History holds Asia hostageRoundup
tags: Asia, WW II
A failure to come to terms with history weighs on all the important bilateral relationships in Asia. As the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches, some Asian nations are resurrecting the ghosts of history.
China, for example, is planning a grand military parade in Beijing on September 3 to commemorate what it calls “Victory over Japan Day”. The Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said the parade will display China’s military prowess and “make Japan tremble”.
An increasingly muscular China, however, is rattling not only Japan but also its other neighbours. How diplomatic relationships are held hostage to history is best exemplified by the strained ties between America’s closest regional allies — South Korea and Japan.
These two countries face a stark choice today: Find ways to stem the recrudescence of bitter disputes over history or stay frozen in a political relationship that plays into China’s hands.
No country loves to play the history card more than China, as illustrated by its recent declaration of two new national days to remember Japanese aggression. But what if the victims of China’s aggression since the communist “revolution”, such as India and Vietnam, dedicated days to commemorate Chinese attacks on them?
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