Trump Prefers Pitting Japan to Letting Japan Pit the US against ChinaPosted: February 11, 2017
Trump’s friendly phone call to Chinese President Xi Jinping hours before meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proves his talents in choosing the best timing in dealing with Japan and China.
As a shrewd businessman, Trump is very clear that Japan is the greatest beneficiary of Obama’s pivot to Asia as of all the countries in the world, Japan has the most earnest desire to contain China due to the war crimes it committed in China in the 1930s and 1940s. As the bitter memory of Japan’s invasion of China remains fresh in China, all Chinese people will support a war against Japan no matter how they love peace. Those who oppose the war will be regarded as traitors by most Chinese people.
Japan is lucky that Chinese leaders are wise. They want good relations with Japan and utterly oppose a war with Japan. However, if Japan provokes China, they will fight. Who knows what their successors will do! Containing China to stop its rise seems the best choice for Japanese leaders and people like Shinzo Abe whose grandparents have committed war crimes in China.
The US, however, helped China resist Japanese invasion. Chinese children are still fond of listening to stories about American pilots who volunteered to help China fight the Japanese in China’s war of resistance against Japan.
Trump knows well that the US is simply unable to contain China. Its military threat in the South China Sea has caused China to build large artificial islands as military bases to dominate the South China Sea. Containing China militarily has only given rise to an arms race with China that the US cannot afford.
Obama’s TPP aims at containing China economically, but will end up benefiting TPP members, especially Japan, at US expense.
Not only so, TPP helps Chinese President Xi Jinping overcome vested interests’ obstacles to his reform and will thus enable China to conform to TPP rules and join TPP.
Moreover, TPP’s stringent rules will push other countries, especially a rising India, closer to China economically as they want China’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to counter TPP.
Now, Trump’s phone call to Xi tells Abe that the US wants to be China’s friend instead of containing China. Containing China will certainly benefit the US as it facilitates US maintenance of its world leadership. However, it is now Japan’s turn to do the hopeless dirty job.
US-China friendship means better access to Chinese and US markets respectively by the US and China. To compete with China in US market, Abe has to make concessions. As an initial sweetener, Abe has promised to invest $150 billion in the US to create 300,000 jobs. That is much better than paying more for US expense in keeping its military in Japan.
Trump’s scrapping of Obama’s pivot to Asia has the effect of pitting Japan against China and will give rise to Japan’s arms race with China.
Trump also plans to improve US relations with Russia. If he can pit Russia against China, he will be able to subdue China by diplomacy, which according to China’s gifted strategist Sun Tzu, is better than subduing by fighting.
Article by Chan Kai Yee