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