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Loss outweighs gains for Japan's stubborn meddling in South China Sea

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

07-05-2016 08:40 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Despite Beijing's repeated call that outsider countries play a constructive role on the South China Sea issue, Tokyo seems to have stepped up its meddling moves, at the cost of regional stability and without giving any thought to its relations with China.

In the latest of Japan's series of maneuvers to seek greater influence over the issue, Koro Bessho, Japanese ambassador to the United Nations, said on the first day Japan took over the monthly rotating presidency of the UN Security Council that he would put the issue on the agenda of the 15-member council if there is a request from its members, or other UN members.

Considering Japan's recent records in hijacking meetings and forums to highlight its "deep concern" over the South China Sea, Bessho's remarks on July 1 could easily be an invitation for voices against China, at a time when an arbitration case unilaterally initiative by the Philippines against China is capturing news headlines.

Bessho's remarks also marked the second of such practices by a prominent Japanese politician within a week, after Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama said earlier that he was "closely watching" how a UN tribunal rules in the arbitration case.

Though being not a relevant party in the South China Sea dispute, Japan has shown exceptional interest in hyping up the issue and fueling tension in the vast body of water.

By doing so, it aims for gains in multiple fronts, first and foremost for leverage against China regarding the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Another motive is to cement its alliance with the United States, which, as the world's top power, imposes itself over the South China Sea issue in an unmistakable endeavor to contain China.

While Japan's tricks of fanning the flames in the South China Sea may earn itself a reputation as a faithful lieutenant of the United States, they could hardly land Tokyo in a more favorable position in dealing with Beijing.

And for any clear-eyed observer, what Japan has done in the past few months regarding the South China Sea has only complicated the issue and threatens to disturb decades-long stability in the region.

He who plays with fire gets burnt. To avoid the fate of being incinerated in flames it helps to start in the first place, Japan should waste no time in halting any counterproductive actions that make a final peaceful settlement of the disputes more distant.

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