China and Regional Security: How Should Neighbouring Powers Respond?

30 April 2013, 6:00 – 7:45pm

Commitee Room 14, The House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1 2TT

China’s continuing enhancement of its international presence is a result both of the country’s growing economic and military strength and its perception of a weakened US. This is in contrast to Deng’s policy of keeping a low profile, and appears at odds with ongoing talk of harmony and peaceful development. Since 2008, China has been increasingly assertive in its approach to territorial issues, not only with Japan, but also with other neighbouring countries. How are these nations to respond? Are there only two alternatives – counter-action or surrender? What about legal/ diplomatic options, including submitting the case to international arbitration? Can China and its neighbours still build stable and cooperative ‘win-win’ strategic relationships to deal with regional security issues such as North Korean nuclear aggression, boundary questions and navigation and resource rights? Or has the long-standing neglect of a historical problem combined with old disputes and new power configurations now set a course of conflict for the next generation? How do US interests play into these questions? Now that the political and economic focus seems to have shifted to the Asia-Pacific region, the attitudes of China and its neighbouring countries will have implications for Europe too. This seminar will examine these themes and consider them from a neutral British perspective, also addressing how the new leaders of China and Japan are dealing with the growing tensions in the region, and the negative attitudes towards each other fostered by the territorial disputes between them.

Professor Michael Clarke

Professor Michael Clarke is currently the Director General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Until July 2007, he was Deputy Vice-Principal and Director of Research Development at King’s College London. He was the founding Director of the Centre for Defence Studies and of the International Policy Institute at King’s. He has taught international politics at the Universities of Aberystwyth, Manchester, Newcastle, and the Open University. He has been a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Defence Committee since 1997. In 2004, he was appointed the UK member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. In 2009, he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s National Security Forum and in 2010 to the Chief of Defence Staff’s new Strategic Advisory Group. His recent publications include: The Afghan Papers: Committing Britain to War in Helmand2005-06, London, RUSI/Routledge 2011; ‘Strategic Posture Review: United Kingdom’, World Politics Review, November 2011; ‘Does War Have a Future?’, in Lindley-French and Boyar (eds), The Oxford Handbook of War, Oxford, OUP, 2012.

Professor Barry Buzan

Professor Barry Buzan is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Honorary Professor at Copenhagen and Jilin Universities, and a Senior Fellow at LSE Ideas. During 1993 he was a visiting professor at the International University of Japan, and from 1997-98 he was Olof Palme Visiting Professor in Sweden. In 1998 he was elected a fellow of the British Academy. Among his books are:Security: A New Framework for Analysis (1998, with Ole Wæver and Jaap de Wilde); International Systems in World History: Remaking the Study of International Relations (2000, with Richard Little);Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security (2003, with Ole Wæver); The Evolution of International Security Studies (2009, with Lene Hansen); and Non-Western International Relations Theory (2010, co-edited with Amitav Acharya).

Sir David Warren

Sir David Warren was British Ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012. This followed a career in the Diplomatic Service that focused on East Asian affairs, in which he served three times in the British Embassy in Tokyo (1977-1981; 1993-1998; 2008-2012), and as head of the FCO’s China Hong Kong Department (1998-2000). He was also a member of the team that set up the Government’s business promotion agency, UK Trade and Investment, from 2000 to 2004, and Director of Human Resources for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (and a Board member) 2004-2007. He retired from the Diplomatic Service in January 2013, and has since become a Visiting Professor at Sheffield and De Montfort Universities, and is also Chairman of the Japan Society.

Rod Wye

Rod Wye is currently an Associate Fellow with the Asia Programme at Chatham House and a Senior Fellow in the China Policy Institute atNottingham. He was an analyst specialising in China and East Asia for over thirty years in the Research Analysts of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He also did two postings inChina as First Secretary in the British Embassy in Beijing in 1985-88 and again in 1995-99, and Deputy Head of the China Hong Kong Department in 1999-2002.

Dr Bobo Lo (Chair)

Dr Bobo Lo is an independent scholar and consultant. He was previously Director of the Russia and China Programmes at the Centre for European Reform; Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House. Dr Lo writes extensively on Russian and Chinese foreign policy. His books include Russiaand the New World Disorder (Brookings and Chatham House, forthcoming in 2013), Axis of Convenience: Moscow, Beijing and the New Geopolitics (Brookings and Chatham House, 2008). Other recent writings include ‘Kinder, gentler geopolitics’, Caixin Media, 22 January 2013, ‘A 21st century myth – authoritarian modernization in Russia and China’ (with Lilia Shevtsova), Carnegie Moscow Center Report, June 2012; ‘What can we learn from China’s modernisation?’, Diplomaatia,May 2012; ‘The Russia-China-US triangle and its post-Cold War fate’, in Robert E. Bedeski and Niklas Swanstrom (eds), and ‘How the Chinese See Russia’,French Institute of International Relations, Dec 2010.

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Fukushima’s animals abandoned and left to die

 

I found very hard to watch the video published on CNN website on Fukushima’s abandoned animals but while watching this sad video I was thinking about all the people who lost their lives, relatives and/or friends and never be able to forget the day Tsunami struck. When I think what human beings had to go through, then the condition of those animals, even if tragic, seems to be less important and I agree Japanese government that it would be far to risky and costly to try to save those animals.

Countermeasures for the Great East Japan Earthquake

This event seems to be very relevant for those worried about the situation in Japan.


Detailed information and registration form here.

Thursday, 21st April 2011 13.30-15.00

Venue Address:
JETRO London
MidCity Place 71, High Holborn London WC1V 6AL
Tel: 020-7421-8300, FAX : 020-7421-0009
Website: http://www.jetro.go.jp/uk/contact/

To apply, please fax a registration form to JETRO London by 19th April.
Capacity is 100 people, and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

In further detail, an explanation will be made on the current situation in Japan regarding nuclear reactors, radiation levels in and around the major cities, regulations surrounding food products and tap water, regulation on exports, and the conditions of Japanese harbours and airports. The speakers will in turn explain the countermeasures that are being, and will be taken in response to the damages caused by the disaster.

History Repeats by Kenzaburo Oe

I decided to post an interesting and provoking article written by Kenzaburo Oe and published by The New Yorker on the recent events. Let me know your opinion.

By chance, the day before the earthquake, I wrote an article, which was published a few days later, in the morning edition of the Asahi Shimbun. The article was about a fisherman of my generation who had been exposed to radiation in 1954, during the hydrogen-bomb testing at Bikini Atoll. I first heard about him when I was nineteen. Later, he devoted his life to denouncing the myth of nuclear deterrence and the arrogance of those who advocated it. Was it a kind of sombre foreboding that led me to evoke that fisherman on the eve of the catastrophe? He has also fought against nuclear power plants and the risk that they pose. I have long contemplated the idea of looking at recent Japanese history through the prism of three groups of people: those who died in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, those who were exposed to the Bikini tests, and the victims of accidents at nuclear facilities. If you consider Japanese history through these stories, the tragedy is self-evident. Today, we can confirm that the risk of nuclear reactors has become a reality. However this unfolding disaster ends—and with all the respect I feel for the human effort deployed to contain it—its significance is not the least bit ambiguous: Japanese history has entered a new phase, and once again we must look at things through the eyes of the victims of nuclear power, of the men and the women who have proved their courage through suffering. The lesson that we learn from the current disaster will depend on whether those who survive it resolve not to repeat their mistakes.

This disaster unites, in a dramatic way, two phenomena: Japan’s vulnerability to earthquakes and the risk presented by nuclear energy. The first is a reality that this country has had to face since the dawn of time. The second, which may turn out to be even more catastrophic than the earthquake and the tsunami, is the work of man. What did Japan learn from the tragedy of Hiroshima? One of the great figures of contemporary Japanese thought, Shuichi Kato, who died in 2008, speaking of atomic bombs and nuclear reactors, recalled a line from “The Pillow Book,” written a thousand years ago by a woman, Sei Shonagon, in which the author evokes “something that seems very far away but is, in fact, very close.” Nuclear disaster seems a distant hypothesis, improbable; the prospect of it is, however, always with us. The Japanese should not be thinking of nuclear energy in terms of industrial productivity; they should not draw from the tragedy of Hiroshima a “recipe” for growth. Like earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural calamities, the experience of Hiroshima should be etched into human memory: it was even more dramatic a catastrophe than those natural disasters precisely because it was man-made. To repeat the error by exhibiting, through the construction of nuclear reactors, the same disrespect for human life is the worst possible betrayal of the memory of Hiroshima’s victims.

I was ten years old when Japan was defeated. The following year, the new Constitution was proclaimed. For years afterward, I kept asking myself whether the pacifism written into our Constitution, which included the renunciation of the use of force, and, later, the Three Non-Nuclear Principles (don’t possess, manufacture, or introduce into Japanese territory nuclear weapons) were an accurate representation of the fundamental ideals of postwar Japan. As it happens, Japan has progressively reconstituted its military force, and secret accords made in the nineteen-sixties allowed the United States to introduce nuclear weapons into the archipelago, thereby rendering those three official principles meaningless. The ideals of postwar humanity, however, have not been entirely forgotten. The dead, watching over us, oblige us to respect those ideals, and their memory prevents us from minimizing the pernicious nature of nuclear weaponry in the name of political realism. We are opposed. Therein lies the ambiguity of contemporary Japan: it is a pacifist nation sheltering under the American nuclear umbrella. One hopes that the accident at the Fukushima facility will allow the Japanese to reconnect with the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to recognize the danger of nuclear power, and to put an end to the illusion of the efficacy of deterrence that is advocated by nuclear powers.

When I was at an age that is commonly considered mature, I wrote a novel called “Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness.” Now, in the final stage of life, I am writing a “last novel.” If I manage to outgrow this current madness, the book that I write will open with the last line of Dante’s Inferno: “And then we came out to see once more the stars.”