Kishore Mahbubani urges China and Japan to each take a deep breath with their standoff over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands:
Of course, if it’s hard to imagine [Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe] reaching out to Beijing now, it’s equally hard to see Chinese leaders responding constructively. Yet on a simple cost-benefit analysis, [Chinese president Xi Jinping] has incentive enough to scale back aggressive naval and air patrols of the waters surrounding the islands. He has just embarked on a set of difficult, potentially far-reaching economic reforms. Although he can’t afford to look weak domestically, he also can’t afford a geopolitical crisis that would disrupt China’s economy and possibly global trade.
A major rebalancing is gradually taking place in Asia as China’s economy becomes larger than Japan’s. But it isn’t in China’s interest to push for this rebalancing too aggressively. When I was in Tokyo in early December, I was struck by the intensity of concern over China’s aggressive posturing. The harder the Beijing government pushes now, the more rapidly Japan will move to upgrade its military capabilities and strengthen its alliances with the U.S. and countries ringing China. Both sides need to find a way to ratchet down their words and deeds.
Meanwhile, Jin Kai thinks the United States gives China some leeway:
[I]f the US truly believes that China will maintain its rise in the foreseeable future, building mutual trust between Washington and Beijing should be at least as important and significant as maintaining a strong US-Japan alliance, if not more important in the long term. Excessively limiting or compressing China’s strategic space will probably be counterproductive; it may cause or at least speed up China’s active counter-measures.
Previous Dish on the dispute here.