. will do.

“The United States is the most powerful country in the world,” said Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. “China is working very hard to modernize the country to develop its economy and improve the livelihood of its people. So it’s very obvious that it is important for China to have stable and healthy relations with the United States.”

It is also less probable for Japan’s government to launch war because of this issue. Japan’s government has not been allowed to expand its military without amending its constitution.

It is unnecessary for the U.S. to start a war with China because of close trade relations between the two countries and because Americans wouldn’t support military involvement in another region.

China and Japan do not want to back down on this issue because both countries want to use this opportunity to demonstrate their power to the world and develop feelings of nationalism. China and Japan have enormous common interests, economic and otherwise. There is huge potential for close cooperation. Compared with these interests, the disputed islands seem less important to the two countries’ citizens.