Japan-China relations: Xi said, Xi said


“She said, ‘You don’t understand what I said.’ I said, ‘No, no, no, you’re wrong. When I was a boy, everything was right.’ … And she’s making me feel like I’ve never been born.” This is a famous hook line in a song from The Beatles album “Revolver,” released in 1966. I was 13 years old then and coincidentally, so was Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In his New Year speech this January, Xi said, “Without a harmonious and stable environment, how can people live in peace and enjoy their work! I sincerely wish Hong Kong well. … Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability are the wish of Hong Kong compatriots and the expectation of people of our motherland.”

In his video speech at the opening of the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly in May, Xi said, “We have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility. We have provided information to WHO and relevant countries in a most timely fashion. We have released the genome sequence at the earliest possible time.”

Do you think what Xi said was what he did? This was one of the questions raised in a late evening TV news show I appeared on last week. The following questions raised in the TV program were intriguing because they may reflect concerns among pundits in Tokyo about Beijing’s intentions and behavior.

Why is China intensifying its naval activities around the Senkakus? This is nothing new. China’s strategy has been consistent. Beijing wishes to disable U.S. military operations inside the so-called first island chain. In addition, the Senkakus are the only foreign territories located on the Chinese continental shelf in the East China Sea. Beijing, therefore, will never give up its claim to them.