And Prime Minister Abe just came, he gave a great speech. Folks are optimistic about the economy. The one part of the speech that people were really concerned about was Japan-China. And understandably. He’s criticizing the Chinese as being aggressive and militaristic. He compared Japan-China relations explicitly to relations between Germany and the U.K in 1914, where the economic relations were good but the security tensions, let’s say, were not so good. And we saw what happened there.Bremmer also implied that the PRC was taking advantage of a certain lack of American testicular fortitude on the China question:
I wouldn’t say that Abe was directly raising the specter of war, but he was saying that China is acting in a manner that’s unacceptable and Japan won’t tolerate it.
So clearly the Chinese want to engage with Americans in a serious way. There are a lot of reasons for that. The U.S. economy is picking up. But also they see a window here because all of the hawks on China are gone from the U.S. administration. Hillary’s gone, Kurt Campbell’s gone, Geithner much more focused on this region is gone, and Donilon’s gone. And so they see an opportunity with Biden effectively leading U.S.-China relations right now to build the U.S.-China relationship while really changing the rules on the ground with Japan.
U.S. officials have been careful to avoid provoking a China that appears increasingly willing to flex its newfound military muscle. Perhaps that's why Biden invoked his father's advice in warning on the eve of his Beijing visit that "the only conflict that is worse than one that is intended is one that is unintended." But an overemphasis on stability can be dangerous.
The point is simply that a country with the power of the USSR or China, unsatisfied with features of the existing order, motivated to do something to change it, and skeptical of the resolve of the United States, could well pursue a policy of coercion and brinkmanship, even under the shadow of nuclear weapons.
[T]he United States needs to inject a healthy degree of risk into Beijing's calculus, even as it searches for ways to cooperate with China. This does not mean abandoning engagement or trying to contain China, let alone fomenting conflict. But it does mean communicating that Beijing has less ability to control escalation than it seems to think. China must understand that attempts to roil the waters could result in precisely the kinds of costs and conflicts it seeks to avoid.
To make this work, the United States should pursue policies that actually elevate the risks -- political, economic, or otherwise -- to Beijing of acting assertively.
…[T]he U.S. military needs capabilities and plans that not only prepare it for major war, but that also offer plausible, concrete options for responding to Chinese attempts to exploit America's perceived aversion to instability. Leaders throughout Asia will be watching. Too much caution, especially if China is clearly the initiator, may be read as U.S. weakness, thereby perpetuating rather than diminishing China's incentives toward adventurism.
The United States can further raise the stakes by deepening its military ties with Japan…
The government has repeatedly said that what Abe wanted to convey is that a war between Japan and China is not possible because it would cause devastation not only to the two countries but to the world as a whole.“We will convey what the prime minister meant through diplomatic channels,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.When meeting with journalists Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Abe was asked whether a war between Japan and China is conceivable, and in response he compared the current tensions between the countries to the rivalry between Britain and Germany in the years before World War I.Abe called it a “similar situation,” according to the Financial Times and some other media.
By Friday morning, the government had briefed the BBC about Abe’s intention, a Foreign Ministry source said. The British public broadcaster was among the media outlets that were reporting intensely on the prime minister’s comments. Tokyo will also brief Reuters soon, the source said.Many media reports “left the impression that Abe had not denied (the possibility of) a military clash (between Japan and China) and this caused misapprehension,” a different government source said.
I might point out that the original Cheney recipe for Asia--endorsed by Abe in his first term in 2007--was a "diamond" of Japan, the United States, India, and Australia containing the PRC, so it looks like the geometry of Asian security is not exactly evolving in an Anglo direction, pivot notwithstanding.Japan and India, natural allies strategically located on opposite flanks of the continent, have a pivotal role to play in ensuring a regional power equilibrium and safeguarding vital sea lanes in the wider Indo-Pacific region -- an essential hub for global trade and energy supply.…The logic for strategic collaboration is no less compelling. If China, India and Japan constitute Asia's scalene triangle -- with China representing the longest Side A, India Side B, and Japan Side C -- the sum of B and C will always be greater than A. It is thus little surprise that Japan and India are seeking to add strategic bulk to their quickly deepening relationship.
Indeed, the world's most stable economic partnerships, such as the Atlantic community and the Japan-U.S. partnership, have been built on the bedrock of security collaboration. Economic ties lacking that strategic underpinning tend to be less stable and even volatile, as is apparent from China's economic relations with Japan, India, and the U.S.
The transformative India-Japan entente promises to positively shape Asia's power dynamics.
Indian Ambassador to the DPRK Ajay Kumar Sharma hosted a reception at the Taedonggang Diplomatic Club on Jan. 23 on the occasion of the Day of the Republic.Present there on invitation were Pak Ui Chun, minister of Foreign Affairs, Pak Kun Gwang, vice department director of the C.C., the Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Hyong Jun, Ri Myong San and Kim Hyong Hun, officials concerned and diplomatic envoys and representatives of international organizations here.Indian embassy officials were present there.Ajay Kumar Sharma made a speech there.He said that India would value and boost the traditional friendly ties with the DPRK, hoping that the country would prosper and make dynamic progress.He referred to the fact that the two countries, member nations of the Non-Aligned Movement, have common views on many international issues.He hoped that tensions would be defused and Korea be reunified peacefully through dialogue, adding that India would send every possible support for this.He said that the Indian people revere President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il, eternal leaders of the Korean people.Noting that Marshal Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of the Korean people, is paying deep attention to the development of the bilateral friendly relations, he expressed the belief that thanks to his wise leadership, the cause of building a thriving nation would be successfully accomplished.
Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, sent a message of greeting to Pranab Mukherjee, president of the Republic of India, on the occasion of the Day of the Republic on Jan. 25.Kim wished India steady development and prosperity, expressing the belief that the good friendly and cooperative relations with long-standing history and tradition between the two countries would grow stronger in various fields as required by the new times and desired by the people.
Respondents who opposed using the right to collective defense came to 53.8 percent and those who favored it came to 37.1 percent, the survey said. No margin of error was given.
Reflecting public wariness over nuclear power since the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, 60.2 percent said they oppose reactivating the dozens of reactors idled after the disaster and 31.6 percent said they favor it.
The public approval rating for Abe’s Cabinet, meanwhile, edged up 0.7 point to 55.9 percent from the previous survey in December, while its disapproval rate fell to 31.0 percent from 32.6 percent.
On the economy, the survey found that 73.0 percent of the respondents do not think the prime minister’s yen-weakening “Abenomics” program is producing an upturn, compared with 24.5 percent who think it is.
As for his ongoing call for Japanese companies to raise wages, 66.5 percent said it was infeasible and 27.8 percent said it was feasible.
Asked about the controversial secrecy law enacted last month that imposes stricter penalties on leakers and seekers of information that has been indiscriminately classified as state secrets, 74.8 percent said the law should be scrapped or revised by the Diet.
Regarding the first-stage hike in the sales tax in April to 8 percent from the 5 percent, 69.1 percent said they were considering curbing consumption, compared with 29.4 percent who said they will not refrain from spending.
As for the scheduled plan to finally double the tax rate to 10 percent in October 2015, 30.1 percent were in favor and 64.5 percent were opposed.
On the recent re-election of Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, who opposes the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Base Futenma to his city, 42.9 percent called for suspending the plan until the mayor gives approval, while 31.7 percent said the plan should go ahead as scheduled.