China-Russia Summit: Selfish arrogance of justifying change of the status quo

 Chinese President Xi jinping met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing during Putin’s official visit to China.


 Two days before, two leaders had held a meeting during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan. It is highly unusual that they meet twice in different places in three days.

Demonstrating solidarity against US

 Russia is subject to economic sanctions by the West for its annexation of the Crimea in southern Ukraine and other issues. China is criticized by the international community for the issue of the South China Sea. One of the aims of two summit meetings is to demonstrate their solidarity against the United States which led nations to apply international pressure on China and Russia.

 In the recent summit meeting, President Xi pointed out, “international conflicts and regional issues should be solved politically through peaceful consultations,” tacitly keeping the United States in check which continues the “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea. In the joint statements issued after the meeting, President Xi clams that “China and Russia oppose to the increase of military presence in North East Asia by extraterritorial forces,” with the United States in his mind.

 However, two countries’ justification of “change of status quo by force” is a sign of selfish arrogance and is never accepted by the international community.

 The joint statements state, “It is unacceptable to use North Korea’s nuclear and missile program as an excuse to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) System in North East Asia.” This is an expression of their attitude to eliminate the United States’ intervention.

 THAAD can defend against incoming missiles in the altitude of 40 km to 150 km and is believed to be effective against North Korean missile attacks. The United States and South Korea are currently in consultations toward the system’s deployment with the United States Forces in Korea. If China and Russia oppose to this due to their own reasons, Japan and South Korea cannot increase deterrence against North Korea.

 On the other hand, President Xi stated, “We have to jointly cope with difficulties and challenges associated with the development of the world economy,” with economic confusions caused by the United Kingdoms’ decision to leave the European Union (EU) in his mind. He then appealed for strengthening of economic cooperation with Russia.

 Nevertheless, the cooperation between two countries is stagnant. The total amount of the trade between China and Russia in 2015 was about 68 billion dollars, 28% less than last year’s amount. In addition to decline of crude oil price, China’s careful attitude toward cooperation with Russia which is subject to sanctions for annexation of the Crimea influenced the trade relationship.

 Russia is increasingly alarmed by hardening of China’s foreign policy as China’s economic power increases. Although China and Russia appealed their “honeymoon” through two consecutive summits, their bilateral relationship is somewhat strained.

 The joint statements contain sentences which state, “As victor countries of the World War II, China and Russia firmly protect the results of the victory and oppose to the efforts to deny or distort the history of the war. Both countries criticize actions to deny sins of fascism and militarism.” This statement is keeping Japan in check on the history issue.

Japan should firmly make a rebuttal

 Japan preserved peace for seventy years after the war. It is China and Russia that are disturbing the post-war order. Japan needs to firmly make a rebuttal.

 China and Russia have to realize that they are great regional powers and their isolation will only deepen unless they move toward cooperation with the international community.