Chinese media to India: Don’t try to use Japan to contain China


japan-modi-abe-gandhiThere is nothing like the India-Japan connect that gives an ascendant and assertive China jitters. Given the bonhomie and bonding that was on display between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad and transformative outcomes that emanated from the summit meeting on September 14, the Chinese media’s backlash hardly comes as a surprise.

Dismissing the “growing intimacy” between India and Japan, the Global Times, the hawkish Chinese tabloid which led the propaganda blitz during the Doklam standoff, has warned India not to get into containment games with Japan.

“After the Doklam standoff, more voices in the Indian media instigate the country to step up cooperation with the US and Japan against China and exaggerate the geopolitical significance of closer India-Japan ties. Yet this to a large degree has exposed the vulnerable feeling of the Indian strategic circle in front of China”, the Global Times said in an op-ed article. It attacked Japan by saying “… Japan has been more narrow-minded in looking for allies globally to encircle China.”

In the wake of Doklam standoff, the Chinese daily claimed “the vulnerable feeling of the Indian strategic circle” has been “exposed”. “They want to encourage themselves by calling for India’s alliance with the US and Japan to showcase India’s strategic potential to China,” it said. “China wants to solve problems when it has disagreements with India on specific issues. China won’t actively seek strategic confrontation with India or Japan.”

japan-gujarat-abe-rideAsserting China’s continued predominance in Asia, the op-ed claimed “A strong China has the confidence that no Asian country can substantially challenge China’s national security, nor can they by grouping together. China has been in the core of economic cooperation in Asia. Geopolitics is unlikely to go against the geo-economic situation.”

Japan’s vocal support for India during the Doklam standoff had riled Beijing. The article specified that it was misleading to believe that geopolitics directs international relations. It affirmed the strength of the Chinese mind in not succumbing to “emotional moves” by India and Japan.

The editorial noted that “fundamental issue” in Asia is development. “Whoever develops fast will come out on top as the final winner. Since geopolitical issues can easily disturb people’s attention, China must be fully focused to make sound development a priority of its national strategy,” it said. “We can never follow India and Japan that have somewhat lost themselves,” it said.

The Chinese reaction is significant given that the joint statement also mentioned the need for countries to rein in terror groups a clear asking Pakistan to book the perpetrators of several terrorist attacks planned from its soil and on North Korea it said that countries that have supported North Korea should also be held accountable.