Sunday, January 22, 2017

Asian Nations Send Both Optimistic, Chilling Messages to Trump on Inauguration Day

(James HolbrooksAs Barack Obama left office on Friday, some Asian nations took the opportunity to voice their position on key issues as incoming U.S. President Donald Trump prepared to give his inaugural address.

SourceThe Antimedia

by James Holbrooks, January 20th, 2017

Japan, for instance, will seek to strengthen its alliance with the U.S. and work hand in hand with the Trump administration.

“The Japan-U.S. alliance has been, is and will be the cornerstone of our country’s diplomatic and security policies,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a speech before parliament. “This is an immutable principle.”
Going further, he stated: “I am aiming to visit the United States as soon as possible to further fortify the bond of alliance together with new President Trump.”
Many in Tokyo were concerned that Trump, as his comments have indicated, will begin demanding higher prices from other nations for security services provided by the U.S. Friday’s remarks from Prime Minister Abe seem to suggest Japan is willing to negotiate on this topic.
One significant barrier remains in the way of smooth U.S.-Japan relations, however, and that’s the two nations’ position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trump wants out of the trade agreement and Japan, as reiterated by Abe on Friday, fully supports it. Only time will tell if the U.S. and its formerly staunch Asian ally can truly cooperate on this front.
Meanwhile, Taiwan — a nation that’s having contentious relations with regional superpower China on the issue of sovereignty — made it known it seeks peaceful cooperation with China in the coming days.
From Reuters:
“Taiwan aspires to create a ‘new era’ of peace with China as military action cannot resolve problems, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in a letter to Pope Francis, lauding Taipei’s peaceful intentions at a time of tension with Beijing.”
The Vatican has always maintained diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and Tsai wrote the Pope, she says, because she aspires to “live up to [his] words” in her term as the first female president in her ethnic part of the world.
“I urge the governing party across the strait, along with the governing party in Taiwan, to set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue,” Tsai wrote.
Taiwan will not, however, back away from its desire to remain autonomous:
“Taiwan and mainland China were once embroiled in a zero-sum conflict that caused tension in the region and anxiety among our peoples. In contrast, today people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait enjoy stable lives and normal exchanges under peaceful separate governance.”
China also went on the record Friday by way of a state-run newspaper editorial, which struck a far more conciliatory tone than in previous articles.
The Global Times editorial called on incoming President Trump to “show a sense of responsibility that matches his power and clearly acknowledge the obligation of a US president for world peace and stability” and suggested a primary goal should be to make the U.S. ‘more prosperous and the world more peaceful and stable.’”
The editorial also noted Trump’s “strategic wisdom” and his “ambitious plan to revive the US economy in constructive ways.” Describing Trump’s team of advisers as a “solid foundation,” the piece suggested the incoming president’s administration should “project an aura of humility” as it works toward its goals.
All of this sounds great on the surface, but it doesn’t negate the fact that Trump has, thus far, proven himself to be devoutly anti-China or that the Southeast Asian nation has no intention of backing away from its One China policy — not to mention the fact that Japan, which has just voiced its desire to strengthen its alliance with the U.S., is currently locked in a South China Sea-style dispute with the superpower that could easily turn violent.
The Global Times was certain to make note of such possibilities and advised Trump and his team to “avoid the mistake of going too far.” And to avoid any misunderstandings, the editorial made clear precisely what it was referring to:
“‘America First’ can be a loud slogan, but it cannot serve as a real strategy. Intensifying conflicts with the outside world can hardly win the US any interests, and Trump should realize the value of cooperation.”

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