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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
During anti-Japanese protests in Beijing last week, a group of about 50 demonstrators surrounded the car of the American ambassador, Gary Locke, chanted slogans about disputed islands, and prevented the vehicle from entering the embassy compound until Chinese security personnel intervened.
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“Our generation is not wise enough to find a common language on this question,” Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping said in 1978 about his country's territorial dispute with Japan. “Our next generation will certainly be wiser. They will certainly find a solution acceptable to all.” In the meantime, Deng proposed, the two sides should jointly develop the area's rich economic resources.
In the mid-1960s, when the world was dominated by the two superpowers — the United States and the Soviet Union — China routinely described their relationship as one of “colluding and contending” for power and influence.
Forty years ago this month, Japan and China established diplomatic relations. However, the two countries are clearly in no mood to celebrate because of heated territorial disputes over tiny uninhabited islands, called the Senkakus by Japan and the Diaoyus by China. They are under Japanese control but claimed by Beijing.
I love history. So when I was offered a chance to write a piece on the 60th anniversary of the founding of The China Post, I jumped at it.
When Hillary Clinton spoke about America's “pivot” to Asia last year, she described alliances with Japan, South Korea and other countries as the “fulcrum” for Washington's strategic turn to the Asia-Pacific.
During the American presidential campaign of 2008, China was virtually a non-issue. During the televised debates between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, China was barely mentioned.
Africa has become a major theater in the global rivalry between China and the United States. This was evident during Hillary Clinton's African visit, during which she spread the message of democracy and warned Africans against unnamed “outsiders” coming to “extract the wealth of Africa for themselves, leaving nothing or very little behind.”
China has picked the wrong side to support in the Syrian deadlock. Over the weekend, the U.N. General Assembly voted, 133 to 12, for a resolution that condemned the violence in Syria and called for a “political transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people.”
Only four years ago, Beijing played host to the Summer Olympics and amazed the world with its modernity and sophistication. The event was widely seen as China's coming out party and signaled its readiness to become a major world power.
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