Monday, November 10, 2014

Meandering Thru the Media: “Who Gave Ground? China, Japan Tweak Translations to Claim Victory”

Yuka Hayashi at WSJ has done a good job of parsing the various versions—two English, one Japanese and one Chinese—each of the parallel announcements of the Japan-China agreement-to-disagree-sort-of in “Who Gave Ground? China, Japan Tweak Translations to Claim Victory.” I have looked at both English versions and the Japanese version, and I tentatively agree with what the article says. It’s a very clever, alert mini-scoop.

Addendum: I say "mini"-scoop because a) it is a fascinating piece of diplomatic arcana illuminating the difficult task of papering over fundamental differences but b) adopting one translation over the other makes no material difference going forward. Specifically, the two parties will be able to move on, but the Chinese surveillance vessels will keep entering the Senkaku territorial waters and the issue will never be taken to the International Court of Justice regardless of which translation they choose.

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