Maj. Gen. PAN, Zhenqiang
Former Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at National Defense University of China
The Asia-Pacific has been witnessing the most profound changes since the end of the Cold War. These changes find particular expression in the shifting balance of force among major powers, the pivot to the Asia-Pacific in the major powers competition, the redefining of the nature of the relationships among these countries, and the major readjustments in their security strategies and deployments in the region. The result of these changes would, to a large extent, determine the power structure and the order of the region in the future. In this new security architecture, the China-US ties constitute a set of the most important and complex bilateral relationship. The success in building up a new-type of major power relationship between China and the United States in a spirit of equality, and mutual benefit would not only be in the interests of the two nations, but also conducive to the sustained peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. Conversely, if the two powers were to be engaged in a malignant competition and even confrontation, the region would have no peace to speak of.
It is in this context, that development of the China-Japan relations would by and large be determined by the development of China-US relations. Hijacked by a strong right-wing ideological trend, Japan today has been fast turning right. The policy orientation of the Abe cabinet unmistakably demonstrates that Tokyo would be more determined to deny the atrocities perpetrated by the militarist Japan in the Second World War, and be prepared to revise the Peace Constitution, and start an arms-build-up under the slogan of “restore Japan”. All these are running a risk of opening the door for the revival of militarism, which could well become an adverse current and possibly the most dangerous, destabilizing factor in the situation of the Asia-Pacific. Both China and the US should reach a common understanding that reversing this adverse current and making Japan come back to the track of peaceful development would be in the interests of the two countries as well as peace and stability in the region.