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旧仇新恨:演变中的中日紧张关系
旧仇新恨:演变中的中日紧张关系
Hostage Diplomacy Is Against China’s Interests
Hostage Diplomacy Is Against China’s Interests
Report 258 / Asia

旧仇新恨:演变中的中日紧张关系

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中日之间的敌意正逐渐强化,成为似乎越来越难以用外交手段化解的对抗。双方在钓鱼岛(日本称尖阁列岛)问题上的立场相去甚远,政治上可行的缩小隔阂的方法仍遥不可及,而新的摩擦业已产生。中国于2013年11月宣布在东海划定防空识别区。由于该防空识别区与日方的防空识别区有所重合并覆盖有争议的岛屿,此举加深了日本的不安,认为中国不仅有领土野心而且企图改变地区秩序。而日本首相安倍晋三在2013年12月颇具挑衅地参拜了靖国神社,挑起了两国对日本是否已对二战侵略行为完全悔过的激烈争吵——这段历史在东北亚是仍未愈合的伤口。在双方怀疑深化、东海及其空域军事化的背景下,误判的机率也随之上升。双方的领导层都需要确立一个基调,即优先以外交手段平复这片凶险水域;而11月将举行的亚太经合组织(APEC)高峰会将会提供这样一个机遇。

在日本政策圈内,越来越多人相信习近平主席领导的新一届中国政府格外强硬,而且中国正努力恢复其“中央王国”的地区霸主地位。中国则认为安倍政府是“麻烦制造者”,想要在地区内制造紧张气氛以重新武装日本。鲁莽的行为和尖锐的言辞似乎正逐渐取代外交手段。中日都日渐认定对方为主要的国防威胁之一,并相应地增强自己的军事实力及调整防御姿态。

尽管中国短期内不太可能尝试从日本手中完全取得岛屿的控制权,却认为地区内力量对比将持续朝对自身有利的方向发展,并推断以实力为后盾的策略会迫使日本逐步接受对现状渐进性的改变,因而据此行动。东京似乎也认为中国具有远期的实力优势,因而寻求加强其与美国的同盟关系,并通过以规则为基础反对单方面改变现状行为的平台来联合地区内其他国家。

可以推测的是,两国政府都不愿引起武装冲突,但双方意外碰撞的风险正日益增加。意外可能发生在以下三个区域:钓鱼岛/尖阁列岛附近水域,西太平洋公海,以及东海空域;并可能涉及海警船只,渔船,海军舰队和军用飞机。尽管自2013年末季度开始,钓鱼岛海域的巡航行为已逐渐规律化,而船只的冒险行为也有所减少,另外两个区域内军舰与军机之间的遭遇却更加频繁和危险。

为了提升自己的深海实力,中国人民解放军加强了在离岸海域的演习强度,这导致与日本自卫队的接触增多。二者对于行动权和限制的理解截然不同。日本坚持在国际水域搜集情报的权利。而中国则不惜采取危险性行为以驱离接近自己舰队的外国船只及军用飞机。因此,双方的遭遇险象环生。自从中国宣布划定一个与日方有所重合的防空识别区,中日战机接近的次数猛增,双方均指责对方行为具挑衅性。

相较之下,东京在寻求危机管理及缓和机制方面更为积极主动,但也担心如若处理不当会被视作在领土诉求上的让步,或对中国防空识别区的认可。北京则声称当前的政治环境不适宜就此进行磋商。所以,即便对意外碰撞的风险意识在双方的政策圈内都在上升,而且两国都签署了多边《海上意外相遇规则》(CUES),但是非官方讨论及这一无法律约束性的规则目前都还未能减少危险的遭遇。

2014年11月在北京举行的亚太经合组织峰会也许可以为习近平主席和安倍晋三首相提供一个会晤的机会,他们可以借此为有关建立及实施管理紧张关系的协商奠定基调。双方都需要致力于以格外的小心谨慎来处理目前脆弱的关系,并在低燃点问题——包括钓鱼岛/尖阁列岛争端及历史问题——上保持克制。双边关系亟需一段足够长的冷静期,从而给谨慎的外交策略创造空间。

Op-Ed / Asia

Hostage Diplomacy Is Against China’s Interests

Originally published in The Diplomat

Normalized relations between China and the West should not be taken for granted. The fates of the two Michaels are test cases for the direction Beijing chooses.

Over the past 50 years, China has undeniably established itself as a global power. It has made progress on many fronts, particularly in furthering the development agenda. Nonetheless, President Xi Jinping’s efforts to cast his country as a responsible and benign super power ring hollow when his government continues to engage in hostage diplomacy. As a current academic dean and a former business executive and diplomat, I can unequivocally say that the world is eager to see China firmly commit to not using people as bargaining chips.

This is especially relevant to me because a staff member of the International Crisis Group – an organization that I co-chair – today marked his 1,000th day in Chinese detention for no other reason than the fact of his Canadian citizenship. Michael Kovrig, International Crisis Group’s senior advisor, and fellow Canadian Michael Spavor were detained in China on December 10, 2018, just 10 days after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada pursuant to an extradition request from the United States. Recently, Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in jail and deportation. Kovrig’s sentence has not yet been issued. Both Kovrig and Spavor are held under difficult conditions with little access to the outside world.

Beijing argues that Meng’s detention was politically motivated – that it was meant to further the United States’ own leverage against Huawei. For its part, Ottawa and Washington perceive the two Canadians’ detentions as being clearly arbitrary and political. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims that Beijing draws a “direct link” between Meng’s case and the two Michaels. While calling for Kovrig and Spavor to be released, U.S. President Joe Biden remarked, “Human beings are not bartering chips.”

Both Michael's detentions are at odds with China’s desired reputation as an open, welcoming, and global power for positive change and modernity

Beijing’s hostage diplomacy runs counter to its own interests. From my academic vantage point, I know all too well the importance of China opening itself up to study and healthy scrutiny, particularly by impartial experts like Michael Kovrig. His detention has a chilling effect on such studies. As a former business executive, I know cases like the two Michaels’ arbitrary detentions impact business decisions. The security of employees is paramount to any decision to enter or remain in a given market. Finally, as a former U.N. diplomat, I am aware that my colleagues are also focusing on these cases. Kovrig was a long-serving diplomat within the Canadian foreign service. U.N. Security Council representatives have noted this fact when denouncing his continued detention. Arbitrary detentions like these only give China’s competitors cause for concerns and coordination. It is again in Beijing’s own interest to avoid becoming the locus of multilateral criticism.

Additionally, stalemated problems between countries rarely resolve themselves. The Kovrig and Spavor cases exacerbate serious rifts between Washington and Beijing. The past several years have seen tensions consistently rise between Beijing and both Democratic and Republican-led U.S. administrations. Normalized relations between China and the West should not be taken for granted. The fates of the two Michaels are test cases for the direction Beijing chooses.

From each of these vantage points, both Michaels’ continued detentions are at odds with China’s desired reputation as an open, welcoming, and global power for positive change and modernity. Beijing can act differently. It should make a gesture commensurate to its status as a global leader and release Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor immediately.