Will Japan Switch to China’s side Causing the US to Lose Entire Asia?Posted: June 10, 2017
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regards a rising China as Japan’s top threat; therefore, he is the greatest enthusiast in helping former US President Obama set up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and implement his pivot to Asia to contain China.
China’s construction of large artificial islands with three airstrips able to deploy more fighter jets than all US aircraft carriers makes the US unable to control the South China Sea. In addition, the US simply cannot win a war with China near China as China has deployed anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles and is establishing an anti-submarine network.
Like Philippine President Duterte, Abe has doubt now whether the US is able to defend Japan even if it has transferred 60% military to Asia according to Obama’s pivot to Asia.
Abe did not switch as he still hopes that he could rely on TPP to contain China and make Japanese economy grow to counter China’s economic influence in Asia.
TPP is so important to Abe that he rushed to the US twice shortly after Trump was elected and was inaugurated to try to persuade Trump not to withdraw from TPP but in vain.
On the contrary, to his great consternation in his meeting with Trump, he was told that Trump had been successfully in the process of improving US ties with China. That is Abe’s nightmare as instead of being Japan’s ally in containing China, Trump is turning the US into Japan’s fierce competitor in China’s huge market.
What shall Abe do? Shall he switch to Chinese side like Duterte has done?
Militarily, Trump has promised Abe that the US will perform its obligations to protect Japan. Abe is in a much better position than Duterte who has no hope for US military support in his conflict with China.
However, economy is more important for Abe. If he fails to improve Japan’s economy as he has promised, there is no hope for him and his party to remain in power in Japan. Therefore, whatever the cost, even humiliation, he has to improve economic ties with China.
That is why Reuters begins its report “Tokyo trip may be in the cards for Xi Jinping, sources say” by saying, “Japan is mulling asking China’s president to visit in the latter half of next year, government insiders say”.
In addition, Reuters says, “To lay the groundwork for the trip, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was likely to visit China in the first half of next year, the sources told Kyodo News.”
However, it is now but Abe’s wishful thinking as China has said nothing about the exchange of visit.
This blogger believes that China will improve economic ties with Japan as both China and Japan will be benefited.
Moreover, China will certainly be in a better position in dealing with both the US and Japan if it draws the two countries into fierce competition in Chinese market.
If the economic benefits in Japan’s ties with China keep on growing while Trump’s protectionism causes Japan’s share in its important US market to keep on shrinking, there is chance for Japan’s switch to China’s side, causing the US to lose entire Asia.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2097786/tokyo-trip-may-be-cards-xi-jinping-sources-say.