China and Japan have been in conflict for over seven decades. China is a young and growing economy while Japan is an old but technologically advanced economy. Both economies could complement and benefit from each other. Instead, the two countries have been conflict over territorial supremacy and ownership. China views Japan as an ally to western countries while Japan is intimidated by China’s fast growing economy. China’s dynamic economy increases the country’s rank in the Asian continent. The attitudes that both countries have adopted towards each other started before the Second World War. Education and national policies have popularized these attitudes over the years. Current generations who never witnessed the world war still fuel conflicts between the two economies over territories.
Conflicts between China and Japan began with the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930s. Japan killed millions of Chinese and took over parts of China especially in the northern region. Japan was interested in China’s natural resources at a time when China had internal conflicts. China’s focus on its internal conflicts gave Japan an opportunity to acquire Chinese territories easily and displace peasants living there. Communists in Asia and some western economies including the United States, France and Britain helped China fight Japan during the Sino-Japanese war.
Japanese forces bombed Chinese cities killing millions of peasants. Economic sanctions by western countries weakened Japan’s position in the conflict but China was still unable to evict Japanese from its territories. Western countries intervened in the second Sino-Japanese and defeated in Japan in 1945.
Since 1945, China and Japan have not been involved in a similar conflict or war. However, the same attitudes adopted in 1930s still govern relations between the two economies. Between 2010 and 2013, China and Japan were engaged in a dispute over inhabited islands. Both countries claimed ownerships of the islands and gave them different names. China began sending boats to the islands to raise its flag there but Japanese troupes arrested their captains and aborted their missions. China retaliated by holding anti-Japanese protests, which escalated when Japan bought three islands in the same region.
The conflict escalated further when China began to send surveillance ships to Japanese waters. China eventually withdrew its ships from Japanese waters but continued to survey the islands. The US and Japan were ready to start an air strike against China. These tensions heightened concerns that the two countries would go to war in the future. Both countries would benefit more from trade co-operations instead of war. However, government policies and national leadership systems fuel hatred between the two countries instead of co-operation.
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