Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S. thinks China watching America

Japan’s ambassador to the United States is watching the Senkaku Islands dispute with China, and is attributing at least some of the calming influences to be coming from respect for the United States.

Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki says the U.S. position on the Senkakus, which is that the United States takes no position on the disputed islands, is what’s served as a deterrent in the territorial dispute.  “I think that constitutes an important deterrence,” he’s told the American think tank Brookings Institution.  Fujisaki has downplayed talk that the combination of friction on the Senkaku Islands and the Dokdo-Takeshima island dispute with South Korea could  lead to full-blown conflicts.  “That’s not going to happen.  That should not happen,” he says.  “This is not started by us –by Japan—and we have a good historical and legal position.

Tensions over the islands have increased in recent weeks, since Japan nationalized the islands it purchased from a private landowner.  China insists the islands, which it calls Diaoyu, belong to China and not Japan.  “Our position on the islands is very clear,” says the Japanese ambassador to America.  “We are not going to raise tension and try to take it up emotionally.  We want to deal calmly with this.”

The feuding has caused China to avoid the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund global economic policy meetings in Tokyo.  Fujisaki says, though, that China is itself making good progress in controlling anti-Japanese protests.

China’s Health Minister, Chen Zhu, is one of the Chinese officials boycotting the meetings in Tokyo.  Zhu skipped a seminar on health issues, while others from China Investment Company and Bank of Deyang cancelled attendance at a meeting on the global economy.  Also taking a pass on the meetings was Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren and People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, along with representatives of major Chinese banks.