Abe’s ex­clu­sive ini­tia­tives are con­trary to the trend of times

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Views - The au­thor is China Daily Tokyo bureau chief. cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ja­pan plans to re­vive the quadrilateral se­cu­rity di­a­logue with the United States, Aus­tralia and In­dia to “han­dle” the re­gion ex­tend­ing from the Pa­cific to the In­dian Ocean. Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe is ex­pected to pro­pose the idea to vis­it­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump dur­ing their talks in Tokyo on Mon­day.

In an in­ter­view with Ja­pan’s Nikkei Shim­bun on Oct 26, Ja­panese For­eign Min­is­ter Taro Kono ex­plic­itly said China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive was the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the group­ing, which is sup­posed to “pro­mote free trade and de­fense co­op­er­a­tion across the land and sea to South­east, South and Cen­tral Asia, and be­yond to the Middle East and Africa”.

The four coun­tries’ se­cu­rity di­a­logue, a quasi-alliance known as “Quad”, had breathed briefly in 2007-08. Born out of what was termed the Tri­lat­eral Se­cu­rity Di­a­logue be­tween the US, Ja­pan and Aus­tralia in 2002, the Quad in­cor­po­rated In­dia in 2007 at Abe’s ini­tia­tive.

Dur­ing his brief ten­ure as Ja­pan’s prime min­is­ter in 2006-07, Abe was com­mit­ted to build­ing “an arc of free­dom of pros­per­ity” along the outer rim of Eura­sia. In fact, he even de­liv­ered a speech ti­tled the “Con­flu­ence of the Two Seas” in the sum­mer of 2007.

In an op-ed ar­ti­cle in the Project Syn­di­cate in De­cem­ber 2012, Abe called Ja­pan one of the old­est sea-far­ing democ­ra­cies in Asia, say­ing China is in­creas­ingly trans­form­ing the East China and South China seas into “Lake Bei­jing”. He called for cre­at­ing a “strate­gic di­a­mond” of Ja­pan, the US, Aus­tralia and In­dia to “safe­guard the mar­itime com­mons stretch­ing from the In­dian Ocean re­gion to the West­ern Pa­cific”.

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