Future hangs in the balance
Updated: 2014-04-24 07:00
By Shen Dingli (China Daily)
Currently in Asia, there are serious differences between those countries adhering to unity and cooperation to benefit all and those trying to form cliques and factions to benefit themselves. It is Japan that is leading such divisiveness, as it has tried to piece together an Asian version of NATO, and antagonized its neighbors by clinging obstinately to its denial of historical facts and even embarked along the road of glorifying aggression.
Any responsible power must go all out to contribute to regional peace and stability based on human morality and justice. As a great power with tremendous economic and military presence in the region, how the United States sets out its Asia-Pacific position will make all the difference to Asia's stability and development. Whether Washington will offer constructive cooperation to Asian countries' efforts to enhance mutual trust and erase the doubts of its intentions has a direct bearing on regional peace, as well as the US' own strategic interests.
Thus the eyes of the world are focused on US President Barack Obama's four-nation trip to Asia that began in Japan on Wednesday.
If the US can aim high and think big and cooperate sincerely with countries in the region to establish a common security and trust mechanism that is suitable to the characteristics of the Asia-Pacific region, it will surely receive a share of Asia's peace dividend and be genuinely welcomed among Asian countries.
However, if the US is unwilling or unable to contribute to Asia-Pacific stability, and instead takes sides in the region's various historical and sovereignty disputes, it will be hard for the country to become the kind of responsible power that can benefit Asia. If the US only looks at short-term interests and sits watching Japan turning its military ambition into reality step by step, not only will the troublemaker's interests be ultimately damaged, but also those of the US.
History has repeatedly shown us that a country that employs a policy of appeasement will eventually shoot itself in the foot.
The author is a professor and associate dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University.
(China Daily 04/24/2014 page8)