How best to respond to China: Shii on BS TV

December 1, 2013

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo appeared on a satellite TV news show aired on November 28 to respond to questions from anchorpersons about issues regarding the dispute over the Senkaku Islands and the tense situation in Northeast Asia.

Anchor Tamai Tadayuki, a deputy political news editor of The Yomiuri Shimbun, asked how Japan should respond to the recent Chinese moves.

Citing the Senkaku issue as example, Shii answered that the Japanese government should declare in diplomatic negotiations that Japan's territorial right over the islands has validity historically and internationally and thus should refute the Chinese claim.

It is, however, necessary for both governments to refrain from resorting to military movements which would hamper diplomatic initiatives, Shii added.

Regarding China's recent declaration of an Air Defense ID Zone that includes the air over the islands under Japan's effective control, Shii stated that it is internationally unacceptable for any country to try to forcibly undermine the effective control established over a given territory by another country.

Although the territorial dispute exists between Japan and China, Japanese governments have neither decisively staked a claim to the islands nor objected to China's claims, thus leading to causing the present tense situation.

The discussion then moved on to how Japan could protect itself without the Japan-U.S. military alliance.

Referring to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), a military alliance which no longer exists, Shii said that Southeast Asian countries instead established another structure called the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to maintain peace in a different way than the military alliance did in the past. He also cited the existence of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), a non-belligerency pact renouncing the use of armed force to work to peacefully resolve disputes, and proposed that a similar framework be established in Northeast Asia.

The anchor asked if North Korea would agree to join such a community.

Shii first emphasized that war should not be an option as a way to solve any issues, and that all parties concerned should return to the September 2005 Joint Statement agreed upon in the Six-Party Talks to work together for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Based on this statement, the Six-Party framework should pursue a comprehensive resolution of pending problems regarding North Korea such as its nuclear weapons program, missile development project, abduction of foreign citizens, and settlement of past issues. He suggested that this framework could evolve into another mechanism for peace and stability in Northeast Asia like ASEAN in Southeast Asia.

Yet many problems lie in the ASEAN sphere, he pointed out, and ASEAN member states hold more than 1,000 meetings a year promoting dialogue and confidence-building efforts in order to prevent conflicts from developing into war.

He again proposed that a similar setup be established in Northeast Asia in the near future and expressed the JCP willingness to make the best use of such a structure at diplomatic venues, if it takes shape.

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