Last week, a Japanese official of ministerial-level visited Taiwan for a  tourism promotion event. Although he did not stay long, the  one-day visit has  caused a  problem with People’s Republic of China (PRC)

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Hua Chunying stated that with the visit, Japan has injured  an agreement. Previously  Japan promised would  only engage in  local level instead of national level relationship with Taiwan. PRC was questioning the Japanese move  because Taiwan is considered as one of its provinces. The visit is considered provocative and can seriously damage the  Sino-Japanese relations.

Japanese media reports, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan Jiro Akama is the highest government officials who officially visited Taiwan since 1972. At that time, Japan broke off diplomatic relations with its  former colony following an official opening of diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Although Taiwan  was once occupied by Japan,  from  1895 to 1945, Japan is not viewed as bad in Taiwan  as in  China and Korea. Japan was considered good for the development of the island. Since 1949, the island of Taiwan has been occupied by the Chinese Nationalist forces defeated in the civil war by  the Communist forces. Until 1972 the Chinese Nationalists in Taiwan under the name Republic of China (ROC) held  a veto right in the UN Security Council. But with the entry of China or PRC  the  UN veto right was shifted to Beijing.

Not only this time Beijing expressed  grievances against the Japanese. In early 2017, China was alarmed by a series of Japanese  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits to the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The visit was considered to hinder Bejing’s efforts to embrace countries around the South China Sea. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying then  issued a statement that the Japanese leaders sought to divide and manipulate the tension in the region.

Problems that occur in the Sino-Japanese relationship are  not just once or twice happened, but hopefully it does not grow bigger. The conflicts between  the two Asia's largest economies could have a direct impact to neighboring countries, including Indonesia. Whatever happens, Indonesia should  continue with its Independent and Active Foreign politics. (Budi NP)

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