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China Has Responded Directly and Angrily to Obama’s War Threat

April 24, 2014 (EIRNS)—China has responded strongly to Obama’s overt threat of war against it over the contested islands in the East China Sea, in telling Prime Minister Shinzo Abe openly that the barren islands fall within the U.S. security treaty with Japan. (put official statement here)

Two commentaries characterize the response from China, one in People’s Daily and one in the New York Times.

Li Xuejiang wrote in People’s Daily that the U.S. demand that China act "responsibly" by submitting to Japan’s provocative nationalization of the contested islands, contrasts with overt U.S. "war crimes" in Iraq and with drone strikes in sovereign nations.

"The U.S. shows not a hint of remorse or even any inclination to reflect on its conduct. Is this the way that a ’responsible’ country should behave?" Li points to the hypocrisy of U.S. actions in Kosovo compared those to Crimea, and in the East and South China Sea, where "the U.S. says that it will not take sides in any territorial dispute in the East and South China Sea..., but it claims that the Diaoyu Island issue is a matter for the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. What is even more serious is that the U.S. command in Okinawa expressed its willingness to help Japan seize the Diaoyu Island."

Li concludes by asking, in regard to the Obama Asia tour: "Will Obama be a peacemaker, or a troublemaker?"

The New York Times runs an op-ed by Wu Xinbo, the head of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, which begins:

"The United States has been a destabilizing force in the dispute between China and Japan.... Not only did Washington create the problem in 1971 by arbitrarily returning the administrative rights of the islands to Japan, but America’s claim that its security alliance with Japan applies to the tiny islands has emboldened Tokyo to take a more aggressive stance toward Beijing."

Regarding Japan’s turn to militarism under Abe, Wu writes:

"The United States has acted as Japan’s enabler. Washington supports efforts in Tokyo to reinterpret the country’s post-World War II pacifist Constitution to allow the military to act in conjunction with allies beyond Japanese territory. Washington encourages Mr. Abe to pursue a more active and assertive security policy, including the buildup of the Japanese military, which may lead to a further strengthening of Japan’s already advanced air and naval forces. And Washington asserts that the United States-Japan security alliance applies to the East China Sea island dispute; the American military has intensified its cooperation with the Japanese military in the area.

"These policies suggest that the United States, while claiming to be neutral, not only supports the Japanese position over the islands but, more importantly, prods Japan to be more aggressive toward China.

Wu calls for a hotline between Tokyo and Beijing, and agreement to step back on both sides from provocations, but adds that the U.S.

"should not take sides on the sovereignty issue, nor attempt to serve as an arbitrator. Washington should refrain from pledging overt military support to Japan as the Abe administration may regard such support as a blank check to take an even stronger position against China."

If Japan would then simply acknowledge that there is a territorial dispute, then

"Beijing and Tokyo could establish a Three No formula: no entry into the disputed waters, no landings on the islands, and no flight over them.... The Diaoyu Islands, which are of little real strategic or economic use, are hardly worth disrupting relations among the world’s three largest economies. It is time to put the issue back into a box."