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U.S. and Japan: “Closer and Closer”

Posted March. 20, 2005 22:19,   


“Praise for Japan and a warning for China”-

The Washington Post summed up the second George W. Bush administration’s Asia vision in the above sentence. Such sentiments were manifested by the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her first visit to Asia since her confirmation.

In particular, the newspaper conveyed that Secretary Rice displayed the U.S.’s new Asia policy of expanding Japan’s role as a world power in her invitation speech on March 19 at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

Saying that “the U.S. and Japan are ‘modernizing’ their alliance, not only in the region (Asia), but in the whole world,” Secretary Rice gave “common strategic objectives” that foreign and defense secretaries and ministers of the two countries declared as examples of this outlook. The objectives include the intention to expand Japan’s strategic role as a counterweight to China and all of Asia.

The Washington Post analyzed that Rice supported Japan’s advancement to permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council and made clear Japan’s role in the world because the U.S. administration regards Japan as a balancer against China.

In her speech, Rice pointed out, “The United States welcomes a confident, peaceful, and prospering China, but it should harmonize its capability with international responsibility.” She especially discussed China’s economic trade with authoritarian regimes like Sudan and Myanmar.

She also demanded that the Chinese regime democratize. “For China to respond to globalization and profit from it, it should ultimately accept representation and democracy.”

Although she said that the U.S.-Japanese alliance is not meant to antagonize China, she made it clear that it serves to exert influence over China’s actions. The Washington Post stated that U.S. administration officials unofficially commented about reforming the Chinese regime politically, but they have never warned China to align its society and political regime with the U.S.’s Asia policies on politics, economy, and security as mentioned in Rice’s remarks that day.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com