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Can The US Help Improve Relations Between China and Japan?

Wed, Jul. 19, 2017 Posted: 05:26 AM

It is no secret that relations between China and Japan are struggling. The two countries have a long history of conflict and it seems as if these historic disputes will continue to hinder relations into the foreseeable future. Many experts have debated on what can be done to help improve relations between China and Japan. Out of all the ways that have been suggested, it seems as if one other major country could play a vital role in improving relations between these the two countries.

The United States has a huge influence on the political dynamics of the world. Most importantly, it is seen as an ally to both China and Japan. With a long history of economic and political ties to each respective country, it is one of the few countries that has the power to be heard and complied with.

As two of the most powerful economies in the world, the United States and China have created a long and prosperous partnership. The two countries share many of the same political, economic and security interests. However, the partnership has been marked with several conflicts. In fact, the two are often simultaneously seen as allies and political adversaries. As the Trump administration begins its revisions on foreign policy, relations between the United States and China have become even more strained. However, the partnership holds the most promise towards providing stability to the Asian

On the other hand, the United States also maintains an active political and economic relationship with Japan. Throughout the years, the countries have been successful trading partners. In fact, Americans and Japanese citizens alike have a very favorable view of each other. This relationship is seen as a negative in the eyes of China.

The United States’ relationships with both countries presents certain obstacles to the relations discussions. Each country has issues with each other that hinder more peaceful negotiations. For example, the United States and Japan’s trade relations have weakened as Japan’s economy becomes somewhat stagnant. On the other hand, the US’ relationship with China has several weak points as Beijing continues to build their army and military activities.

However, the most heated of conflicts that affect relation improvements is the historic issues between China and Japan. The Sino-Japanese history is filled with events that still affect the two countries’ opinions of each other.

One of the major events is the Rape of Nanking. This massacre is believed to have took place at the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War. As the Old Japanese Army celebrated a bloody victory, they decided to continue their rampage into the capital city of Nanking. Chinese officials caught wind of the impending attack and evacuated the city of all leaders and trained fighters. This evacuation left the citizens of Nanking completely defenseless. The city was easy overtaken and China claims that during the short attack around 300,000 people were sexually assaulted and murdered by the Old Japanese Army. This event continues to affect modern day relations.

However, many critics point out inconsistencies with China’s claims. Some explain the sheer impossibility of so many lives being taken in such a short period of time. Another common issue that is pointed out is that the official list of victims continues to be edited and lists a much smaller amount of names.

Despite the critics, this issue has continue to be a main point of contention between the countries. Even as Japan has become a democracy and shed its military dominated personality, China has refused to allow the history fade into the past. It is not surprising, China has a long history of demonizing Japan and using anti Japanese propaganda to manipulate the world’s opinion. This is simply a motive to help China continue to create a sense of authority in the region. After all, if other countries in the region begin to see Japan as powerful as China, its authority in the region would weaken. Even the many empty promises of negotiations between China and Japan have resulted in nothing but more animosity and boycotts. With such a dedication to manipulation, it may be hard for the United States to improve relations between China and Japan.

As the three most powerful forces in the Asian region, the trilateral relationship between the United States, China and Japan is the most complicated in the world. The United States continues to encourage open discussions and negotiations between the countries. Reconciling their differences will only help bolster the region and create a more stable and peaceful world. The United States must continue to work hard to promote alliances between the three, even in the face of extreme conflict. As dangerous issues, such as the erratic behavior of North Korea, threaten the future stability of the area, it is important to work toward a common goal in solidarity.

George Smith