Asean caught in middle of Beijing-Tokyo feud
The intensifying hostility between China and Japan and the increasing mutual distrust between their peoples will have serious ramifications for Asean.
For the past three decades, the two Asian giants’ stable relations have helped generate huge volumes of trade and investment and propelled the region&’s economic progress. So if the current trend in East Asia continues, Asean&’s ambitious plan to build a community of 630 million people with a single production base will suffer.
A recent survey conducted by China Daily and Genron NPO, a Japanese think tank, shows an unhealthy trend of growing mutual distrust among Chinese and Japanese. It showed that 92.8 per cent of the Chinese polled disliked Japan ~ up from 64.8 per cent last year ~ while 90.1 per cent of the Japanese had the same feeling toward China, up from 84.3 per cent in 2012.
Their attitude, fuelled by growing nationalist sentiments on both sides, could be attributed to the China-Japan stand-off over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and other historical issues. The Yasukuni Shrine commemoration for Japan&’s war dead by officials in Tokyo last week further strained the relationship.
With no resolution of the island disputes in sight, the efforts of Asean to create a more encompassing community with three East Asian countries – China, Japan and South Korea (Asean+3) – will be hampered. The negotiations over the Asean-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have just begun and could be delayed. the nation