US may shoot itself in foot by conniving Japan
During his weeklong visit to theUnited States that started on April 25, Japanese PrimeMinister Shinzo Abe has made some economic and military breakthroughs inUS-Japan alliance. The two countries seek to implement the newguideline for their defense cooperation and expedite the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations.
The twosides announced the newguideline, the first revision since 1997, on April 26, which allows Japan to exercise collective self-defense and intensify regional and global cooperation with the aim of strengthening the US-Japan alliance. The newguideline is also expected to enhance their cooperation in BallisticMissile Defense systems, as well as space and cyberspace security.
The developments suggest Japan has successfully used theUS’ pivot to Asia strategy to eventually free itself of the restrictions on dispatching troops overseas. Because of the ColdWar mentality, theUS has even eased its “hold” on Japan.
But theUS should never forget the sufferings Japan caused it duringWorldWar II. By encouraging Japan to gradually challenge the postwar world order, theUS will ultimately end up shooting itself in the foot.
US Secretary of State John Kerry even claimed that the Diaoyu Islands are under the purviewof the new guideline. Such a statement can only mean theUS is going back on its words, because it had been reiterating time and again that it holds a neutral stance on the Diaoyu Islands dispute. The contradictory stance not only exposes theUS’ hypocrisy, but will also encourage Japan to heighten tensions in Asia.
As to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it plays a vital role in theUS’ Asia-Pacific strategy becauseWashington intends to make it a 12-nation trade block that excludes China.
Japan, of course, is eager to be a part of this TPP agreement, which, to keep China away, sets high entry standards so long as the deadlock in the bargain over agricultural products and automobiles with theUS can be broken.
Even if theUS and Japan reach an agreement on the outstanding issues, neither will find the result alleviating if China, the world’s second largest economy and the greatest boosting factor for regional prosperity, is excluded. As the April 26 editorial in Financial Times said, “Beijing should be encouraged to join as soon as feasible”, because the TPP is “a trade agreement, not a geopolitical one in disguise”.
Indeed, the current high entry standards for the TPP have made it difficult for China to join it. But that does not mean it will not give it another go. Seeing the TPP as a tool for containing it, Beijing did have doubts aboutWashington’s invitation at the beginning. But in recent years, a more confident Chinese government has even started implying that the countrymay participate in the TPP when the time is ripe.
The newUS-Japan defense guideline and the ongoing TPP negotiations show that many politicians in the West still see China’s rise as a grave danger to their countries. They even think China is trying to establish its own regional order. It is the ColdWar mentality that has nurtured the newUS-Japan defense guideline and distorted TPP negotiations.
China will not be worried if it cannot become a TPP member, because the “Belt and Road Initiatives” and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank it has proposed in order to promote a more inclusive regional economic integration have gained rapid traction. The author is a researcher at the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.