US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) meets with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at his office in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
US and Japanese foreign and defense ministers warned Tuesday against “coercion and destabilizing behavior” by China after the bilateral “2+2” talks in Tokyo on Tuesday, while the Chinese foreign ministry warned that the US-Japan alliance should not target any third party.
Chinese analysts said that the US-Japan ministers’ joint statement is no surprise, and the so-called “coercion or destabilizing behavior” by China in the region is actually related to China’s sovereignty or core interests, and most frictions were triggered by provocations from the US or its allies, so the US should rethink how to reduce its negative impact to the region that would create more instability.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin are in Japan on the first leg of their first overseas trip, looking to strengthen regional alliances in “the face of rising Chinese influence,” according to the joint press statement released by US and Japan senior officials after their meeting.
Cooperation between the US and Japan should be conducive to enhancing mutual understanding and trust among countries, promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, but should not undermine the interests of any third party, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a routine press conference on Tuesday.
In the US-Japan joint statement, US and Japan warned that “China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military and technological challenges,” and the senior officials of the two countries “committed to opposing coercion and destabilizing behavior towards others in the region.”
The US and Japan also expressed “serious concerns about recent disruptive developments in the region,” directly referencing recent Chinese moves. The talks come with the Biden administration looking to reset regional alliances after the tumult of the Donald Trump era, AFP reported.
“The statement looks very vague and is not surprising, as the issues that they mentioned were expected,” said Lü Xiang, an expert in US studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, said that the criticism against China raised by the US and Japan such as “behavior inconsistent with the existing international order” is groundless, because almost all changes in the region are caused by the provocations from the US and its allies, partners or puppets in the region.
“From the South China Sea to Taiwan, to the Diaoyu Islands, all of these questions are related to China’s sovereignty and core interests, where China has no room to make compromises, and provocations from the US and its allies in the region have often created critical opportunities for China to find new solutions,” Jin said.
Thanks to its growing strength, China is able to overturn the situation in its favor, and if the US doesn’t want to see the status quo changed, it should stop provocations, and many countries in the region prefer to seek a peaceful solution with China and not to welcome US interference, said Chinese experts.
Although Japan has the commitment from the US on the Diaoyu Islands, which has a long-lasting dispute between China and the Japan, since Chinese patrol around the islands has already been normalized, there is nothing the US and Japan can do to change the status quo, Lü said, adding that they won’t risk a conflict with China.
The statement also mentioned “technological challenge” and Japan is the only US ally capable of assisting the US in the field of technology while confronting China, so “we need to pay attention to the likely US-Japan joint operations to target China’s technological development,” Lü told the Global Times.
Although the recent remarks toward China from the US and its allies won’t be very friendly, China will still engage with the US in the coming bilateral dialogue in Alaska, and sooner or later, US decision makers in the Biden administration, as long as they are smarter than the ones in the Trump administration, will understand that confrontation with China brings no good to the US, and the US has to cooperate with China eventually, said Chinese experts.