Wednesday, October 3, 2012


By Roger Baker, vice president of East Asia Analysis
Published: September 25, 2012; Stratfor; Alternatively, just google the article and writer’s name
Level of Difficulty:****
It is suggested that you seek out a video or videos on the recent island conflict involving China and Japan.  Watch them and discuss them before you start the reading
Read the first two paragraphs carefully.
1.       For what two reasons is China making such a song and dance about the disputed group of islands in the South China Sea?
2.       What could be the result of this move by China?
Read “An Old Conflict’s New Prominence” carefully.
3.       According to the text, China used the islands to draw attention away from.........................
4.       Is the island dispute between China and Japan a new concern or not? How do you know?
5.       Why did Japan plan to nationalize the islands? Be explicit.
6.       For what two reasons did China back the Hong Kong activists’ venture but not Chinese boat?
7.       It is explained in paragraph seven that China is involved in a balancing act. What does this balancing act involve?
8.       What twin problems do China and Japan face in trying to manage the island dispute and reduce tensions?
Read “Political Dilemmas in Beijing and Tokyo?
9.       What does “this” in the phrase “That this comes amid a once in a decade leadership transition” in paragraph ten refer to?
10.   Which sentence best summarizes paragraph eleven?
11.   The case of the 2009 election results prove that ........................................................................Be precise.
12.   What has been the consequence for Japan of China’s growing military strength, North Korea’s nuclear weapons and South Korea’s militarization? Use your own words!
Read “Contest for East Asian Supremacy” carefully.
13.   What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This leaves China’s leaders facing rising social tensions” in paragraph 15?
14.   What goal has Japan sacrificed over the last twenty years?
15.   What exactly is China concerned about in the current climate?
16.   Which sentence best summarizes paragraph eighteen?
Write a brief summary of the island conflict. Base your summary both on information you gleaned from the text and the videos you watched. Imagine your short text is going to be published in the foreign news section of a popular daily. Have fun.
This text is a brilliant analysis of the island dispute by an expert in the field. It is up to Stratfor’s usual standard in terms of being beautifully organized and very well written. I strongly recommend watching some related videos and having a class discussion before tackling the text to familiarize the students with the issue. The writing task is quite challenging but at an advanced level, students should be able to cope.
1.       Nationalist factions are using them to inflame old animosities; Beijing has undertaken a high profile expansion and improvement of its navy as a way to help safeguard its maritime interests.
2.       It may awaken Japan from its pacifist slumber
3.       Its military and political standoff with the Philippines
4.       Not. For decades China and Beijing generally abided by a tacit agreement to keep the ─▒slands dispute quiet.
5.       By keeping control over construction and landings, the central government would be able to keep up its side of the tacit agreement.
6.       To distance itself from the action; to retain greater flexibility in dealing with Japan.
7.       Stage managing the protests but clamping down when demonstrations get out of hand.
8.       Neither side can publically give in on its territorial stance, and both are looking for ways to gain politically without allowing the situation to degrade further.
9.       China reaching the limit of the dept-financed export-driven economic model and having to deal with...
10.   The Chinese military is becoming a more modern fighting force, more active in influencing Chinese foreign policy...
11.   Concern about Japan’s economic dynamism is beginning to be reflected in Japanese politics.
12.   Possible answer: Japan started strengthening its military and moving away from its pacifist stance.
13.   The fact that Beijing still has a long way to go before it achieves any sort of equitable distribution.
14.   Economic restructuring
15.   That a resurgent Japan could assist the US constraining China.
16.   The us’ underlying interest is maintaining a perpetual  balance between Asia’ two key powers...

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