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Editorial: US-China Summit Should Focus on the “Threat from the North”



The first summit talks since the inauguration of the Trump administration will be held this week.


As China exerts increasing influence from all possible sides–economically, militarily, and beyond–how will the US define their relationship?


The future of the Asia-Pacific region and the international community are directly linked to the outcome of these talks. Mr. Trump’s skills will be seriously tested.


In these first talks, a clear warning is needed regarding China’s increasing incursions in the East and South China seas. We focus here on the extent to which the discussion tackles the response to North Korea.


The U.S. has clearly indicated that the prevailing policy regarding North Korea has been a failure. There is no time to deal with North Korea’s increasingly sophisticated nuclear and missile technology.


In an interview with the Financial Times, Trump said that if China won’t attempt to resolve the North Korea problem, then “we will.” Surely this means that the U.S. would not shy away from a unilateral approach.


Already, the Trump administration is considering the re-designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. There are also moves to apply additional sanctions against Chinese corporations.


China is sticking to its policy of dialog over confrontation. The question is, does China’s President Xi Jinping share the view that nuclear disarmament as a result of dialog is unrealistic? If so, to what extent does President Xi really believe this? Specifically, it is necessary to secure affirmation from Mr. Xi that the foundation of support for North Korea provided by Chinese financial institutions and businesses will be severed.


The U.S. has emphasized the availability of a “range of possible choices,” which includes a “new approach” consisting of the use of a preemptive strike as a defense against North Korea, as well as a regime change.


To China’s embarrassment, it has been unable to suppress North Korea’s provocations, despite its putatively strong influence over the Hermit Kingdom. Preventing further provocations would be in China’s own best interests. We can therefore anticipate in-depth discussions.


It goes without saying that, due to the influence of China in East and South China Seas, both Japan and the U.S. are confronting the backgrounds to their respective alliances.


Moreover, we want America to clearly indicate its intention to stand up to China’s ambition.


The Trump administration, aiming for correction of the trade imbalance, expansion of U.S. investments, and so forth, has made an issue of China’s currency manipulations. Although the weight of the economic problem is large, it is unacceptable to haggle at the expense of diplomacy and security in the East and South China seas.


We should not be drawn into the debate surrounding China’s calls for a “New Model of Major Country Relations”. For that is the very thing which will destroy the peace and stability of the region.



(Click here to read the original article in Japanese)


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