US needs Japan to counter China's ascension: Report

·3-min read
US President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
US President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga

Tokyo [Japan], April 23 (ANI): US needs its allies, and most importantly Japan, to counter China's ascension, according to an article published in Nikkei Asia.

Kiyoteru Tsutsui, in an article in Nikkei Asia, wrote that "to counter China's ascension, the US needs its allies, and Japan is the most important partner for that purpose. This is the context in which Suga visited the White House despite all the COVID-related restrictions."

This comes after Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited the White House despite all the COVID-related restrictions in the country. The meeting between Joe Biden and Suga was their first face-to-face meeting since the US President took office in January.

"According to the US State Department Office of the Historian, this is only the second time ever that a Japanese Prime Minister became the first foreign leader to meet a new President in the White House.

"The other time was in 1989, when Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita visited President George H.W. Bush. Back then, Japan was a major threat to US economic hegemony."

In the article, Tsutsui wrote, "Today, China is that threat, and not just in the economic domain. China is the first bona fide competitor to the US since the Soviet Union, and its threat extends to every nook and cranny of the globe."

"Japan certainly wanted a reference to the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyu, and the applicability there of Article V of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security."

Tsutsui wrote that Biden has been quite tough on China and has given almost a perfect answer to what Japanese foreign policymakers wanted. "In return, the US wanted Japan to be squarely on Washington's side. The wording of the joint statement -- negotiated until the last minute -- saw Japan agree to include a reference to Taiwan for the first time in 52 years, but with Japan's preferred wording, encouraging "the peaceful resolution of the cross-Strait issues".

"To remain in the driver's seat in the new economy, the joint statement announced a new US-Japan Competitiveness and Resilience (CoRe) Partnership. The most concrete proposal was an initial commitment of $4.5 billion from the two governments toward fifth generation (5G) and 6G networks, reflecting concerns about China's dominance in the key digital infrastructure of the future," Tsutsui said.

The article stated that "human rights is another thorny issue, with the joint statement specifying concerns over Xinjiang and Hong Kong. With some companies joining the boycott campaign on cotton from Xinjiang, and China countering by criticising racial division in the US, the clash between China and the US will intensify in this area as well. Japan has stepped out of its comfort zone and criticised China on human rights, following the American approach more explicitly than before. In this regard, it is notable that Suga also referred to rising violence against Asians in the US".

"Japan more than reaffirmed its commitment to the alliance with the US, risking its economic relations with China. The US will be sure to ask for more concrete actions from Japan on the basis of the joint statement, and Japan can no longer evade questions about what it would do in a confrontation with China. Japan has to navigate a tough terrain of standing with the US in the competition with China while preventing the escalation of tensions between Beijing and Washington, and at the same time protecting its own national interests.

A new phase of the trilateral relationship has just begun, and like it or not, other Asian nations might face the same decision that Japan faced, and sooner rather than later," Tsutsui wrote. (ANI)