Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crouching dragon, rising sun

With the completion of its aircraft carrier, China's capacity to further up the ante in disputed East Asian waters has drastically increased. Japan's deep reach into the East China Sea, the capacity to contribute to the security of Northeast Asia, and above all an increasingly predominant political role in the region give Tokyo the power to be a natural counterweight to the growing influence of China.

You can read my full article here


  1. Just a few comments about your article, Yong:

    (1) The new naval treaty is just Professor Farly's wishful thinking. Conveniently the US Navy, which is arguably the most destabilizing factor in the region (whose aggressive and threatening posture prompted China to build up its own navy, to a certain degree) is left out of the treaty. I am sure China and other countries, even India would regard it as a blatant act of American and western hypocrisy to leave out the US Navy in the proposed treaty. Why should the smaller guys be punished when the kingpin roams free?

    (2) You are dead wrong about Japan being a "regional arbiter". Everyone knows that Japan is a close ally of the US and it closely aligns its interests with those of the US. How can Japan establish itself as a credible arbiter when it follows orders from Washington 10 out of 10 times? China knows it, Russia knows it, North Korea knows it. No kidding please, Yong.

    (3) Exactly how does "upholding Japan's territorial integrity contain China's surface fleet"? Senkaku/Diaoyu is certainly a flash point just like Takeshima/Dokdo is, however the PLAN's overall strategy cannot and will not be centered just around Senkaku/Diaoyu.

  2. Not going to lie, even though your comments are not the most supportive, I am fairly excited that someone actually read the article and cared to comment.


    1) Yes, I agree - I noted in the article that a comprehensive treaty is unforeseeable. The "kingpin" remains in Asia because Japan and South Korea feel as though the US 7th fleet is indispensable to its security. Indispensable because of existing security threats emanating from certain states that have acted increasingly more provocative in the recent years.

    2) Not joking; Japan does not follow Washington 10/10 - Japan's insistence on the movement of Futenma is only one example. Furthermore, Japan's economic prowess (despite the restraints imposed by reconstruction needs in Tohoku) will act as an important leverage in diplomacy with Russia and even the DPRK. North Korea frequently expresses desire to maintain closer ties with Tokyo - and historic economic relations between the two countries should not be ignored.

    3) Senkaku is a more pivotal flash point than the Kurile Islands or even Dokdo because Japan faces China and its economic-military might. Furthermore, geographically it's another strategic location separating the waters around the Asian mainland from the greater Pacific. The deterrent strategy does not center around the islands, but it must incorporate it and show that Japan's territorial sovereignty is inviolable. It's inherently destabilizing to allow the PLA to make incursions in sovereign airspace without consequences.

    But to the point of the article: it seems inconceivable that Japan will not take a greater role in the future of Asia - is there anything you would like to say to the contrary to the thesis itself?