PM Suga of Japan to visit Vietnam and Indonesia: Anti-China hawks need silencing

PM Suga of Japan to visit Vietnam and Indonesia: Anti-China hawks need silencing

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga claims to want to preserve the mantle of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe. Yet, some individuals in his Cabinet appear more hawkish towards China and the Russian Federation. Therefore, if Suga wants to preserve continuity, he must not allow nationalist sentiments but lead from the front.

Suga will make his first trip abroad to Vietnam and Indonesia respectively. Ironically, Vietnam, like China, is ruled by a communist one-party state. However, some hawks within the government – and the media – are hinting at the real purpose of Suga’s visit being aimed at China.

This is extremely shortsighted and clearly isn’t warranted because Japan can’t escape Northeast Asia. In other words, China and the Russian Federation share the same geopolitical space, and both nations – just like South Korea and Tawan – have territorial issues with Japan.

Also, the next election in America may lead to a changed policy that is less antagonistic toward China. Thus, certain Cabinet members who seek a more anti-China and anti-Russian Federation approach could soon be out of step with changes in Washington.

More important, if Japan pushes China too much then issues about patrol boats in the environ of the Senkaku Islands will increase to a higher level. This is at a time when major economies are struggling with the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. However, ironically, China appears to be dealing with the coronavirus crisis much better than most nations in the realm of economics and containment.

Reuters reports, “Japan’s new leader will aim to beef up security ties when he visits Vietnam and Indonesia next week amid concerns about Beijing’s growing assertiveness, but he is likely to steer clear of the harsh anti-China rhetoric used by U.S. counterparts.”

It is believed that part of the trip of Suga to Vietnam and Indonesia will include cooperation in the area of defense. Likewise, Japan is hoping to forge an agreement with Vietnam to export military equipment.

However, this is a natural angle that strengthens all nations concerned. Hence, providing rhetoric isn’t aimed overtly at China – and that Japan doesn’t fall into line with seeking to endlessly contain this nation – then Abe’s policy of “strength-based diplomacy” will suffice.

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