China’s new leadership is expected to take a hardline stance toward Tokyo, amid a bitter territorial dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea.
Vice president Xi Jinping replaced president Hu Jintao as the new head of China’s Communist Party, in a once-in-a-decade leadership change. Xi also inherited from Hu the top military position of chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, according to China’s state agency Xinhua.
Chinese analysts say that despite their country’s declared will to ensure peaceful development and international cooperation, as well as good neighbor policy in the next five to 10 years, external moves such as Japan’s purchase of the islands are seen as provocations and will make it difficult for China to keep a balanced foreign policy, according to those principles.
“Issues such as Japan’s nationalization of the Diaoyu Islands, a U.S. pivot in Asia, which seems to check and guard China, and disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam over the South China Sea will continue to impact Chinese public opinions, nationalism, armed forces and maritime administrations,” commented Shi Yinhong, a professor at the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, quoted by Kyodo.