Chinese Interpretations of Japan and Its Role in the Indo-Pacific Region in 2016

In April, Kishida Fumio made the first official visit by a Japanese foreign minister to China in more than four years. Sino–Japanese relations had deteriorated over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute in the early 2010s and have yet to recover. They overcame one hurdle when Xi Jinping agreed to meet Abe Shinzo during Abe’s visit for the November 2014 Beijing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, but in the second half of 2015 and the first months of 2016 relations seemed to be drifting downward, as discussed in recent Country Report: Japan coverage. Although the two sides did not reach any concrete agreements, the visit did suggest the possibility of renewed Chinese efforts to improve the relationship, and laid the groundwork for a potential meeting between Abe Shinzo and Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit scheduled for September in Hangzhou. Tensions over the South China Sea and Taiwan loom, but both sides have strong economic reasons to keep ties from further deteriorating at this time. Beyond the short-term ups and downs, it is necessary to look more deeply at how the Chinese side—as seen in its publications—conceives of Japan’s role in the Indo–Pacific region. Given the huge weight of historical judgments in the Chinese case against Japan, I pay particular attention to them in this analysis of how China’s foreign policy elites view Japan’s regional role.

Three Camps

The views of China’s professional policy analysts and academics fall loosely into three camps.  At one extreme is a camp that holds an essentialist view of Japan as an inherently vicious and militaristic country. Like the classical realists, these analysts believe that conflict inevitably arises from human nature, except that they seem to believe that “brutishness” is not a universal characteristic of all humankind, but rather something particular to the Japanese as a society. In a typical formulation, Tang Zhongnan excoriates the Japanese for their wartime savagery, before darkly urging them to “let history illuminate the future.”1 The focus of these analysts on Japan’s wartime expansionism brings to mind William Faulkner’s famous lines: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In their view, although Japan renounced war after its WWII defeat, it never truly internalized pacifist norms. It has merely been biding its time until it can remilitarize.

A second camp, which probably includes the majority of Chinese analysts, argues that Japan’s conservative wing is eager to remilitarize, but also recognizes the existence of a substantial domestic opposition. This camp interprets the 2012 reelection of Abe as prime minister and his ability to push through security reforms as evidence of the ascendency of the conservative wing. To some, Abe’s “proactive pacifism” is simply a “sham” for a militaristic and expansionist policy.2 Others carefully stop short of predicting that Japan “will definitely walk down a militaristic path,” but argue that Japan’s increasingly active development and deployment of its military capabilities “inevitably produces profound security concerns among the countries of Asia.”3 History matters immensely for this camp, too: they rebuke the conservative wing for its failure to appropriately reflect on Japan’s wartime expansion and are alarmed by how Abe’s administration is easing restrictions on Japan’s military and defense industry.

Although the first two camps differ over whether militarism is inherent to the Japanese character or limited to the right-wing conservative movement, they share contempt for “China threat theory,” a phrase which Chinese authors tend to place in quotation marks as a way to emphasize their skepticism of its legitimacy. In a recent article, Jin Canrong and Sun Xihui criticize the Abe administration for “using a fabricated ‘external’ threat as a pretext for lifting the ban on collective defense.”4 Likewise, Yang Guanghai castigates Japan for “trumping up the fallacy of ‘China threat’” to justify its involvement in the South China Sea dispute. According to Yang, the Japanese Ministry of Defense“alleged sensationally that should an accidental conflict flare up in the South China Sea in the future, the security of all the surrounding states including Japan—countries that share the same sea-lane—will be put on the line.”5 This contempt for China threat theory is not limited to policy analysts. During Kishida’s recent visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi listed Japan’s willingness to “stop spreading or echoing all kinds of ‘China threat’ or ‘China economic recession’ theories” as a precondition for improved relations.6 This does not bode well for relations since there is little prospect in today’s conditions for Japan to act accordingly.

This dismissal of China threat theory as foreign propaganda reflects the tendency of Chinese observers to attribute Japanese actions to indigenous forces—whether inherent militaristic desires or the rise of the conservative wing. As a result, they often fail to recognize how Chinese behavior might induce a Japanese response. To many Chinese analysts, Japan is always the aggressor and China is always on the defensive; a more nuanced view, guided less by history and more by generalizable principles of international relations, would recognize that Japanese and Chinese behavior is part of a repeated cycle of action, interpretation, and reaction.

The third camp asserts that Japan is a rational actor, whose behavior results from geopolitical factors and its national interests. This view is noticeable among those focused on Japan’s growing cooperation with India—a small fraction of the many authors who write about Japanese foreign policy. These analysts tend to be structural realists with no particular concern for Japan’s expansionist history. As Liu Siwei writes: “[We] must admit that the current growth of China’s actual strength (shili) causes, to some extent, an increase in conflict between China and other countries in the region, and causes other countries to want to ‘check and balance’ (zhiheng) China.”7 This camp highlights the overlap between China’s sustained economic boom and Japan’s two decades of economic stagnation; in 2010, China surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy (in per capita terms, Japan is still far ahead). They argue that the Japanese are uneasy at the prospect of losing their influence in Asia to a rising China.8 Meanwhile, China’s rapidly strengthening military, and the increasing frequency of its naval activities outside the first island chain, worry Japanese officials and motivate Japan and India’s military cooperation to develop security measures for the “Indo–Pacific,” a region encompassing the Indian and Pacific oceans.9 Members of this camp also recognize Japan’s dependence on energy imports, and its resulting concerns about the security of the region’s sea lines of communication (SLOCs).10 The third camp therefore differs sharply from the first two camps, for which Japan’s wartime history provides important clues to its current behavior.

In 2003–2004, a “new thinking” debate erupted in China, when Ma Licheng and Shi Yinhong argued that the Chinese must set aside history and fight nationalist tendencies in order to pursue stronger ties with Japan. After heated debate, commentators strongly rejected this proposal for Sino–Japanese rapprochement, and the anti-Japanese protests of spring 2005 demonstrated the growing strength of Chinese nationalism.11 Over a decade later, the prospects for “new thinking” on Japan are very remote. The existence of structural realists notwithstanding, most Chinese analysts assess Japan’s behavior through the prism of its expansionist history. Even if the two sides can resolve specific flashpoints, it is hard to imagine how they can move past history when it is the entire lens through which much of the Chinese policy and academic community views Japan’s behavior. There is no reason to believe that greater trust will emerge.

Meanwhile, the events of the past decade have weakened the logic of Shi Yinhong’s version of “new thinking,” which was predicated on the belief that China could use closer ties with Japan to balance the United States.12 Today, the US–Japan security alliance is strong. President Obama visited Hiroshima. Abe’s administration strongly supports the US Asia–Pacific rebalance and pursues “values-oriented diplomacy” that stresses universal liberal values like democracy and freedom. Given shared concerns about China’s naval modernization and its recent behavior in the South China Sea, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Japan would unite with China to balance the United States. Furthermore, public sentiment remains sharply antagonistic. According to a 2015 poll, only 12 percent of Chinese view Japan positively and only 9 percent of Japanese view China positively.13 Given the immense distrust between China and Japan, and the deepening ties between the United States and Japan, “new thinking” is far from the minds of the Chinese leaders, who set the tone for how authors cover a sensitive subject like Japan. After all, censorship has tightened, and Japan figures importantly into narratives about history, sovereignty, containment, and artificial stoking of accusations about China’s rise and threat.

Interpreting Recent Changes in Japan’s Defense Policy

Since Abe’s return as prime minister, Japan’s foreign policy and defense strategy have undergone undeniably profound changes. How analysts interpret these changes—as confirmatory evidence of the looming Japanese threat, as evidence of a resurgent conservative wing that is outmaneuvering the domestic opposition, or as incremental responses to a changing regional and global security context—depends in large part on their fundamental assumptions about Japan.

In April 2014, the Abe administration replaced the “three principles on arms exports,” which were long interpreted as a complete ban, with the “three principles on the transfer of defense equipment and technology.” The new policy allows Japan to transfer technology to countries in good standing with the United Nations in order to advance “the active promotion of peace contribution and international cooperation, or…Japan’s security.”14 This decision has allowed Japan to strengthen the military capacity of Southeast Asian states to contest China’s claims to islands and reefs in the South China Sea and help Japan in its efforts to counter China’s reach. In December 2015, Japan and Indonesia held their first “2+2” talks, during which they agreed to negotiate the future transfer of weapons to Indonesia.15 Then, Japan agreed to sell military equipment to the Philippines, whose territorial disputes with China are the subject of high-profile international adjudication. Meanwhile, Japan narrowly lost a major contract to develop 12 submarines for Australia in April. In addition to the security benefits of these deals, Japan hopes to strengthen the market for its defense companies. (A similar motive is at play in negotiations to sell civil nuclear technologies to India).16 The ability to export arms will also allow Japan to deepen its cooperation with the United States in trilateral defense arrangements.

In July 2014, the Abe administration reinterpreted Article 9 of the Constitution to allow for the exercise of collective self-defense in limited conditions, allowing use of force not only when an armed attack against Japan occurs but also when an armed attack against a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan occurs and as a result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to fundamentally overturn people’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” if there are no other “appropriate” options.17 This interpretation of Article 9 contains no geographic boundaries; Japan can participate in joint military action outside its immediate vicinity. Abe succeeded in implementing this new interpretation by convincing the Diet to adopt 11 related security bills in September 2015, despite significant domestic opposition. Among them was a bill that allows the Self-Defense Forces to participate in combat missions abroad.18 To some Chinese observers, these changes increase the likelihood of direct conflict between China and Japan and the possibility of small skirmishes between China and the United States in the South China Sea as Japan takes a more active role in supporting the US military.19 With US attention and resources now split between the Middle East and Pacific Asia, its preferences align neatly with Abe’s attempts to create the space for a more ambitious Japanese military profile. The April 2015 updating of the US–Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation envisioned a more active role for the Self-Defense Forces in alliance relations.20 To many Chinese observers, these strengthened ties demonstrate a determination to deny China the exercise of its legitimate sovereignty.

What are the implications of these changes? Do they indicate the reemergence of an expansionist, militaristic Japan? Do they reflect the success of Japan’s conservative politicians, despite the protests of the pacifist opposition? Are they motivated by fears that China is expansionist, fueled by China’s island building strategy in the South China Sea and its increasing influence in Southeast Asia? Assumptions about Japanese motives guide interpretations of these changes, which must adhere to the boundaries on acceptable discourse set by the central leadership.

Japan and the South China Sea Disputes

The contrast between history-driven views of Japanese behavior and interpretations that rest on theories of power politics is evident in Chinese analysis of two pressing policy issues: Japan’s South China Sea policy and its budding relationship with India. The legacy of Japan’s wartime aggression plays a substantial role in the Chinese interpretation of Japanese involvement in the South China Sea, where tensions have grown immensely. In recent years, China has embarked on a rapid island building campaign in the Spratly (Nansha) Islands, adding sand and sediment to existing islands and reefs to create more substantial land features (increasing the land area by 3,200 acres over the past two years).21 It has constructed airstrips capable of landing military planes on three of the features, Fiery Cross Reef, Mischief Reef, and Subi Reef, in addition to building ports and, according to a recent CSIS report, radar facilities.22 Meanwhile, Vietnam and China continue to dispute the sovereignty of the Paracel (Xisha) Islands, over which China has control. The United States is working hard to deter China from developing military capabilities on Scarborough Shoal, a feature about 140 miles west of the Philippines that is claimed by China, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The United States has responded by stepping up air patrols and conducting three freedom of navigation exercises. Japanese officials have so far declined to participate in US air patrols or freedom of navigation exercises, but have continued to build security relations with Southeast Asian states, Australia, and India.

Chinese officials and analysts maintain that the South China Sea disputes relate to sovereignty, and are, therefore, not open to compromise. Fu Ying and Wu Shicun assert, “China’s fundamental policy objective for the SouthChinaSea is to protect the security of its sovereignty and maritime rights.”23 Chinese officials have already announced their intention to disregard the forthcoming ruling on the legitimacy of Chinese maritime claims under the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) in a case brought by the Philippines. The government argues that the court has no jurisdiction because it cannot rule on questions of sovereignty.

Aside from the small cohort of structural realists, Chinese analysts insist that Japan has no business interfering in a region in which it has no territorial claims. According to Yang Guanghai, “As a non-party state of the South China Sea disputes, Japan ought to take a neutral stand” on the sovereignty of particular features, the delineation of maritime boundaries, and US military activities in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claimed by China. Instead, Japan allies with the other disputants in the South China Sea, the United States, India, and Australia in an attempt to deny China its “sovereign rights over its territory and jurisdiction over its waters.”24Analysts vehemently oppose Japanese efforts to “internationalize” the conflict by encouraging ASEAN to take a unified position. The interests of the ten ASEAN members states fall into three categories: the countries which have serious, direct territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea (Vietnam and the Philippines), the countries with less serious territorial or maritime disputes (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei), and the countries that lack direct disputes but hope to maintain regional security (Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia). China would prefer to negotiate the disputes bilaterally, where it can bring its economic influence and greater power to bear more effectively. By encouraging ASEAN countries to present a unified position, Japan (and the United States, which provides the bulk of the military support) weakens China’s leverage over the ASEAN states.25 (China’s April agreement with Brunei, Cambodia, and Laos that South China Sea issues are not disputes between China and ASEAN suggests recent Chinese success in dividing ASEAN.)26

Chinese analysts are also highly critical of what they perceive as Japanese efforts to link their territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea with the territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea. During fiscal year 2015, the frequency with which the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force scrambled jets to prevent Chinese aircraft incursions increased by nearly 25 percent, with the increase coming mainly in the airspace above the East China Sea.27 According to Zhu Qingxiu, Japan’s weakness at repelling Chinese attempts to muscle into the East China Sea has encouraged it to jump into the South China Sea disputes, in an attempt to divide China’s attention and bog down its resources farther from home.28 Given Japan’s continued control of the disputed islands and success at repelling Chinese aircraft, however, this argument seems to understate the strength of the Japanese position. A more convincing argument is that by reaching out to Southeast Asian states that are disputants in the South China Sea, Japan is trying to “create a group of those who have all been the subjects of the China ‘threat.’”29 By working together with individual Southeast Asian states, and with ASEAN, Chinese analysts argue that Japan is trying to “encircle” China and contain its rise.30

The turmoil in the South China Sea takes place against the broader backdrop of Japanese and Chinese competition for influence in Southeast Asia. During WWII, Japan took control of most of Southeast Asia in its expansionist drive for resources. In the 1950s, Japan began giving aid in lieu of reparations; these programs evolved into an enormous official development assistance (ODA) project. From 1960–2011, 34.9 percent of global ODA to the ASEAN states came from Japan.31 In 2014, ASEAN was Japan’s second largest trading partner and third largest investment destination. Nevertheless, China has staked out increasing influence in the region in the twenty-five years since the establishment of the China–ASEAN dialogue. China is now ASEAN’s largest trading partner, accounting for 14.5 percent of all of ASEAN’s trade in 2014 (Japan ranks third, after the European Union, at 9.1 percent).32 China relies on economic relations with ASEAN, too: ASEAN is China’s fourth largest export market, second largest source of imports, and the key site for China’s “going out” strategy.33 The Greater Mekong Subregion, which includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, plays a major role in China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Chinese analysts view Japanese support for Southeast Asian disputants in the South China Sea as part of a broader effort to develop economic and security ties with Southeast Asia in order to exclude China and contain its rise.34 The history of Japan’s wartime expansion looms over Chinese analysis of Japanese intentions in the South China Sea and its relations with the countries of Southeast Asia.

Japan and India’s Budding Relationship

In marked contrast to views of Japanese involvement in the South China Sea and of Japanese security reforms and foreign policy in general, a small number of articles on views of Japan’s deepening relationship with India reflect a rationalist, neorealist approach. History plays no significant role in Chinese analysis. It is only with the recent strengthening of US–India relations that Japan has prioritized its relationship with India. A flurry of diplomatic activity quickly picked up steam; between 2005–2014, the two countries exchanged 93 high-level visits (nearly 4 times as many visits as occurred during the previous 10-year period).35 Chinese analysts focus mainly on the security implications of closer Indian–Japanese relations. They recognize that the cooperation rests on their declared “common commitment to democracy, open society, human rights and the rule of law.”36 At the same time, analysts accept that China’s rise has created a powerful, shared strategic objective as both India and Japan seek to contain China. At a minimum, they believe each country aspires to possess greater regional influence.37 But some go farther: in Li Jiacheng and Li Ang’s words, the two countries share a “common dream of becoming global great powers.”38 Chinese analysts also recognize US support for stronger Indian–Japanese relations, grounded in its desire to share the security burden of the Asia–Pacific rebalance with other countries.39

In the Chinese view, India and Japan each have specific, largely compatible security objectives. India wants to modernize its military and strengthen its ability to defend its coastline.40 Japan wants India to ensure maritime security in the Indian Ocean. By cooperating with India, the Japanese hope to ensure the security of the sea lanes all the way from the Indian Ocean, through the Strait of Malacca, and north through the South China Sea and East China Sea to Japan’s shores. These objectives have led to the development of tighter security cooperation focused on maritime issues, which initially focused on non-traditional security issues, particularly anti-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts to protect the SLOCs. Since their 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, however, they have “unceasingly strengthened their comprehensive maritime security dialogue, and promoted the coordination of bilateral maritime defense strategies, exchanges and cooperation between the two countries’ navies, and exchanges between naval personnel regarding maritime security technologies.”41 India and Japan have engaged in repeated joint exercises in recent years to strengthen their ability to operate effectively together. Japan first joined the US–India Malabar exercise in 2007; after several years in which it mostly participated as an invited observer, Japan announced in 2015 that it would become a permanent participant. In June 2012, Japan and India began holding regular bilateral naval exercises.42 Zhao Guojun and Zhao Chaolong acknowledge that this shift toward cooperation on more traditional security issues resulted, in large part, from China’s “string of pearls” strategy, its military modernization, and its military exercises in the East China Sea.43 This is an unusual point of view in a Chinese source, and many others absolve China of any responsibility for the maritime build-up, which they deem to be a result of US hegemonic aims and Japan’s nefarious objectives. This less critical analysis of Japan’s ties with India may stem from more lenient directives on the analysis of India issued by the central government. Alternatively, Japan–India relations might be such a new topic that there are not yet strict guidelines for how to talk about them.

Alongside more active military cooperation, analysts worry that Japan’s loosened restrictions on the transfer of military technologies will enable arms sales to India. In December 2015, India and Japan reached an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology and discussed the sale of Japanese US-2 amphibious planes to India. The deal was reportedly for a total of 12 planes, 10 of which would be produced in India, and worth USD 1.65 billion. However, in early 2016, Japanese officials stated that there is no timeline for signing the contract.44 Chinese observers are also concerned about India’s interest in Japan’s Soryu-class diesel-electric submarines, although Japanese officials are apparently reluctant to consider such a deal.45

Chinese observers are irked by what they see as Japanese interference in the Indian–Chinese border dispute. In their view, Japan hopes to drive a wedge between China and India by supporting India’s position. Furthermore, in an argument that parallels the assessment of Japan’s motivation for intervening in the South China Sea, they argue that Japan may provide support to India’s border troops as a way to force China to expend resources on the Indian border that might otherwise have been spent on the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute. Nevertheless, they are comforted by India’s apparent reluctance to take a stance on the Sino–Japanese territorial dispute.46 Chinese observers take this as a sign that India has not abandoned its traditional non-alignment strategy. Even as India pursues stronger ties with Japan, they believe that it will ultimately try to balance China and Japan against each other, rather than allying with Japan against China.47

From a broader regional perspective, Chinese analysts are alert to the possibility that stronger Indian–Japanese ties may facilitate a multilateral security framework between the United States, Japan, India, and Australia. Abe initially promoted the “quadrilateral initiative” or “strategic diamond” during his first term as prime minister. The four countries, which had cooperated on disaster relief after the 2004 tsunami, met on the sidelines of the 2007 ASEAN Regional Forum and, together with Singapore, convened the Malabar-2007 joint exercise in Bengal Bay. China expressed vociferous opposition, and the framework faltered. Since returning to office, Abe has tried to revive the diamond. Qu Caiyun argues that the quadrilateral framework will gradually emerge, given the four countries’ shared democratic values and maritime interests, and their agreement on the need to balance against China’s rise.48 In recent remarks in New Delhi, Admiral Harry B. Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, lauded the first India–Japan–Australia trilateral dialogue, held in 2015, and suggested that the United States should join to create a “quadrilateral venue.” Such a framework would presumably continue the discussions on maritime security and freedom of navigation begun by India, Japan, and Australia, and would advance “the international rules-based order that has kept the peace and is essential of all of us.”49 Should a coordinated strategy by the four countries emerge, Chinese analysts leave no doubt that China would respond.

While Chinese analysts focus the most attention on the security aspects of the Indian–Japanese relationship, they also pay some attention to their economic relations. Some observers are rather dismissive, arguing that limited economic ties will hinder stronger bilateral security cooperation. Indeed, Indian–Japanese bilateral trade is dwarfed by China’s trade with both Japan and India, and Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) to India has fallen in recent years.50 Nevertheless, the volume of Indian–Japanese bilateral trade has more than doubled over the past decade.51 Furthermore, a major agreement, such as a successful conclusion to the ongoing negotiations for Japan to sell civil nuclear technology to India, could rapidly change the economic picture. Japan is a leader in advanced nuclear technologies, and its firms produce key nuclear reactor parts; India is the world’s fifth largest energy consumer. If the two countries manage to conclude an agreement, the potential windfall for Japanese firms will be enormous.52 With the strengthening of Indian–Japanese relations, including a takeoff ahead in trade, Chinese analysts are concerned that Japan has found an important, strategically located ally in its attempts to contain China’s rise.

Prospects for Future Sino–Japanese Relations

The Sino–Japanese relationship faces a rocky future. Japan’s history of wartime aggression infuses Chinese analysis of numerous facets of Japanese policy, from Abe’s proactive pacifism to its position on the South China Sea, and produces intense suspicion about Japanese intentions. Less history-driven analysis is limited, for now, to a narrow group of scholars focused on Japanese–Indian relations. Consequently, moving past the history issue is more than a matter of resolving periodic disputes about textbooks or visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. For most Chinese analysts, history is the lens through which they interpret all Japanese behavior. A true, lasting improvement in the bilateral relationship would need, somehow, to override this tendency.

Meanwhile, Abe’s conservative politics mean that Japan is finally acquiescing to long-standing US requests that Japan share more of the burden for its defense and for regional security. The revisions to Japan’s security policy allow it to take a much more active role in coordinating with the United States and with other regional allies. At the same time, Sino-US tensions in the South China Sea are extremely high. Observers widely expect China to disregard the imminent ruling in The Hague on the UNCLOS case, which is sure to set off another wave of US protest over China’s failure to adhere to the international rule of law. The United States will support Japanese efforts to play a more active military role, which, in turn, will work against improved Sino–Japanese relations. Chinese writings on Japan offer no basis for optimism that Sino–Japanese relations will significantly improve. Rather, the opposite appears likely despite the upbeat talk that is sometimes reported when diplomats meet.

1. Tang Zhongnan, “Riben diguo de guojia zhanlüe yu junshi zhanlüe,” Guoji Zhengzhi Yanjiu, no. 1 (2015): 20.

2. Chen Youjun, “Lun Riben jiji hepingzhuyi de shizhi,” Guoji Guancha, no. 2 (2015): 132, 136.

3. Jin Canrong and Sun Xihui, “Anbei zhengfu jiejin jiti ziweiquan ji dui Dongya heping de yingxiang,” Dongbeiya Xuekan, no. 1 (2016): 8.

4. Ibid.

5. Yang Guanghai, “New Dynamics and Features of Japan’s Intervention in the South China Sea Dispute,” Heping yu Fazhan, no. 5 (2015): 130.

6. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, “Wang Yi Made a Four-point Requirement on Improving China-Japan Relations,” April 30, 2016,

7. Liu Siwei, “Yinri anquan hezuo ji dui Yatai diqu anquan taishi de yingxiang,” Nanya Yanjiu Jikan, no. 1(2015): 6.

8. Qu Caiyun, “Tanxi ‘Rimeiaoyin’ zhanlüe hezuo de xingcheng jiqi zhiheng boyi,” Liaoning Daxue Xueban, no. 1 (2016): 168.

9. Li Jiacheng and Li Ang, “Ri Yin Anbao Tixi Goujian de Dongli Kaocha,” Taipingyang Xuebao, no. 8 (2015): 53–54.

10. Zhao Guojun and Zhao Chaolong, “Ri Yin Haishang Anquan Hezuo Zhuanxiang ji Qianjing Tanxi,” Nanya Yanjiu Jikan, no. 3 (2015): 13; Li Lingqun, “Riben de Nanhai Zhengce Jiqi Fazhan Yanbian,” Heping yu Fazhan, no. 1 (2015); Li and Li 2015, 60.

11. Danielle F. S. Cohen, “Retracing the Triangle: China’s Strategic Perceptions of Japan in the Post-Cold War Era,” Maryland Series in Contemporary Asian Studies 181 (College Park, MD: School of Law, University of Maryland) (2005): Ch. 5; Peter Hays Gries, “China’s ‘New Thinking’ on Japan,” The China Quarterly, no. 184 (December 2005): 831–850.

12. “PRC Scholars’ Views on Sino–Japanese Relations,” Beijing Renmin Wang, Renmin Ribao, August 15, 2003, FBIS Translation, October 6, 2004.

13. Pew Research Center, “How Asia–Pacific Publics See Each Other and Their National Leaders,” September 2, 2015,

14. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “The Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology,” April 1, 2014,

15. Reiji Yoshida, “Japan, Indonesia Hold First Two-plus-two Talks, Agree to Work Toward Transfer of Defense Weapons,” The Japan Times, December 17, 2015,

16. Li Xiaojun, “Riben yu Yindu haineng hezuo de dongyin, yingxiang ji qianjing,” Taipingyang Xuebao, no. 3 (2016): 33–34.

17. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect its People,” July 1, 2014,

18. Jonathan Soble, “Japan’s Parliament Approves Overseas Combat Role for Military,” The New York Times, September 18, 2015,

19. Jin and Sun, 9–10.

20. Japanese Ministry of Defense, The Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation, April 27, 2015,

21. Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom, “U.S. Sees China Boosting Military Presence After Island-Building Spree,” Reuters, May 14, 2016,

22. Michael Forsythe, “Possible Radar Suggests Beijing Wants ‘Effective Control’ in South China Sea,” The New York Times, February 23, 2016,; Derek Watkins, “What China Has Been Building in the South China Sea,” The New York Times, February 29, 2016,

23. Fu Ying and Wu Shicun, “South China Sea: How We Got to This Stage,” The National Interest, May 9, 2016,

24. Yang Guanghai, 129–130.

25. Chen Xiangmiao and Ma Chao, “Lun Dongmeng dui Nanhai wenti de liyi yaoqiu he zhengce xuanze,” Guoji Guancha, no. 1 (2016); Yang Guanghai, 132–133.

26. “China Says Brunei, Cambodia, Laos Agree Sea Dispute Must Not Hurt Ties,” Reuters,April 24, 2016,

27. “Chinese Incursions Spark More Fighter Jet Scrambles From Japan,” Stars and Stripes, April 25, 2016,

28. Zhu Qingxiu, “Shendu jieru Nanhai zhengduan: Riben zhunbei zou duoyuan?” Yatai Anquan yu haiyang Yanjiu, no. 2: 33.

29. Li Lingqun, 110.

30. Ibid., 10; Shi Aiguo, “Jinnianlai Riben dui Miandian zhengce xiping,” Guoji Luntan, no. 1, (2016): 30.

31. JICA, “History of Japan’s ODA Ties with ASEAN,” JICA’s World, September 2013, 10–11,

32. Yukiko Okano, “Japan–ASEAN Relations—Post 2015,”

33. Xu Bu and Yang Fang, “Zhongguo–Dongmeng Guanxi: Xin de Qihang,” Guoji Wenti Yanjiu, no. 1 (2016): 39–40.

34. See Shi Aiguo 2016, for example, on the implications of Japan’s relations with the Mekong River region and with Myanmar specifically.

35. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan–India Relations,” February 3, 2016,

36. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India,” October 22, 2008,

37. Zhao and Zhao, 14.

38. Li and Li, 53.

39. See, for example, Zhao and Zhao, 13 and Li and Li, 54–55.

40. Li and Li, 56; Zhao and Zhao.

41. Zhao and Zhao, 9–10.

42. Liu Siwei, 3.

43. Zhao and Zhao, 13.

44. Franz-Stefan Gady, “Is the Japan-India Military Aircraft Deal Dead?” The Diplomat, March 5, 2016,

45. Vivek Raghuvanshi and Paul Kallender-Umezu, “Japan Unlikely to Join Indian Sub Tender,” Defense News, April 11, 2015,

46. Li and Li, 58–59.

47. Liu Siwei, 7; Zhao and Zhao, 15; Li and Li, 61.

48. Qu Caiyun, 168.

49. Harry B. Harris, Jr. “Raising Dialogue Remarks—‘Let’s Be Ambitious Together’,” March 2, 2016, New Delhi, India,

50. Zhao and Zhao, 16.

51. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan–India Relations.”

52. Li Xiaojun, 33–34.