Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Yasushi Tomiyama

【#558】U.S.-China Confrontation Likely to Last Long

Yasushi Tomiyama / 2018.11.28 (Wed)

November 26, 2018

     The United States, China, Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and other countries are rapidly moving. It is difficult to read the world situation. At a symposium of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals on “U.S.-China Clash and Japan’s Preparedness” on November 23, discussions on prospects for the international community lasted for more than three hours.
     At the annual meeting for JINF members, most of representative JINF panelists suggested that the U.S.-China confrontation may last long. This is because the U.S.-China confrontation has not been limited to a bilateral trade war but has been expanded into an all-out dispute over Chinese behaviors in political, economic, diplomatic and military fields. These panelists and JINF President Yoshiko Sakurai as coordinator at the symposium had vivid discussions on whether the U. S. would finally win in what seems to be a struggle for supremacy in the 21st century and whether China would be formidable.

Some concern about President Trump
     There is some concern about the Trump administration’s China policy. Quoting former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s statement that any country has no eternal enemies or friends, only national interests, JINF Vice President Tadae Takubo said: “I am somewhat concerned that President Trump could cut a deal with China for the reason of national interests someday.” The remark alerted other symposium participants.
     Senior fellow Hiroshi Yuasa foresees a “new cold war” following the U.S.-China confrontation. He recommended Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Fulton, Missouri, where former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared the advent of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War in his famed 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech, and emphasize freedom, democracy and the rule of law that are the values China cannot accept.
     Senior fellow Tsutomu Nishioka argued that East Asian communist countries have changed into totalitarian states based on anti-Japan or anti-U.S. nationalism rather than any communist ideology. The present situation differs from the past U.S.-Soviet Cold War in which totalitarian states such as China have adopted market economy principles and participated in the world economy, he said.

Japan is urgently required to amend its constitution
     While taking a hardline policy against China, the Trump administration has no hesitation in criticizing U.S. allies over trade imbalance or defense burden sharing. U.S. complaints over these matters have some reason. It may be natural for the U. S. to suspect that Japan as the world’s third largest economy would eternally depend on the United States for its national security. Symposium participants agreed that Japan should promptly amend its constitution while reaffirming the significance of its alliance with the U. S.
     To supplement the Japan-U.S. alliance, Japan should enhance collaboration with Australia, India and other Indo-Pacific countries that share values with Japan and the U. S. While initiatives to develop Japan-U.S.-Australia-India quadrilateral cooperation have been stalled since attracting attention with the four countries’ first senior officials meeting in 10 years last year, Japan should seek multi-layered collaboration including bilateral and trilateral cooperation among the four and multilateral cooperation involving Britain, France and other European countries.

Yasushi Tomiyama is a senior fellow and Planning Committee member at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals. He is a former foreign news editor and Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Jiji Press.