The shaky global economy needs Japan and China to be fully engaged, the head of the IMF said recently, warning the world could not afford to have the two countries distracted by their bitter territorial dispute.
Speaking to Japanese media ahead of the fund’s annual meeting in Tokyo next week, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the two had to show a bit of neighborly tolerance for the good of everybody.
“Both China and Japan are key economic drivers that do not want to be distracted by territorial division,” Kyodo News agency quoted Lagarde as saying in Washington, in an interview published yesterday.
China and Japan, the world’s second and third-largest economies, have been at loggerheads for months over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), in the East China Sea.
Tokyo administers the chain under the name Senkakus, but they are also claimed by Beijing and Taipei.
Chinese government ships regularly venture into waters around the islands, ignoring orders to leave from the Japanese coastguard.
Three such maritime surveillance ships entered territorial waters off the islands for the second straight day yesterday, Japanese coast guards said.
The three ships were off Kubashima islet, but left the immediate area soon after 3pm, the Japanese coast guard said.
The increasing frequency of spats comes ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank meetings in Tokyo — the world’s largest single gathering of finance officials, bankers and non-government organizations.
Dow Jones Newswires reported on Tuesday that several big Chinese banks had canceled their participation in events connected to the meetings, in what it said was a sign of the row spreading into the economic realm.
Most of the banks have not given a reason for their last-minute pullouts, but one unidentified person was explicit:
“Quite frankly, it’s Japan-China relations,” Dow Jones quoted an official at the Tokyo branch of the Agricultural Bank of China as saying.
In related news, two of the US Navy’s global force aircraft carrier strike groups are currently patroling the Western Pacific within distance of the South and East China Seas, providing “a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the United States and its allies and partners,” the US Seventh Fleet said.
US Navy officials said the USS George Washington carrier strike group had begun operating near the East China Sea while the John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG), led by the USS John C. Stennis carrier, is now operating near the South China Sea, also the scene of sovereignty disputes involving China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
US Pacific Command (PACOM) said the JCSSG paid a scheduled port visit at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, on Sunday. This was the first visit by a US carrier in Sabah, which adjoins the South China Sea.
In addition, the USS Bonhomme Richard forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, with about 2,000 US Marines on board, is said to be operating in the Philippine Sea.
All three carrier battle groups were in joint live-fire exercises with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces last month near Guam.
A PACOM spokesman said the exercises and deployments were not necessarily related to the Diaoyutais dispute.
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
The US House of Representatives’ China Task Force, launched by Republicans earlier this year, yesterday proposed the China task force act, a package of 137 pieces of legislation, seven of which involve Taiwan, in the hope of getting it passed before the 117th US Congress convenes on Jan. 3. The act encompasses a wide range of issues, including combatting Beijing’s influence around the globe, establishing the US’ dominance in determining 5G network standards and means for bringing UN members to task for abusing their influence within the UN system. The seven acts involving Taiwan address concerns such as the Taiwan Assurance Act
Chinese health authorities investigating a COVID-19 outbreak have said that they discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday said that it had found traces of live COVID-19 on the outer packaging of frozen cod in the eastern city of Qingdao, marking the first time that live coronavirus has been detected on the outside of refrigerated goods. Researchers were investigating the source of a cluster of cases linked to a hospital in Qingdao. Genetic traces had previously been found in samples of
A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement. The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday. New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten