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Japanese media stretch a point

Updated: 2015-12-17 07:46
(China Daily)

Japanese media stretch a point

A formation of the Nanhai Fleet of China's Navy on Saturday finished a three-day patrol of the Nansha islands in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]

The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris last month was described by a Japanese media outlet as China cozying up to Japan.

Xi only met Abe for roughly four minutes, during which they remained standing. By playing up what was normal diplomatic etiquette, Nikkei Asian Review could mislead the public with its excessive interpretation.

Such self-righteousness or narcissism is not rare for some Japanese media outlets in their guesswork about bilateral high-level meetings in recent years.

Because of a territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and skirmishes over Japan's series of right-leaning moves, Sino-Japanese relations have remained strained. Thus the right approach is to regard each high-level meeting as a rare opportunity for both sides to improve ties.

Nikkei Asian Review said China's show of goodwill was out of fear that "China could be internationally isolated due to its actions in the South China Sea".

This is a wild assertion.

China's island reclamation in the South China Sea is lawful and within its legitimate rights. It is Japan that owes the outside world a reasonable explanation as to why it continues to try and become involved in the South China Sea issues and seeks to raise tensions in the waters.

Abe has seized every opportunity this year to play up the issue of the South China Sea. His visit to India last week was no exception.

As a non-party in the South China Sea disputes, Japan's meddling only further complicates the issue.

With Japan's own dispute with China over the islands in the East China Sea unresolved, its interference in the South China Sea will only add more uncertainty to Sino-Japanese ties.

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