mandag 7. desember 2020

How Japan's Suga can build an alliance to counter China

If his recent diplomatic contacts are any indication, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is off to an auspicious start in managing Japan's two most important relationships: the U.S. and China.

Last month, Suga got a pleasant surprise when he spoke to Joe Biden, with the President-elect explicitly stating that the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu, fall under the protection of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. A few weeks later, Suga received China's foreign minister Wang Yi, who was there largely to consolidate the warm economic relationships between the two countries -- except for a prickly comment about the Senkakus at the end. Clearly, the U.S. and China both see Japan as a critically important player in their competition for Asia-Pacific hegemony.