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US-Japan moves dangerous for peace: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-01-23 19:50
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This handout picture taken and released by the Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office via Jiji Press shows Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) meeting with US President Joe Biden (L) during a virtual summit from prime minister's office in Tokyo on Jan 21, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

The first formal talks between United States President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday, via video link, highlighted their shared intention to meddle in what are clearly, unmistakably domestic affairs of China.

The two leaders devoted most of their 80-minute meeting to China-related topics, "including the East and South China Seas, Hong Kong, and the Xinjiang Uygur (autonomous region)", and Taiwan, Kishida revealed after the meeting.

According to Kishida, Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to the 1960 Japan-US security treaty and that it covers the Diaoyu Islands. This was backed up by the White House readout, which stated that Biden "resolutely affirmed that Article V of the Mutual Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands (as the islands are referred to in Japan), and affirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan, using its full range of capabilities".

Both the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Japan responded swiftly, condemning the "groundless attacks" on China and the "gross" interference in China's internal affairs. The Chinese embassy has lodged stern representations urging the two countries "to follow the trend of the times, abandon zero-sum games and beggar-thy-neighbor policies, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and stop drawing small circles based on ideology".

But the meeting did greater harm than poisoning the diplomatic ties of the moment between China and the two countries. It points to a more challenging security environment for which Beijing needs to be prepared.

Along with the multiple recent "2+2" meetings between chief diplomatic and security officials of Japan and the US, and other allies and partners, the Friday meeting exposed the increasing efforts by the US and its allies to exert pressure on China.

Describing their actions as a "push back" against what they claim are "predatory" acts of an "assertive" China who seeks to "change the status quo" in the East and South China Seas and across the Taiwan Straits, the two country's activities are destabilizing, disruptive and court a disastrous confrontation.

Japan is becoming an increasingly active participant in this "push back".

While the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue meeting it is to host will certainly not be China-friendly, a greater trouble may be Tokyo's proposal of an "economic version" of the present "2+2" mechanism. Since it will reportedly focus on supply chains, technology investment, standards setting and export controls, Beijing has every reason to worry it might be intended to be a roadblock for China's development.

With Japan aggressively beefing up its military might, including seeking to acquire preemptive strike capabilities, and the US attempting to drag more allies and partners into its pressure campaign against China, the two countries are creating greater uncertainties in the Asia-Pacific security situation.

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