Friday, January 15, 2016

Japan’s Options in Countering China’s Maritime Push

Kawashima Shin,

image not from article, but from
Five Approaches to Countering Beijing
What can the international community do to thwart China’s unilateral attempts at territorial expansion? Lodging protests against the construction of military installations on artificial islands has not been very effective to date. But more can probably be done to prevent China from reclaiming any more reefs and building airfields on them. Greater US engagement would significantly facilitate such efforts, and Japan, too, has an important role to play. ...
And fifth, public diplomacy efforts must be stepped up to balance the flood of Chinese propaganda bombarding global audiences. Such initiatives, incidentally, would be more effective it they are not limited to sovereignty and territorial claims.
Chinese reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, for instance, are causing grave environmental damage; this could be a potent argument against the landfill projects, as Western civic groups and media organizations often have greater interest in the destruction of beautiful corals than in the disputes about islands far from home. This, in fact, was a point some Western researchers made to me after being briefed on the historical “truths” behind Japan’s territorial claims. After all, what matters in public diplomacy—perhaps even more so than convincing others of the legitimacy of your position—is to grab and hold the attention of your target audience with topics that are of interest to them.

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