Trump Hard to Deal with, Abe Urgently Wants Better Relations with China


President Xi Jinping (front left) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front, third from right) pictured in a group photograph of leaders attending the Apec summit in Peru. Photo: AP

President Xi Jinping (front left) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front, third from right) pictured in a group photograph of leaders attending the Apec summit in Peru. Photo: AP

Trump’s demand for Japan to pay all the costs that the US incurs in maintaining US military presence in Japan to protect it is Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s great headache.

Trump’s firm opposition to TPP is an even graver problem. To get TPP signed by its members Abe has made some hard concessions and made great efforts to convince Japanese general public to accept. However, Obama has failed to get TPP accepted by US Congress while Trump has declared that he would scrap TPP as soon as he is inaugurated.

In order to bring Trump around, according to CNN report titled “Trump and Japan’s Abe meet for ‘very candid discussion’ in New York”, Abe met with Trump in New York on November 18 and had “very candid discussion” with Trump. Usually “candid” as a diplomatic term means that each side expresses his entirely different views without reserve in straightforward manner and fails to reach agreement.

Obviously, Trump insisted on his view that Japan only paid 15% of US costs to protect Japan while Abe insisted that Japan has paid 75%. It is interesting what compromise they will finally make. There must be an agreement in the end as neither of them want to break their alliance.

TPP is a disaster for Abe as in spite of the concession Abe has made, Trump regards TPP as utterly unacceptable and unfavorable to the US.

Previously, Abe is not anxious about the ASEAN plus three free trade area (ASEAN +3) that his predecessor has commenced discussions. He did not hesitate to cause much delay in the discussions when he visited Yasukuni Shrine to upset China and South Korea, the two major potential members of ASEAN +3.

After all US market is most important for Japan. China’s market is also large and has great potential, but ranks the second in Abe’s priority as after all Japan has geographical and cultural advantages over the US, Japan’s major competitor in Chinese market.

Abe’s promise to bring about Japanese economic growth was a major factor for his Party’s victory in Japan’s parliamentary election. He relies on TPP for expansion of market for Japanese products in order to honor his promise.

Without TPP, Abe has to seek expansion of market through ASEAN + 3. In order to make meaningful progress in the discussions for ASEAN +3, Abe wants Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to attend the Japan-South Korea-China summit for ASEAN +3 Japan will host later this year.

For that Abe has to curry favor with Chinese President Xi Jinping; therefore, SCMP says in its report “Xi Jinping, Abe meet briefly on Apec sidelines … but China and Japan give differing accounts of it”, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, Abe invited Xi to meet with him on APEC sidelines. However, in order to save face, “Yasuhisa Kawamura, a spokesman for Abe, said the two leaders ‘stepped a couple of paces towards each other’ after a group meeting of 21 leaders on Sunday morning, and that the meeting ‘was a natural movement’.”

SCMP says that Abe told Xi during the 10-minute meeting that he would like to seek overall improvement in Sino-Japanese ties. He expressed his desire to have Li visit Japan for the trilateral summit, but Xi gave no clear answer to that request.

Xi is not less shrewd than Abe. He took advantages of Abe’s anxiety to set his conditions by saying “It is important to settle outstanding issues properly and increase popular sentiment towards improving ties.”

Abe certainly understand that by outstanding issues, Xi meant the dispute over the Diaoyus and Japan’s support of US deployment of THAAD in South Korea while by popular sentiment, Xi meant that Abe should refrain form hurting Chinese peoples’ feeling in actions related to Japan’s war crimes in invading China such as visiting Yasukuni Shrine.

Obviously, Abe is playing into Xi’s hands now, but he cannot help that.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNN and SCMP’s reports, full text of which can respectively be found at http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/17/politics/abe-trump-japan-meeting/ and http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2047836/china-japans-leaders-meet-briefly-sidelines-apec-summit

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3 Comments on “Trump Hard to Deal with, Abe Urgently Wants Better Relations with China”

  1. EASTERN LOOKING GLASS says:

    LOWLIFE POLITICIANS VERSUS STATESMANSHIP

    Mr Shinzo “militant grandson of war criminal Kishi” Abe has shown his true colours. He is a wily dodgy politician with little noble values nor convictions. He will side with whom he thinks is a powerful school yard bully and willingly become his sidekick, betraying his other friends and colleagues. There are however, political consequences for such political play.

    Mr “untrustworthy” Abe unfortunately, placed his political bet on the wrong horse – that despised and detested U.S. (soon to be former) President Barak Obama. Now that that inept and criminal Obama with his legacies in tatters and his successor resounding rejected by the American people, he is basically a loser politician. And Mr “sidekick” Abe is in his camp, which basically makes him a political loser too.

    You play with fire, you get burnt by fire. In politics, once you choose the wrong camp, you are politically finished. Your political career is finished. Your selfish ambition in disconnect with the popular wishes of the people, means your leadrship” is in question. Moreover, in the cold hard world of politics, your enemies will be unforgiving. You betted on the wrong horse and camp; You tried to hitched on the “zero-sum” game with your “godfather” and you lost. Now you will be out in the political wilderness. In the old days, you would be dead, tortured, killed, hanged, incarcerated, confined to sanitatrium hospital for mentally illed patients, exiled to remote places like Siberia perhaps, maybe your entire family put to death and your name erased and expunged from every record.

    President Xi should play hard ball with such an inferior being. He should be cold and unforgiving to this scoundrel who many-a-time deliberately made him and the Chinese look bad .. just like low IQ American “leaders like Obama, Hillary, and George Bush. He was part of the crime also to isolate President Xi and China as part of schoolyard bully Obama’s gang.

    A leopard never changes its spots. Mr Xi would do well to have nothng to do with this inferior man whose political career is finished, much like Merkel and Hollande. Not even if he comes running to you to shake hands, much less, “each take a few steps towards each other”! Wait for a new Japanese Prime Minister before permitting positive steps in improving relations with Japan.

    Mr Hatoyama, the former Japanese Prime Minister, was and is a bigger and nobler man than Mr Shinzo “militant grandson of a war criminal” Abe. Have little to do with this political loser. He was on the wrong side of History.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve says:

    On 7 December, 1970, when German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, dropped on his knees to sincerely repent and begged forgiveness, the Chancellor portrayed the future of Germans, to move away from the past to the present, in order to make Germany normal again in foreign relations for the sake of human culture, dignity, diplomacy and never again to repeat such genocidal atrocities.

    My personal perspectives are, Japan and Japanese still holds the podium of unrepentant barbaric savagery in their WW11 genocidal atrocities against China.

    Clearly, Abe and his conmen are in damaged control and eager to seek better relations with China because of Trump’s opposition to TPP and Japan’s security.?? Will China release the ropes of leniency and forgiveness.? No, China will never be in the position to forgive and forget, but can let go if the Japan’s hierarchy can sincerely repent.

    Instead Abe has gained approval seeking to rewrite Japan’s pacifist constitution for militarisation.

    China should not be so lenient considering the problems Abe has stirred up in the SCS, ECS, the PCA arbitration, Diaoyu islands and supporting the US in FONOPs, Asian pivot to contain China and maritime dominance in surrounding China’s backyard. And now this Ape wants to seek better relations with China. President Xi has to be careful with these unrepentant Japanese
    savages because the lingering sore has Not being medicated.

    Liked by 1 person

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