China, India and Japan: Friend and Foe

China’s position in the world is drawing increasing comment. Will its growing economic strength be converted into military aspirations, or does it present a massive economic opportunity? Beijing’s relations with the two other Asian giants are changing too with a rapprochement between India and China and the worsening of relations between China and Japan.

The World Today Published 1 May 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 4 minute READ

Dr Gareth Price

Former Senior Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme

David Wall

Associate Fellow, International Economics Programme, Chatham House

The events that sparked these developments - a meeting of Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, and riots in China in protest at Japanese textbooks - have a wider context of economic and political links with global ramifications.

The aspirations of both Japan and India have changed in recent years. Both countries see themselves as key players if the post-Cold War world is to be multi-polar. Following the Second World War, Japan saw its global role in economic – not political, and certainly not military – terms. Its approval of a new edition of an offending textbook might have been the last straw that led to riots in China, but there have been a lot more straws in recent years.

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