This exclusive report from Reuters says that Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants to use the example of Germany’s atonement for its role in WWII as an example to hold up against Japan. I can’t see how the Germans will be enthused about this.
It is all getting a bit much for Germany.
“The Germans are really uncomfortable with this kind of thing,” said a third diplomatic source, referring to the defense ministry meeting. “They don’t like China constantly comparing them with Japan and going on about the war.”
If Xi really does come to Germany making these sorts of statements, it shows to what lengths China’s government wants the world to come to its side in its Japan dispute. (Not to mention the battle for the public opinion going on within China). The difficultly for China is that outside of whaling, since the end of WWII, Japan has been a more or less model international player. China on the other hand has been in the news a lot because of it’s numerous border and territory disputes, which just doesn’t look as reassuring.
For Germany, Xi really has the capacity to show off how out of step China can be with the concerns and history of an important trade partner. What happened in the 1930s and 1940s between Japan and China may be only yesterday’s news to Beijing. Germany on the other hand, has worked long and hard to put that period behind it. A state mission to dig up uncomfortable chunks of history of a host nation will likely only showcase how narrow the focus of China’s foreign policy can be.