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Japan invites wolf into the house: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-03-18 21:02

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin elbow bumps with Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi as Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken watch after a joint news conference after their 2+2 Meeting at Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

High-ranking officials from the United States held a series of talks with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo this week as part of their first overseas trip. Ironically, the joint statement released after the 2+2 meetings between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, shows Washington is more than desperate to push its regional allies into its circle of wagons aimed at containing China despite its denials that this was its intention.

Toshimitsu said China-related issues took up the majority of his bilateral talks with Blinken, which touched on topics ranging from the East China Sea to the South China Sea, from the Taiwan Straits to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Hong Kong.

Washington and Tokyo cannot pretend that they do not know China's stance on these issues. It would also be naive for them to calculate that they can use these issues to exert pressure on China, either separately or collectively, forcing it to back down from its position.

The two countries went so far as to claim that China's actions do not accord with the norms of the existing international order and pose political, economic and military challenges to the Japan-US alliance and the global community.

Such accusations run counter to the truth. And one cannot help but wonder what makes the two countries believe they can sit as judge and jury on what is acceptable behavior.

What have the US and Japan done to contribute to regional peace and stability? What are they doing?

The US' talks with the Republic of Korea adopted a similar pattern.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, commenting on the joint statement issued by Japan and the US, observed that there is only one international system, which is the UN-centered international order, and there is only one set of rules, which are the basic norms governing international relations with the UN Charter as the cornerstone. The US and Japan are not entitled to define what the international order is, still less to impose their standard on others.

No matter what excuses the US uses to persuade its allies to jump on its bandwagon, it is their shared anxieties stemming from their outdated Cold War mentality that prompt them to view international relations as a zero-sum game and that are the root cause of their troublemaking.

Such a mentality runs counter to the trend of the times which favors cooperation rather than confrontation. It is high time the US and its allies saw China's development as an opportunity, not a threat. Countries need to work together to address the common threats that assail the world today, and those threats necessitate working with China whatever some countries may hope to gain by acting to the contrary.

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