Jin Baisong, deputy director of the department of Chinese trade studies at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce, was among the first to urge the Chinese government to act on Tuesday, when he suggested that China could use the World Trade Organization's clause of "security exceptions" to impose economic sanctions on Japan.
“It is important for China to devise a sanction plan against Japan that would cause minimum loss to Chinese enterprises,” Jin wrote in an op-ed piece in the state-run China Daily.
Jin then took the opportunity to take a slight dig at the U.S., claiming that China could “take a cue from the U.S.,” by imposing economic sanctions on countries that go against their own security interests.
“The US' capability to impose economic sanctions on other countries is based on its economic strength, huge share in global trade, financial institutions and global intelligence network. China, too, has the capability to impose sanctions on other countries now that it is the second largest economy, has the largest foreign reserves, and is the largest exporter and second largest importer,” he wrote.
According to Jin, one area that the Chinese government could target was the Japanese government bond market, which China holds $230 billion of.
Separately, an editorial in the Xinhua news agency, also called for Japan “to drop its sense of superiority regarding China.”
Bringing up past rivalries, including the events of World War II, the writer said that China’s recent rise to prominence on the global stage had “touched the nerves of some Japanese, who have resorted to tricks to disturb China’s peaceful development.”
China’s state-run news and media outlets are often seen as the mouthpiece of the government itself. The US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, was in Beijing on Tuesday to try to stem the political crisis, calling for restraint on both sides.
Panetta warned that “provocations” over the islands could spiral out of control and lead to conflict.
Read the full op-ed piece by Jin Baisong here