Abbott is clearly shortsighted

Updated: 2014-07-11 07:05

(China Daily)

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's four-day visit to Australia this week, ending on Thursday, has culminated in political drama thanks to his host.

While Abe continued with his sham of trying to hide his real intentions by disguising himself as a defender of international norms, his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, seemed all too willing to play a supporting role as his comrade-in-arms.

Abbott even went so far as to eulogize Japan's World War II military prowess in his welcome to Abe.

"We admired the skill and the sense of honor that they brought to their task although we disagreed with what they did," said Abbott referring to the Japanese submariners killed in the 1942 raid on Sydney harbor.

Asian countries victimized by Japan's military aggression during WWII, China included, will consider these remarks, at the very least, inappropriate. For their peoples who fought the Japanese, as well as for the Australian soldiers slaughtered then, Abbott's words are tantamount to insulting praise for their victimizers' skill in killing.

By siding with Japan and helping it whitewash its wartime crimes, Abbott may be trying to sweet-talk Abe in the hope of gaining economic benefits for his administration. But the Australian leader must be warned that this is shortsighted, due to Abe's unrepentant attitude toward history and the Abe administration's right-wing acts. Australia should not connive in the burying of historical truths and the destabilizing of the region.

When Abe said in Canberra that Japan is looking to join hands with Australia to nurture a regional and world order and to safeguard peace, he was being disingenuous.

Abbott should have enough political wisdom not to be hoodwinked by Abe's artful words and avoid being duped into supporting Abe to confront China.

Australia has a stake in the growth and stability of the region at large. Especially, since it has expressed a growing interest in being more involved as a member of the Asian club.

And Canberra should bear in mind that it is likely to compromise its ties with other Asian countries by enhancing relations with Japan in such a way, as the rest of Asia is watching warily as Abe pushes forward his rightist agenda.

Judged by any standard, Abbott's enthusiasm in defending Japan this week is both offensive and counterproductive. It will only serve to encourage Abe in his attempts to challenge international norms and disrupt today's international order.

(China Daily 07/11/2014 page8)