EVENT: The Asian issue to watch in 2013: China v Japan

Dr James ReillyUPCOMING EVENT: Tues 5 Feb: Dr James Reilly: One issue that could seriously derail the aspiration of prosperity in the Asian Century is an escalation of the rivalry between China and Japan into a mendacious dispute over islands in the East China Sea. The hope is that a military dispute can be avoided, but that is far from certain, and bad blood between Asia’s largest economies is at best a diversion and at worst a disaster.

Both countries have new leaders. On the left is China’s president, Xi Jinping who is the son ofXi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero of the Communist Party in Chairman Mao’s day in the fight to drove the Japanese invaders out of China.

On the right is Shinzo Abe, brought back as Japan’s prime minister, after the Liberal Democrats won the December election, at least partly on a high-rhetoric platform of rewriting the country’s constitution, and building its strength. Mr Abe is the grandson of Nobusuke Kishi, a World War II cabinet minister who played a role in the cruel Japanese occupation of Manchuria.

As David Pilling, the astute Asia editor of the Financial Times put it recently “at the foot of Asia’s diplomatic garden lies the rotting carcass of unresolved history”. Pilling suggests China shows signs of wanting to “squeeze Japan until it squeaks”, while Abe has already signalled increased defence spending at a time when his country is already heavily over borrowed.

However, since the election, Abe has toned down the rhetoric while visiting some of the region’s most important countries, including Indonesia and Vietnam, to seek support against what both they and Japan see as Chinese aggression. Abe’s new foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, was dispatched to Singapore, Manila and Sydney. In Manila a maritime defence agreement was agreed between Japan and the Philippines. We don’t really know what happened in Sydney (where Mr Kishida met both foreign minister Bob Carr and trade minister Craig Emerson) because the news conference after the event and the accompanying press handout lacked any significant detail.

Appropriately, the prospects for conflict (or cooperation) between Asia’s two superpowers will be the subject of our first meeting in the 2013 season where we will welcome Dr James Reilly, senior lecturer in Northeast Asian politics at the University of Sydney.

Dr Reilly is a noted and respected scholar of Chinese foreign policy, East Asian politics, and international relations. In the Department of Government and International Relations, he teaches undergraduate and post-graduate units on East Asian Politics and Chinese politics.

He is the author of Strong Society, Smart State: The Rise of Public Opinion in China’s Japan Policy (Columbia University Press, 2012), and the co-editor of Australia and China at 40(UNSW Press, 2012).His articles have appeared in a number of academic journals, including: Asian Survey, China: An International Journal, Chinese Journal of International Politics, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Journal of Contemporary China, Modern Asian Studies, Survival, and Washington Quarterly. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from George Washington University and has also been a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford.

Entry: $15.00 AIIA members, $10 Senior members/student members

$25.00 visitors, $15.00 student visitors

Hosted by: AIIA NSW

The event will start on: Tuesday, 05 February 2013 6:00 PM

And will end on: Tuesday, 05 February 2013 7:30 PM

At The Glover Cottages, Sydney

124 Kent Street , Sydney NSW




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