For a brief moment there, relations between Japan and China seemed to be on the mend.
They had been damaged, you may recall, by news of new Japanese history textbooks that played down Japan's actions during World War II, and by Chinese state-sponsored riots that damaged Japan's embassy building and Japanese-owned stores. But China eventually reined in the protesters, and talked about offering compensation, if not an apology, for the damage they caused.
However, signs of trouble began to emerge when the two sides couldn't agree on the amount of compensation. This news was soon followed by Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi's announcement that he would continue to visit the controversial Yasukuni shrine, where the spirits of Japan's war dead including its military leaders in World War II are honored.
So, after all that, this can't be good news. The Asahi Shimbun reports:
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi abruptly canceled a scheduled meeting Monday with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, citing urgent business at home.Neither can this, also from the Asahi:
The highly unusual move concerning diplomatic protocol triggered speculation that Beijing was expressing discontent over Koizumi's repeated visits to war-related Yasukuni Shrine.
Chinese President Hu Jintao criticized Japan on Sunday over the three issues of Yasukuni, history textbooks and Taiwan.Yes, yes, I know it was just an analogy. But alluding to the instantaneous destruction of entire buildings sounds to me like a not-so-veiled threat.
He made the criticism in a meeting with two visiting secretaries-general of Japan's ruling coalition parties: Tsutomu Takebe of the Liberal Democratic Party and Tetsuzo Fuyushiba of New Komeito.
"In recent years, there have been developments (in Japan) that we do not want to see," Hu said.
..."The development of China-Japan relations is like constructing a building. We can complete it by laying bricks one by one. However, it can be destroyed in an instant."
With China ready to use its veto, Japan can probably kiss its chances of joining the UN Security Council goodbye.