Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 05:09 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 05:09 | SYDNEY

Through Chinese eyes: Interview series

24 May 2011 11:47

Peter Martin is a political consultant based in Beijing. Along with David Cohen, he is conducting a series of interviews on behalf of The Interpreter with Chinese academics and journalists.

Next week, David Cohen and I will conduct an interview for The Interpreter with Gui Yongtao, Associate Professor at Peking University's School of International Studies and an expert on China's complex relationship with Japan. We invite Lowy readers to submit questions for Gui.

This is an opportunity to learn about this strategically vital relationship from the Chinese side.

One of the most important bilateral relationships in the world and a potential flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific, the relationship between China and Japan has made headlines in the last year, as the long-running dispute over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands flared up. A collision between a Japanese patrol boat and a Chinese fishing vessel in disputed waters led to a two-week standoff, student protests in several major Chinese cities, and China's apparently retaliatory imposition of quotas on exports of strategically vital rare earth elements to Japan. More recently, however, Beijing has taken the disastrous Japan earthquake as an opportunity to mend fences, sending aid and rescue teams.

Ties between Asia's two major powers have historically been difficult. The work of Chinese officials is complicated by the anger of Chinese nationalists, whose passions are roused by memories of Japan's imperial history, territorial disputes, and Japan's close alliance with the US. In Japan, China's rise has stoked fears and inspired debates about abandoning the constitutional commitment to pacifism.

Gui Yongtao is a noted international expert on Sino-Japanese relations. He holds doctorates from both Peking University and Japan's Waseda University, and has published on strategic relations between China, Japan and the US, as well as the impact of history and nationalism on Sino-Japanese relations. He is a regular commentator on Chinese television.

We're excited to see your questions about China's relationship with Japan and other aspects of Chinese foreign policy — submit your questions here.

Photo courtesy of NFSA Australia.