The Negative Turn in Mutual Perception in 2010 Case Study: The Fishing Boat Collision and Rare Earth Export Restrictions
This chapter explores the dramatic change in mutual direct perceptions in the aftermath of the Fishing Boat Collision Incident in 2010. Yun Zhang clarifies the widening perception divergence regarding the international system and the US among China’s strategic elites in the aftermath of the global economic crisis and the Obama administration’s Pivot to Asia (rebalancing toward Asia) strategy. The cases of the detention of the Chinese fishing boat captain and China’s temporary embargo on rare earth exports to Japan are examined closely to explain the hidden logic at work in both Japan and China for trying initially to make an influence attempt on the US, despite there being a façade of Sino–Japanese confrontation. However, the accumulation of the previous spillover effects and these two episodes were the threshold to the formation of new, overall negative, mutual direct perceptions.