TOKYO – Japanese Foreign Minister called on the United States to support stability in the Indo-Pacific region by joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), following China’s recent decision to enter into the trade pact.
“It is important that the United States engage in the creation of a regional economic order, in particular by returning to [the negotiating table for] TPP, ”Toshimitsu Motegi said in a video message broadcast Saturday during the Mount Fuji Dialogue, an event hosted by the Japan Center for Economic Research and the Japan Institute of International Affairs.
It comes after China and Taiwan applied to join the CPTPP in September. While the United States initially played a central role in forming the bloc, Washington, under former President Donald Trump, withdrew from the pact in 2017.
Motegi’s remark echoed a message from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier today saying the Japan-US alliance is the “cornerstone” of international peace and prosperity. Motegi also stressed that the leaders of Japan, the United States, Australia and India are committed to their “Quad” defense pact, and that Tokyo “will strongly promote concrete cooperation with others, including including ASEAN and Europe in the future ”.
Regarding his stance on China, Motegi said that Japan “will not abandon core values and principles such as democracy, rule of law and free trade”, while working with Beijing “in areas where we can cooperate “.
“It is important to encourage China to shoulder its responsibilities as a great power,” Motegi added. He urged the international community to continue to monitor whether China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects will be “implemented in a manner consistent with international standards, with openness, transparency, economic efficiency in terms of costs. life cycle and debt sustainability “.
However, Motegi criticized China for benefiting from its status as a developing country in areas such as climate change, the World Trade Organization and development finance. “We must correct the distorted structure in which the international community continues to support the development of China, which is now the world’s second-largest economy,” he said.
Raymond Greene, the acting U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo, said in a video message that Washington expects “China’s non-market business practices and the use of economic coercion that harm workers. and businesses around the world are taken into account in any assessment of its membership potential. [to CPTPP]. “
But Greene has expressed support for Taiwan’s membership in the CPTPP. “Taiwan’s record as a responsible member of the WTO and its strong commitment to democratic values must also be taken into account.” He did not say whether the United States would reconsider joining the pact.
Panelists attended the annual event both in person and virtually, with geopolitical tensions in locations ranging from the Taiwan Strait to the entire Indo-Pacific in the spotlight.
Daniel Russel, former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said “deterrence” and “reassurance” would be essential to keep China in the Taiwan Strait. Beijing must be convinced that countries like Japan and the United States have the capacity and “the political will to resist aggression and impose very high costs” if China uses force against Taiwan, he said. -he declares.
Russel, now vice president of international security and diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said that in order to avoid a devastating military conflict, the United States and Japan should reassure Beijing that the window does is not closed on the “One China” policy. Preventing Taiwan from declaring independence is more important to Chinese President Xi Jinping than uniting with Taiwan, he said.
Meanwhile, Katsutoshi Kawano, former chief of staff and staff of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, spoke of US intermediate-range missiles as a potential deterrent for China. “Japan and the United States should jointly operate a medium-range missile,” Kawano said. “Japan inevitably comes to the forefront of global security as the United States has identified China as its greatest threat,” he added.
In the recent race for the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, candidates were divided over whether the country should host American missiles.
During a panel, Randall Schriver, former deputy defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said that the alliance between Tokyo and Washington is currently “truly the most important partnership in the Indo-Pacific region” , even compared to the Quad and the recently announced AUKUS alliance between the US, UK and Australia. “All the more so given the growing difficulties in the Taiwan Strait,” he added.
Schriver said the Quad and the UKUS “will not add operational value” in the short term. Rather, they will work across the board with the diplomatic efforts of governments in the region. “The headlines right now are dominated by AUKUS and Quad, but we should forget [them]”, he said.” The priority work really remains the modernization of our alliance. “