I don’t normally comment on specific political issues because of an inability to figure out what people are arguing about. But I’d make an exception for Diao Yu Tai. The crisis is at best an opportunity to secure longer term calmness between China and Japan, at worst a mutually destructive trap that they step into open-eyed.
The situation in summary: Disturbing status quo has always been a clear bottom line to an overwhelming majority of Chinese, regardless of political inclination. Beijing knows that. Inability to face down this challenge would seriously damage their legitimacy, Chinese style.
On the other hand, Japan might have taken too many steps by now to retract with face and dignity intact. Most Chinese and Japanese don’t wish to see further escalation of this conflict. Many worry about Japan regressing back to militarism in a general sense, but that would be overlooking the fundamental changes they have gone through since the last war. Sure, they have quite a few right wing nut bars; which country doesn’t? Their politicians maybe self-serving opportunists but that’s a universal trait in their profession, especially those who depend on votes for a living.
What could be done to untangle this stalemate?
The Japanese government will purchase the Diao Yu rocks from What’s-his-name. Concurrently, their parliament will pass a bill declaring it a special conservation area, forbidding visits or development of any kind for the next fifty years. This would in effect officialise the hitherto unofficial agreement between the two countries, and keep the kamikaze samurais legally restrained. Isn’t this the intention repeatedly emphasised by the Japanese Government?
China will declare the purchase invalid, of course, but with the legal assurance of a development freeze, Japan’s declared intention of purchasing the island to keep it from the lunatics would be proven sincere. China can also promulgate similar legislation to protect Diao Yu Tai for the sake of the record.
Let’s hope this conflict can be resolved sensibly. Now that the US has redirected their benign attention back to Asia Pacific, we should no longer take peace and harmony for granted.