Country Reports

China’s newspapers, especially Global Times in its English edition, attracted increased attention in the first half of 2013 for their international relations views. Two topics have drawn the lion’s share of attention: North Korea and Japan. Both had piqued foreign interest previously. Japanese observers have closely followed them, recalling the early 2003 bold articles on “new thinking” toward relations with their country but also later waves of wide-ranging accusations arousing distrust. Of late, claims that Japan does not have sovereignty over the Ryukyus (Okinawa) are among the most incendiary articles. South Koreans attentively follow articles in the Chinese press on North Korea, perking up their interest in 2004 when a lone journal article defied the standard pattern before the journal was closed and in 2006 when criticisms of North Korea were aired after its first nuclear test. Recently, suggestions that China’s support for North Korea could be withdrawn have generated the most news. If a small number of articles that serve as warnings and resonate widely in the outside world point to ongoing policy debates, we should not overlook a broader range of publications that are informative about how existing policies are assessed.

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