University of Virginia Library

China Refuses To Welcome Sato

The spectacular speed at
which ping pong diplomacy
blossomed into summit
diplomacy took most of these
countries by surprise, made
some of them regret their
earlier opposition to
Communist China's admission.
It also spurred them not only
into throwing their weight
behind the Albanian
resolution, which proposed
giving Taipei's seat in the
United Nations and the
specialized agencies to Peking,
but also into following the U.S.
lead in making friendly
overtures to Peking.

The few states which
supported the U. S. resolution
on China in the 1971 General
Assembly session did so either
because they were too remote
from Communist China to be
much concerned about possible
unfriendly Chinese acts or
because their overtures for
friendly relations with Peking
had been rebuffed.

Japanese Prime Minister
Sato has publicly expressed his
desire to visit Peking. When he
said recently that if Nixon can
go to China why not Sato, he
must have been echoing the
changed attitude of all those U.S.
allies which lack diplomatic
relations with Communist

Peking, however, has made
it clear that Sato is not
welcome. Tokyo has gone to
the length of apologizing for
the Japanese invasion of China
that occurred before the
communists came to power.
This apology offer has not
mollified Peking: the road to
Peking remains closed for Sato.

One may ask two questions,
why and so what? The answer
to the first question lies in the
history of the Far East:

Japan and Russia were
among the vultures who preyed
on the Chinese dragon when it
lay sick and prostrate. From
the second half of the
nineteenth century Czarist
Russia and militarist Japan
followed a policy of expanding
their empires at the expense of

By 1860 the Russians
occupied an enormous area of
China, including Sakhalin
Island. After 1855 Sakhalin was
placed under a Russo-Japanese
joint administration.

In 1875 Japan bartered its
rights over Sakhalin in
exchange for Russia's
recognition of Japanese
sovereignty over Kurile Islands
which Russia had claimed as its
territory. The Sino-Japanese
War of 1894-95 led to the
annexation by Japan of the
island of Taiwan.

This was a period of
weakness for the "heavenly
kingdom" of China. The
European powers including
Russia and the rising Pacific
power Japan started a general
scramble to extract territorial
concessions from China.

Japan's expansionist thrusts
into China were retarded by its
European rivals, particularly by
Russia. The clash between
Japanese and Czarist imperial
ambitions in the Far East led
to the Russo-Japanese War of
1904-1905. Russia was soundly
beaten by Japan.

The land of the rising Sun,
which until that time was a
little known uncivilized eastern
country to people of the West,
drew the attention and
admiration of the western
world when the Japanese
defeated a western power,

Through the good offices of
President Theodore Roosevelt,
peace negotiations between the
Japanese and Russian
representatives took place in
Portsmouth, New Hampshire in
1905, and a peace treaty was

The decade that followed
the Treaty of Portsmouth was
a period of collaboration
between Japan and Russia. The
two imperial powers came to
terms over the question of
sharing their Chinese spoils.

With the Czar's approval
Japan annexed Korea in 1910.
In 1911 Russian suzerainty was
extended over Outer Mongolia.

The U. S. favored an 'open
door' policy for facilitating
American trade and investment
in Manchuria Russia and Japan
regarded this American policy
an as encroachment on their
spheres of influence and
resistance to it was one of the
factors that contributed to the
Russo - Japanese

In January 1915 Japan
presented its Twenty-One
Demands to the government of
the Chinese dictator, Yuan
Shih-k'ai, who was planning to
restore monarchy in China and
proclaim himself as monarch.

These demands, besides
confirming the territorial and
other privileges Japan had been
enjoying in China, would have
converted China into a
protectorate of Japan.

A patriotic fervor swept
through China and angry
Chinese started a boycott of
Japanese goods. Ultimately
Tokyo dropped those demands
that would have made China a
Japanese vassal state and
secured the Chinese
government's agreement to the
rest of the demands, which
amounted to a re-affirmation
of the rights Japan already had
in China.

The period of 1917-1928 was
for China an era of war lords,
continuous civil war, lack of
strong central authority and
grave disorder.

Japan, like the western
powers, fished in the troubled
waters of China and wrenched
various concessions from the
Chinese authorities. Japan
surpassed all other foreign
powers in her desire to exploit
China and in the crudity of
methods it employed to gratify
its lust.