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.
LAND ALERT UNCERTAIN: The CWB was waiting to observe how In-Fa shifts as it moves north to determine when to issue a land alert, a forecaster at the bureau said Residents of northern Taiwan should brace for heavy rain today and tomorrow as Typhoon In-Fa approaches the northeast, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. A land alert for the typhoon would be issued depending on the angle at which it moves north today, the bureau said. The bureau on Wednesday issued a sea alert for the typhoon, which applies to ships operating off the nation’s northern, northeastern and southeastern coasts. As of 8:30pm yesterday, In-Fa’s center was 470km southeast of Taipei, moving northwest at 6kph. It was carrying maximum sustained winds of 180kph, and had a radius of 200km. The typhoon was moving
‘BREAKTHROUGH’: All countries should be free to pursue closer ties with Taiwan, a leading democracy, a major economy, and a force for good in the world, the AIT said Taiwan is to establish a “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania,” the first office in Europe to be called Taiwanese, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday. “It is an important diplomatic breakthrough,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook, thanking diplomatic personnel for the significant achievement. To expand the nation’s relations with central and eastern Europe, especially with Baltic nations, the government decided to establish the office in Vilnius, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told an online news conference. The plan signals progress in Taiwan-Europe relations, as it has been 18 years since the nation last opened an office on the
TARGET RAISED: The CECC said vaccination coverage has reached 24.35%, while Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government hopes for 30% by the end of July The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month. The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei. In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8
STAY VIGILANT: Although a level 2 alert would raise the limit on indoor gatherings to 50, people should still wear masks and practice social distancing, the center said A nationwide COVID-19 alert is to be lowered from level 3 to 2 on Tuesday, but strict border controls would remain, the government said yesterday. The level 3 alert in place since May 19 is to end on Monday, with a level 2 alert in place from Tuesday until Aug. 9, the Executive Yuan said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a news conference in Taipei that over the next two weeks, people should still wear masks at all times outdoors, except while eating or drinking, and practice social distancing. The maximum