Zhu Min, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a former deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, made a bold prediction that Japan and China will not declare an all-out war against each other over the disputed Senkaku Islands. On the first day of the two-day Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, Zhu said that the two sides need “enhanced economic, trade and financial cooperation” and that he is “pretty confident they would be able to find a way out.”
The governments of Japan and China have had a continuously deteriorating relationship due to either’s claims of a cluster of islands in the East China Sea, which Japan refers to as Senkaku and China calls Diaoyu. Both sides refuse to back down because of the islands’ richness in natural resources. Zhu said that economic differences such as this naturally raises nationalism, however, globalization is also something that cannot be ignored. He said they are both leading economies in the region, with China playing important roles in manufacturing and export, and Japan in financial, research and design. For them to grow, they will need to work together.
Late December last year, on the other hand, Australian National University and former Australian defense official Hugh White opined that these countries will most likely end up going to war this year. He defends his position by saying that what starts wars and what causes them are two entirely different things. He believes that China is showing its growing power in the region and that a tit-for-tat dispute like this is what would lead someone to open fire.