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Media: Japan, US differ in alliance expectations

By Cai Hong in Tokyo (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-08 07:25

Media: Japan, US differ in alliance expectations

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is escorted by China military personnel as he arrives at Qingdao International Airport on Monday. Hagel visited China's sole aircraft carrier the Liaoning. Alex Wong / Reuters


Newspaper says defense secretary's trip showcases support of Tokyo

Japanese media are calling the visit by US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to Tokyo over the weekend part of the US' "appeal" to its allies in Asia.

Hagel's trip to Tokyo that ended on Monday showcased the US' commitment to protect its East Asian ally and to highly value rebalancing the Asia-Pacific region, according to Asahi Shimbun.

The newspaper said Japan attempted to strengthen its alliance with the United States by expanding the role of its defense forces to confront China on territorial disputes.

The newspaper also reported that Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera asked Hagel to share notes from discussions he would have with Chinese officials about Japan. The Japanese defense minister reportedly did not want Japan to be left out of Hagel's talks with Chinese officials.

Their talks in Tokyo last week were the fourth meeting between the two.

Japanese pundits said that Hagel and Onodera are on the same page. But Hagel's stay in Tokyo could not hide how each nation has varying expectations about the alliance, a Kyodo News analysis said.

The Kyodo News reported that Hagel said the US welcomed Japan's efforts to be more proactive in the alliance, including re-examining the interpretation of its Constitution relating to the right of collective self-defense. The US also agreed to strengthen cooperation in defense equipment and technology after Japan eased its arms export ban last Tuesday.

But the paper also said that the US is also worried that Japan's recent moves will aggravate China and South Korea and worsen Japan's relations with its two immediate neighbors in East Asia.

In Japan, the word "welcome" is not as strong as the word "support". Though Hagel renewed the US' security commitment to Japan, the US does not want to get involved in a conflict between Japan and China, the Kyodo News analysis said.

caihong@chinadaily.com.cn

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