What Obama Should Say About China in Japan

What Obama Should Say About China in Japan

A ChinaFile Conversation

On Wednesday, Barack Obama will land in Tokyo beginning a week-long trip to four of China's neighbors—but not to China itself.

In Obama’s stops in Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, and Kuala Lampur, the specter of China will loom large. This will be especially pronounced in Tokyo, where the big unanswered question is how involved the United States would be if China seized the Diaoyu, the disputed islands administered by Japan, which calls them the Senkakus. We asked contributors what President Obama should say about China in Tokyo. —The Editors


Yuki Tatsumi

Yuki Tatsumi was appointed Senior Associate of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center in September 2008 after serving as a research fellow since 2004. Before joining Stimson, Tatsumi worked as a research associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and as the Special Assistant for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington.Tatsumi has authored and edited numerous books and reports on Japanese foreign and security policy, including the most recently published "Japan's Challenges in East Asia: View from Next Generation" (Stimson Center, 2014), "Opportunity out of Necessity: The Impact of US Defense Budget Cut on the US-Japan Alliance" (Stimson Center, 2013) and "Japan's National Security Policy Infrastructure: Can Tokyo Meets Washington's Expectation?" (Stimson Center, 2008). She is a recipient of the 2009 Yasuhiro Nakasone Incentive Award.In 2012, she was awarded the Letter of Appreciation from the Ministry of National Policy of Japan for her contribution in advancing mutual understanding between the United States and Japan. A native of Tokyo, Tatsumi holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan and an M.A. in International Economics and Asian Studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.

During his visit to Tokyo later this week, President Obama needs to strike a careful balance. His message in Tokyo needs to be two-fold: he needs to reassure Japan, but he also needs to encourage Japan to look for any opening for high-level diplomatic engagement with China.

First and foremost, Obama needs to reassure Japan of U.S.’ defense commitment.There has been rising concern in Japan about whether the U.S. can be relied upon to come to Japan’s defense should the situation grow more aggravated, particularly around the Senkaku Islands area. The U.S. response to allegations of Syrian use of chemical weapons last year and Russia’s aggressive behavior in Crimea make many in Japan seriously concerned about U.S. capacity and willingness to act decisively were a similar situation to occur in the East China Sea. Furthermore, many in Japan have expressed concern about what the Obama administration has in mind for “operationalizing a new model of major power relations.” Obama must articulate in Japan that the U.S. anchors its Asia policy in regional alliances, and the U.S.-Japan alliance is among such critical anchors.

At the same time, however, Obama also has to encourage Tokyo to stabilize its relationship with Beijing. This, however, is often easier said than done. In that context, he needs to make it clear (in private, as nobody, including Japanese people, wants to see their leader being lectured by a U.S. President in public) that, while Washington appreciates Japan’s grievances over Chinese behavior, it should refrain from demonizing China. In private, he also has to communicate that Japan should strictly refrain from the behaviors that give China excuse to blame Japan for Beijing’s own aggressive rhetoric and behavior, such as the recent seizure of Japanese commercial vessels “as a part of wartime reparation.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has consistently said that the window of dialogue is always open for China. Obama should encourage Abe to continue to pursue policy that reflects this statement, thereby putting the onus on China to take the next step.

Overall, the most important message that Obama has to deliver in Japan is that, while differences may exist in approaches to specific policy issues, the United States and Japan share an interest in welcoming and encouraging constructive behavior from China that respects established international rules and norms, and that they stand united against any behavior to destabilize the status quo by force.

Ely Ratner

Ely Ratner is Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He is the author most recently of “Resident Power: Building a Politically Sustainable U.S. Military Presence in Southeast Asia and Australia” (Center for a New American Security, 2013). Prior to joining CNAS, he served on the China Desk at the State Department as the lead political officer covering China’s external relations in Asia. He has also worked as an Associate Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation and as a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His commentary and research have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Quarterly, The National Interest, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, and Chinese Journal of International Politics, among others. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

President Obama will visit four countries on China’s periphery this week, three of which (Japan, South Korea and the Philippines) are treaty allies and one (Malaysia) that is an emerging security partner. Look for Obama to emphasize, including in Tokyo, that the United States seeks positive and stable relations with Beijing and encourages countries throughout the region to do the same.

Further messages in Japan will echo three principal themes of the trip—that the U.S. rebalance to Asia is real, that the policy is multifaceted (i.e. not primarily concerned with security issues), and that U.S. alliances and partnerships provide important platforms for regional and global cooperation.

On security issues in particular, I’ll be looking carefully to see how the president addresses three specific issues. First, will Obama say explicitly that Article V of the U.S.-Japan defense treaty covers the Senkaku Islands? High-level U.S. officials have repeated this talking point in recent years, but it will have special meaning coming directly from the president himself.

Second, will the President single out China for engaging in uniquely provocative and destabilizing actions? Many observers thought National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s remarks at Georgetown University in November—especially during the brief question and answer period at the end—missed the mark in this regard by appearing to draw equivalence between the actions of Japan and China.

And third, will the president voice strong support for Japanese constitutional reinterpretation on the issue of collective self-defense? My hope (and expectation) is that the answers to all three questions will an unambiguous “yes.”

But the most powerful message Obama will send to Beijing during his time in Tokyo won’t actually have anything to do with China at all. Instead, it will be about the role of Japan as a responsible, generous and positive contributor to regional and international issues. On that score, Obama will highlight U.S.-Japan cooperation in Southeast Asia; U.S.-Japan trilateral cooperation with India, Australia and South Korea; and the two countries’ collaboration on global issues, including climate, Syria, Ukraine, Iran and Afghanistan.

Quite distinct from the territorial row in the East China Sea, it is the many values and interests that the United States and Japan share in Asia and the world that will speak volumes to and draw distinctions with China.

Dan Blumenthal

Dan Blumenthal is the Director of Asian Studies at AEI, where he focuses on East Asian security issues and Sino-American relations. He is also the John A. van Beuren Chair Distinguished Visiting Professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He has both served in and advised the U.S. government on China issues for over a decade. From 2001 to 2004, he served as Senior Director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia at the Department of Defense. Additionally, he served as a commissioner on the congressionally mandated U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission from 2006 to 2012 and held the position of Vice Chairman in 2007. He has also served on the Academic Advisory Board of the congressional U.S.-China Working Group. Blumenthal is the co-author of An Awkward Embrace: The United States and China in the 21st Century (AEI Press, 2012) and regularly writes op-eds for The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and The Weekly Standard, among others.

President Obama is headed to a nervous Tokyo that needs clear signs of U.S. endurance and credibility. He should abandon the term “pivot,” which is causing more angst and confusion than reassurance and clarity.

The “pivot” now appears ill-conceived for three reasons. The first is a mistake of strategic conception. Yes, Asia is of emerging consequence in world affairs: all post-Cold War presidents have recognized this. And, China has had the potential to pose the greatest challenge to the United States since it became the prime actor in world affairs. Without a doubt, Asia needs more American attention and resources. But the U.S. is a global superpower with vital interests in several, interlinked, regions. There can be no Asia policy without a global strategy. For example, Japan gets most of its energy from the Middle East where Washington has played a stabilizing role. And what about India? How will Delhi play the role we imagine for it in Asia if we mishandle Afghanistan? Furthermore, all Asian powers watch Washington’s handling of the other revisionist states – Russia and Iran— for clues about its fortitude in Asia. U.S. grand strategy must account for these facts.

The second mistake is one of implementation. It is not possible for Washington to play a consequential role in Asia while drastically cutting its defense budget, and demonstrating an uneven commitment to the Trans Pacific Partnership. A U.S. military second to none is the sin qua non of stability in Asia. The TPP is the gold standard of multilateral trade agreements, integrating Washington more deeply into Asia. But many countries have spent political capital on the TPP and worry that Washington is not doing the same. Tokyo needs to see the President build support for the pact in the United States.

Finally, no one believes that the pivot is “not about China.” Why keep up the charade? It has gained the U.S. nothing in Beijing, where Chinese policymakers view it with hostility. The U.S. China strategy should be what it has been for two decades, built upon the dual pillars of engaging China while balancing its power.

Instead of reaching for a new strategic masterstroke, the President should settle for something more mundane: building on the Asia work of his predecessors. If a slogan is needed how about an old one: “speak softly and carry a big stick?”

Shogo Suzuki

Shogo Suzuki is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Politics at the University of Manchester. He has published on Chinese and Japanese foreign policy, as well as Sino-Japanese relations and International Relations theory with reference to East Asia. His most recent book is International Orders in the Early Modern World: Before the Rise of the West (Routledge, 2014) (edited with Yongjin Zhang and Joel Quirk).

First and foremost, Obama needs to reassure the Japanese about America’s commitment to the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, and more specifically its commitment to protecting the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands alongside the Japanese, should the Chinese side attempt to seize the islands. There have been reports that the U.S. response to Ukraine has caused disquiet in Tokyo about Washington’s ability to stand up to powerful states. I do not believe that Japan can be equated with Ukraine (the latter is not a key ally and a linchpin in U.S. strategy in Europe, like Japan is in Asia), and neither do the Japanese seriously think that Obama’s stance towards Kiev is comparable to his Japan policy. Nevertheless, the fact that such reports got out probably means that the Japanese are sending a signal—they want a much firmer stance towards China from the US.

My (admittedly unrealistic) ‘wish list’ would also include that the Obama administration abandons the U.S.’s official stance of “not taking sides” towards the territoriality of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. It is the U.S. that handed over the islands to the Japanese in 1972, so in a way it de facto recognized the islands as belonging to Japan. Washington has thus played a key role in this dispute, and claiming that it “takes no sides” while simultaneously stating that the islands fall under the remit of the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance is deeply unhelpful. It could embolden (and perhaps already has) the Chinese to adopt aggressive tactics towards the Japanese in this dispute. It also serves to ensure that Japanese anxieties with regard to the U.S.’s commitment to the Alliance will continue to fester. If Japanese anxieties are not placated, Japan could seek to enhance its military capabilities further, and lead to an arms race in the region.

Alliances are built on the delicate balancing between the dynamics of ‘abandonment (i.e. fear that my ally would not support me in a time of need)’ and ‘entrapment (fear that my ally would drag me into an unnecessary war)’, and needs constant maintenance. Obama is understandably in a difficult position, as he has to navigate between these two factors. It is perfectly understandable that he does not want to see America pulled into a military standoff with China because of Japan’s disputes with the Chinese. Yet, at some point, he must make his stance clearer: does the US want to reach some sort of entente with China, even if that means sacrificing Japan and its interests? Or would Obama like to maintain US military supremacy in the region, with the help of its regional allies, including Japan? If Obama does not wish to see China, an authoritarian, one-party state, becoming the regional hegemon in the Asia-Pacific, then he should know which policy he has to ultimately choose.

Edward N. Luttwak

Edward Luttwak is a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies of Washington. He has served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, and a number of allied governments as well as international corporations and financial institutions. He is a frequent lecturer at universities and military colleges in the United States and abroad and has testified before several congressional committees and presidential commissions. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bath (United Kingdom).Luttwak is the author of numerous articles and several books, including The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (John Hopkins, 1976–2005); Turbo-Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy (HarperCollins, 1999); The Endangered American Dream (Simon & Schuster, 1993); and Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook (Harvard, 1985), which has been published in fourteen languages. His new edition of Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace (Harvard, 2001) has been published in Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Estonian, and Turkish as well as English editions. Luttwak serves on the editorial board of the Washington Quarterly and Geopolitique (Paris). He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and he speaks French, Italian, and Spanish, among other languages.

Once President Obama has finished reminding Mr. Abe that the U.S. commitment to defend all the territories administered by Japan is unlimited and unconditional, he can next assure  Mr. Abe that China's post-2008 excursion into noisy navalism and would-be expansionism must end in a debacle—the alternative would be too catastrophic even for a reckless leadership. But in the meantime, China's words and deeds are generating a real threat that in turn propels a process of coalescence from India to Japan, in which Japan must shoulder an unequal burden by paying for strategic roads in India, submarines in Vietnam and the building of real military forces for the Philippines, whose ports Japanese warships should start visiting on a regular basis. After reminding Mr. Abe that China is 70% good, 30% bad as well as a great market for all—both Toyota and Nissan are working hard to recover their market share which declined from 20% to 16%  after the 2010 incidents—Mr. Obama can insist on the importance of reinforcing good China by firmly resisting bad China. Finally Mr. Obama should clearly declare that Japan must accept the discipline imposed by its strategic predicament; it cannot afford to lose support for itself and thus for the entire coalition because of the absurdly unhistorical Yasukuni museum (the ashes can stay there) and because of Antarctic  whaling that is an important problem for the splendidly  supportive Australian ally. Now that China's conduct has forced Japan to become an independent strategic actor again, it pays full price for whatever is sub-optimal in its conduct, and at least those two irritants must be eliminated. Not to do so would mean that Japan does not accept the discipline of strategy, that it is not a serious power.

June Teufel Dreyer

June Teufel Dreyer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, where she teaches courses on China, U.S. defense policy, and international relations. She has also lectured to and taught a course for National Security Agency analysts.Formerly Senior Far East Specialist at the Library of Congress, she has also served as an Asia policy advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and as Commissioner of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission established by the U.S. Congress. Dreyer’s most recent book is China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition, ninth edition (Pearson, 2014). A partially-completed manuscript on Sino-Japanese relations is under contract from Oxford University Press. Dreyer received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard, and has lived in China and Japan and paid several visits to Taiwan. She has published widely on the Chinese military, Asian-Pacific security issues, China-Taiwan relations, Sino-Japanese relations, ethnic minorities in China, and Chinese foreign policy.

I am assuming that this conversation will occur in private.

First, avoid the ringing clichés. We already know that all sides are, at least in the abstract, in favor of stable relations, peace and stability in Asia and the world, and cooperation for the good of all. The issues are how to achieve these given the obstacles that impede reaching those goals.

Second, what the Japanese government needs are clear statements of what the United States would do and under what circumstances. When a PACOM admiral says that he sees climate change as the worst threat to Asian stability, that sets, as Mike Green put it, alarm bells ringing in Tokyo. Although Japan is not the Philippines, similar concerns ensued when CNO Greenert said in Manila that “of course” the U.S. would help the Philippines ”I don’t know in what that help would be specifically. I mean, we have an obligation because we have a treaty. But I don’t know in what capacity that help is.”

Strategic ambiguity is good up to a point. The operative clause of the NATO treaty is that an attack of one member is to be considered an attack on all. The US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty, by contrast, says

In the event of an armed attack against these islands, the United States Government will consult at once with the Government of Japan and intends to take the necessary measures for the defense of these islands leaving far more room for ambiguity. So when U.S. spokespersons affirm that the U.S. will live up to its treaty obligations, the Japanese are not sure how this would be operationalized. Moreover, what has been happening is not an armed Chinese attack but what seems to be a gradual osmosis. The United States warns both sides against provocative actions and in general the Japanese coast guard warns Chinese coast guard ships and fishing boats against intrusion but does little else. Wisely, the GoJ fears that a more forceful reaction would provide Beijing with what it would term a provocation to which it would be “forced” to respond. In other words, the Japanese lose if they do not respond and lose if they do.

The Japanese side needs to know in a more scenario-specific way what the US is or is not prepared to do.

Third, Obama should urge Abe to move forward in creating a consensus that Japan must be able to defend itself. That he understands why visits to Yasukuni Shrine have symbolic importance. But priority must be given to the larger issue. Abe is not, of course, the obstacle: he believes that Japan must be an “ordinary country,” futsu no kuni, with a real military. Yet half the population opposes alternations to article 9 of the constitution. And the China School in the gaimusho seems bent on accommodating to China’s wishes. Both need to be dealt with; doing the latter might be easier than doing the former. Abe should expect opposition from China, and must counter it with repeated references to (a) the size of China’s defense budget at anti-Japanese statements by many high-ranking PLA officers (b) the Pancha Shila, which rejects interference by one foreign country in the affairs of another.

Finally, Japan must either decide to accommodate to China—for example, agree to surrender the islands and forswear visits to Yasukuni—or learn to say no to China. But it would help Japan to reach a decision on which if the US made clear how far it is willing to support Japan.

Jerome A. Cohen

Jerome A. Cohen, a professor at New York University School of Law since 1990 and co-director of its U.S.-Asia Law Institute, is a leading American expert on Chinese law and government. A pioneer in the field, Professor Cohen began studying China’s legal system in the early 1960s and from 1964 to 1979 introduced the teaching of Asian law into the curriculum of Harvard Law School, where he served as Jeremiah Smith Professor, Associate Dean, and Director of East Asian Legal Studies. In addition to his responsibilities at NYU, Professor Cohen served for several years as C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he currently is an Adjunct Senior Fellow. He retired from the partnership of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP at the end of 2000 after twenty years of law practice focused on China. In his law practice, Professor Cohen represented many companies and individuals in contract negotiations as well as in dispute resolution in China. He continues to serve as an arbitrator and expert witness in disputes relating to China and to Chinese in the United States.Professor Cohen has published several books on Chinese law, including The Criminal Process in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-63 (Harvard University Press, 1968), People’s China and International Law (Princeton University Press, 1974) and Contract Laws of the People’s Republic of China (Longman Group, 1988). In addition, he has published hundreds of scholarly articles on various topics as well as a book, China Today and Her Ancient Treasures (Henry N. Abrams, 1975), co-authored with his wife, Joan Lebold Cohen, and a regular series of journalistic opinion pieces for various newspapers. In 1990, he published Investment Law and Practice in Vietnam. He continues his research and writing on Asian law, specifically focusing on legal institutions, criminal justice reform, dispute resolution, human rights, and the role of international law.Outside academia, Professor Cohen has served in government, first as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. from 1958 to 1959 and then as a full-time consultant to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1959. He has also testified at many congressional hearings on China.Professor Cohen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale College (B.A. 1951). He spent the academic year 1951-1952 as a Fulbright Scholar in France and graduated, in 1955, from Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. He was Law Secretary to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court in the 1955 Term and Law Secretary to Justice Felix Frankfurter of the Supreme Court in the 1956 Term.

I like the way this discussion has started but it, like other recent discussions of the problem, neglects one important possibility—a resort to the resources of international legal institutions for resolving the current disputes. Chairman Mao admonished us to "walk on two legs." Rebalancing is indeed desirable, including reconfirmation of American security commitments. Yet that alone will only increase the likelihood of an arms race and the risks of military clashes. All around the periphery of China nations should follow the Philippine example of seeking to test China's claims and their own before an impartial international tribunal, and the U.S. should be openly encouraging them to do so, despite its own mixed record in dealing with international law.

Japan cannot long sustain its increasingly ridiculous position that there is no "dispute" over the Senkaku/Diaoyu. This makes hollow Japan's repeated statements about being willing to improve relations with China. Just before Abe's ascent, Japan's then Foreign Minister Gemba showed the way by publishing an op ed in the International Herald Tribune calling upon China to test this territorial claim before an impartial tribunal by launching a suit against Japan before the International Court of Justice. This was not some wild-eyed shot in the dark by a grandstanding politician about to leave office but had the support of sober legal officials in the Gaimusho (Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Unfortunately the Abe administration has not endorsed this proposal. But it should.

Japan, following the Philippine example, should also initiate an arbitration case against China in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea challenging the "9-Dash Line," which is of major interest to Japan, the U.S, and other states that want to maximize freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. The U.S. should publicly encourage all interested states that have serious claims against China under public international law to creatively take advantage of opportunities offered by the vast experience and considerable successes of international legal institutions, which have proved far more flexible and imaginative than most diplomats realize.

Sometimes such efforts manage to conclude territorial disputes. Sometimes they stimulate a negotiation process between the parties that had previously remained moribund. At a minimum they get states focused on giving greater weight to acting in accord with international norms instead of relying on weapons, bluster and nationalistic politics. China's new leaders should be bombarded with serious legal claims that make them think more deeply about international law.

The PRC has shown itself capable of adjusting its international law conduct and attitudes in the past. Having initially shown no interest in placing an expert on the International Court of Justice after its entry into the UN, in recent decades it has always posted very able specialists to join judges nominated by other countries. China has also adapted to the dispute resolution processes of the WTO in impressive fashion. The recent PRC decision to reject the Philippine arbitration instead of fulfilling its United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) obligation to test its claim of no UNCLOS jurisdiction before the designated tribunal was deeply disappointing to many of us who hope to see international law become a prominent part of the new type of diplomacy China says it seeks. That decision also disappointed many specialists in China, including some experts within its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and remains controversial and perhaps subject to eventual reconsideration.

Japan and the U.S. in any event have little to lose if China shuns any new international law dispute resolution initiatives, since the world will see the effort as enhancing their "soft power."

Wu Jianmin

Ambassador Wu Jianmin is currently Executive Vice Chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, a Senior Research Fellow of the Counselors’ office of the State Council of China, a Member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, a Member and Vice President of the European Academy of Sciences, and Honorary President of the International Bureau of Exhibitions (BIE).From 2003 to 2008, Wu served as President of China Foreign Affairs University, Executive Vice President of the China National Association for International Studies, Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Spokesman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He served as China’s Ambassador to France from 1998 to 2003, from 1996 to 1998 as Ambassador of China to the UN in Geneva, and as Ambassador of China to the Netherlands from 1994 to 1995. Before that, he was Director General of the Information Department and Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Deputy Chief at China’s embassy in Belgium and its mission to the European Community in Brussels, and Counselor at China’s mission to the United Nations in New York.From 2003 to 2007, Ambassador Wu served as President of the International Bureau of Expositions (BIE), making him the first Asian to take up the post. He graduated from the Department of French at Beijing Foreign Studies University and from 1965 to 1971 interpreted for Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai. In 1971, he became a member of China's first delegation to the United Nations. He was awarded by French President Jacques Chirac the honor of Grand Officier of la Légion d’Honneur in 2003.

As a Chinese, I expect President Obama to say:

1. I had a very successful meeting with President Xi Jinping last June in Sunnylands, California. The U.S.-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. I welcome the peaceful rise of China. President Xi and myself have agreed to build a new model of big power relationship. This is a historical agreement. We are determined to avoid past confrontation and conflict between rising power and established power. This is good news not only for our two countries but also for Asia and rest of the world.

2. East Asia remains the global growth center. The whole world needs Asia's growth to overcome the consequences of the financial crisis, to stimulate growth and to create jobs. We have to do our best to maintain East Asia as global growth center.

3. China and Japan are two important countries. I hope they will resolve their territorial disputes through peaceful means. Peace, stability and détente in East Asia are in the best interest of the world's peace and prosperity. 

4. In the Second World War, Japanese militarists brought untold sorrow and devastation not only to China, Korea and other Asia countries, but also to America. We all remember Pearl Harbor. This war left deep wounds. On the Japanese side, one should refrain from doing anything which may reopen these wounds. I strongly recommend you to stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine. Any act of denial and defiance would be highly undesirable.

Edward Friedman

Edward Friedman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has worked in rural China, co-authoring Chinese Village, Socialist State (Yale University Press, 1993) and Revolution, Resistance, and Reform in Village China (Yale University Press, 2007) and serving as the major editor condensing and re-organizing Yang Jisheng's great study of the Leap era famine Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) for an English-reading public. He also studies Chinese foreign policy, having done work for the United States Government off and on starting in 1965.

There is no way the POTUS can assure the Government of Japan that the US can be relied on to come to Japan's aid should the CCP government use force against Japanese-administered territory. There is no way the POTUS can assure CCP ruling groups that America's re-balance toward the Indo-Pacific is not about constraining China. Why?

The international system is an amoral, self-help world. People in power in Tokyo today, as in Paris during the Cold War, can never fully persuade themselves that another government will spill blood and treasure on their behalf. Today, they may say that US military inaction in Syria and the Crimea shows the US can not be counted on. But should the US have committed itself militarily in Syria and Crimea, Tokyo would say that the US balance to Asia is unreliable since its interventions elsewhere show the US is not focused on the Indo-Pacific. Tokyo therefore will feel it has to do more to defend itself and to make the US more likely to fulfill its commitments to Japan should worse come to worst. This is natural.

Similarly, the CCP presumes that the goals of the USG include constraining China from becoming the dominant power in Asia and undermining the CCP which is the force promoting Chinese predominance. There is nothing the USG can do to change this CCP mindset which under-girds CCP power and policy.

Yet it is a fact that the POTUS imagines himself as America's first Pacific president and has from early on wanted to get the US out of the quagmires of a so-called war on terror and focus US attention more on the region which has been the fastest growing since the end of WW II. The US wants to avoid a China-Japan war. But it cannot stop the expansionist forces which surge inside of Chinese politics.

The task of the POTUS is not easy.

Yuki Tatsumi was appointed Senior Associate of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center in September 2008 after serving as a research fellow since 2004. Before joining Stimson, Tatsumi worked as a...
Ely Ratner is Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He is the author most recently of “Resident Power: Building a...
Dan Blumenthal is the Director of Asian Studies at AEI, where he focuses on East Asian security issues and Sino-American relations. He is also the John A. van Beuren Chair Distinguished Visiting...
Shogo Suzuki is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Politics at the University of Manchester. He has published on Chinese and Japanese foreign policy, as well as Sino-Japanese...
Edward Luttwak is a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies of Washington. He has served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National...
June Teufel Dreyer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, where she teaches courses on China, U.S. defense policy, and international relations. She has...
Jerome A. Cohen, a professor at New York University School of Law since 1990 and co-director of its U.S.-Asia Law Institute, is a leading American expert on Chinese law and government. A pioneer in...
Ambassador Wu Jianmin is currently Executive Vice Chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, a Senior Research Fellow of the Counselors’ office of the State Council of China...
Edward Friedman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has worked in rural China, co-authoring Chinese Village, Socialist State (Yale...





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Advice for Xi Jinping

Nathan Gardels, Daniel H. Rosen, Melanie Hart
Later this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Washington for a state visit with President Obama. This week, a group of China experts from America traveled to Beijing to offer their advice to Chinese officials on how to conduct the...



What Is China’s Big Parade All About?

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Richard Bernstein, John Delury, M. Taylor Fravel, Hans van de Ven, Rana Mitter
On September 3, China will mark the 70th anniversary of its World War II victory over Japan with a massive parade involving thousands of Chinese troops and an arsenal of tanks, planes, and missiles in a tightly choreographed march across Tiananmen...



Is the Bloom Off the Rose of China’s Economic Miracle?

Arthur R. Kroeber, David Schlesinger, Fred Hu, Derek Scissors
On Monday, August 24, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 8.5 percent, its second such steep fall since late July, and its worst since 2007. On Tuesday, stocks fell an additional 7.6 percent. The steep slide translates into more than $4 trillion in...



The Tianjin Explosion

Thomas Kellogg, Kevin Slaten, Maria Repnikova
Late in the evening on August 12, a massive chemical explosion shook the city of Tianjin. Days later, the death toll stands at 114 people, though that number is expected to rise as more of the dead are pulled from the rubble. Many of those killed...



How Should the U.S. Conduct the Xi Jinping State Visit?

Evan A. Feigenbaum, Arthur Waldron, Orville Schell, Robert Kapp, Peter Dutton, Perry Link, Sophie Richardson
As tensions increase between China and the United States over the value of the yuan, human rights violations, alleged cyber attacks, and disputed maritime territories, among other issues, how should the Obama administration conduct the upcoming...