Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’

Tentative moves to improve China-Japan ties hit after Chinese nuclear submarine passes near disputed islands — “We urge Japan to stop stirring up trouble on the Diaoyu islands issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said

January 16, 2018

By Walter Sim
The Straits Times
January 16, 2018

TOKYO – The unprecedented entry of a Chinese advanced stealth nuclear submarine into waters near islets contested by Japan and China in the East China Sea has jeopardised tentative moves to improve bilateral ties.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera on Monday (Jan 15) slammed the Chinese action last Thursday as one that “unilaterally raises tensions”. Beijing, however, said that it was merely tracking and monitoring two Japanese naval ships passing through the area.

The Chinese submarine has been identified as a new Shang-class vessel that is 110m long and has a displacement of 6,100 tons. It can be equipped with torpedoes and cruise missiles longer in range than on conventional submarines.

In a separate incident on Monday, three China Coast Guard patrol vessels entered the territorial waters around the islets known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. It was the second such incident this year with the first occuring last Sunday (Jan 7).

Tokyo has lodged protests against these “incursions”, prompting Beijing to retort that it does not accept these representations as it considers the islets as Chinese territory.

“We urge Japan to stop stirring up trouble on the Diaoyu islands issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing on Monday, in response to questions posed by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, water and outdoor

Earlier at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga had described the Senkaku islands as “Japan’s inherent territory legally and historically”. He also said the spate of incidents recently was “extremely regrettable”.

Last week, Mr Suga reaffirmed that Japan would “resolutely defend its land, territorial waters and airspace”, while handling the situation “firmly and calmly”.

Image may contain: 1 person, suit and closeup

“We urge Japan to stop stirring up trouble on the Diaoyu islands issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing on Monday

Waters surrounding the uninhabited islets, which are administered by Japan, are said to be rich in oil and natural resources. The islets have, time and again, caused tensions between China and Japan and the latest incidents have come as ties were improving. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed a “fresh start” to relations in rare bilateral talks last November.

Last Thursday’s incident marked the first time since June 2016 that a Chinese military vessel had entered the so-called “contiguous zone” around the disputed islets. It also marked the first time that a nuclear submarine entered the area.

Mr Onodera, speaking to reporters on Monday, said: “Such nuclear-powered submarines are difficult to detect because they can remain far beneath the surface for extended lengths of time. We’ll keep our guard up to respond swiftly if a similar incident happens.”

Mr Suga, for his part, stressed on Monday the urgency to step up bilateral efforts to realise an air and maritime communication mechanism to avoid an accidental conflict in and over the East China Sea.

A nation’s “territorial waters” refer to an area extending out 12 nautical miles from the coast, while the “contiguous zone” refers to the band of water in an area between 12 and 24 nautical miles from land.

The submarine’s movement through the contiguous zone does not contravene international law. Beijing’s Ministry of National Defence had voiced “strong discontent with Japanese efforts to sensationalise a legitimate action by the Chinese navy”.

Nonetheless, Japan’s conservative daily Yomiuri Shimbun slammed the Chinese action as one that, while legal, “needlessly raises tensions” and said it was “unacceptable from the viewpoint of security”. It added that China’s unilateral claims over the islands were “irrelevant”.

Emeritus professor Shinya Murase of Tokyo’s Sophia University observed that Chinese ships had periodically entered Japanese waters as a means to “demonstrate its position that the islets belong to China”.

“Intrusion into territorial waters by the coast guard vessels is clearly a violation of the state’s sovereignty,” added Dr Murase, who is a visiting professor at China’s Peking University and is a member of the United Nations International Law Commission.

He said that China ought to resolve the issue by peaceful means, such as taking its claims up at the International Court of Justice.

The University of Tokyo’s Dr Shin Kawashima, who studies Sino-Japan ties, said the entry of a nuclear submarine into waters near the disputed islands marked a “new phase in Chinese escalation”.

He added: “China is sending a message to Japan that while on the one hand, it is willing to improve bilateral ties, on the other it will not loosen its stance on territorial and security issues in the East China Sea.”

 http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/tentative-moves-to-improve-china-japan-ties-hit-after-chinese-nuclear-submarine-pass
Advertisements

Russia accuses US of breaking treaty by offering ‘Aegis Ashore’ defense system to Japan

December 30, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Japan has approved the installation of two Aegis Ashore missile defence systems to defend the country against North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday accused the United States of violating a key arms treaty by selling a missile defence system to Japan.”The US is deploying them (missile defence systems) at their military bases in Romania and Poland, that is near our western borders, which goes against the 1987 INF Treaty banning the deployment of such systems on the ground,” Ryabkov said in a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

“The fact that such complexes could now appear on Russia’s eastern borders creates a situation that we cannot ignore in our military planning,” said Ryabkov.

On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the deployment of the US missile defence system would have a negative impact on relations between Tokyo and Moscow.

“We consider the step made by the Japanese side as going against efforts of ensuring peace and stability in the region,” Zakharova said, adding that Moscow has “deep regret and serious concern” over the move.

On December 19, the Japanese government approved the installation of two land-based US-made Aegis Ashore missile defence systems to defend the country against North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats.

Japan plans to increase its budget defence for the next fiscal year to strengthen its missile defence against the threat posed by its neighbour.

Earlier this month Japan’s defence minister, Itsunori Onodera, said the country plans to purchase long-range cruise missiles with a range of some 900 kilometres (560 miles) from US firms.

The move is controversial as Japan’s pacifist constitution bans the use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

After North Korea launched a missile over Japan’s Hokkaido island in September, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would “never tolerate” North Korea’s “dangerous provocative action” and has urged the international community to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang.

North Korea has threatened to “sink” Japan into the sea.

Global anxiety about North Korea has steadily risen this year, with Washington calling on other UN members to cut ties with Pyongyang in order to squeeze the secretive regime.

The call, however, has fallen short of persuading key North Korea backers China and Russia to take steps to isolate the regime.

South Korea says ‘comfort women’ row with Japan unresolved despite 2015 deal — “The agreement failed to sufficiently reflect a victim-oriented approach” — Wounds that never heal

December 27, 2017

Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – A 2015 deal with Japan over South Korean “comfort women” forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels failed to meet the victims’ needs, South Korea said on Wednesday, throwing ties into doubt as both countries seek to rein in North Korea.

Image may contain: 1 person

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha speaks before a briefing of a special task force for investigating the 2015 South Korea-Japan agreement over South Korea’s “comfort women” issue at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jung Yeon-Je/Pool Reuters

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha apologized for the controversial deal as a panel appointed by her in July to investigate the negotiations leading up to the agreement unveiled its results.

“I apologize for giving wounds of the heart to the victims, their families, civil society that support them and all other people because the agreement failed to sufficiently reflect a victim-oriented approach, which is the universal standard in resolving human rights issues,” Kang told a news conference.

Under the deal, endorsed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s predecessor and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan apologized to former comfort women and provided 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to a fund to help them.

The two governments agreed the issue would be “irreversibly resolved” if both fulfilled their obligations.

But Moon has said the South Korean people did not accept the deal.

The investigation concluded that the dispute over the comfort women, a Japanese euphemism for the girls and women, many of them Korean, forced to work in wartime brothels, could not be “fundamentally resolved” because the victims’ demand for Japan’s legal compensation had not been met.

South Korean former ‘comfort women’ Gil Won-Ok (L) and Kim Bok-Dong (C), who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during the second world war. File photo: AFP

Tokyo says the matter of compensation for the women was settled under a 1965 treaty with Seoul.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the agreement that the issue had been resolved “finally and irreversibly” had been confirmed by both governments.

“It is extremely important that this agreement be steadily implemented,” Suga told a regular news conference before the report had been released.

“The government will continue tenaciously to urge the South Korean side at every opportunity to steadily implement this agreement.”

 A child touches a statue symbolising comfort women after it was unveiled in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea. Photo: EPA

South Korea and Japan are key to international efforts to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs that it pursues in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The comfort women issue has been a regular cause for contention between Japan and neighbors China and North and South Korea since the war.

Japan colonized the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945 and occupied parts of China before and during World War Two.

The South Korean government will review the result of the investigation and translate it into policy after consulting victims and civic groups that support them, Kang added.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo; Editing by Nick Macfie

See also:

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2125824/south-korea-says-war-sex-slave-row-japan-unresolved-despite-2015

Japan Invites Israel, Palestinians, the U.S. to Japan For Peace Talks

December 26, 2017
BY JTA
 DECEMBER 26, 2017 18:30

Netanyahu reportedly has conditioned his participation on approval from the Trump administration.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Jerusalem. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

JERUSALEM — Japan has invited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a four-way meeting in Tokyo with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jared Kushner in an effort to restart peace efforts.

The invitation was extended on Monday by visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, the Hebrew-language news website Walla reported Tuesday afternoon, citing diplomatic sources involved in the matter.

Netanyahu reportedly has conditioned his participation on approval from the Trump administration.

The initiative by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe comes as Tokyo completes a decade of involvement in the “Peace Corridor” project, an Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian-Japanese venture in the Jordan Valley launched in Tokyo in 2007, Walla reported.

According to the news website, Japan is one of the largest contributors to the Palestinian Authority, and in the past decade it has increased its economic involvement in Israel and has called for a peace agreement on the basis of economic interests.

Kono arrived in Israel on Monday and will continue on to Jordan, Turkey and Oman. He met in Jerusalem with Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and Minister of Regional Development Tzachi Hanegbi, and in Ramallah with Abbas.

The Palestinians have said they will not work with the United States on peace efforts since President Donald Trump earlier this month recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying the US is not an honest broker.

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Japan-invites-Netanyahu-to-four-way-peace-summit-in-Tokyo-520085

Trump caps Asia tour with international summit in Manila

November 13, 2017

AFP and AP

© Noel Celis, AFP | World leaders link hands during the Opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN summit in Manila on November 13, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-11-13

President Donald Trump is winding down his lengthy Asia trip with an international summit and a series of meetings with Pacific Rim allies, including his host in the Philippines who is overseeing a bloody drug war.

Trump jointly met Monday with Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, with whom he had a contentious phone call last winter, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hosted the president in Tokyo earlier in the trip. Trump raved about his accomplishments on his five-nation journey, including on trade and North Korea, but said he would wait until his return to Washington on Wednesday to elaborate with a “major statement.”

“We’ve made some very big steps with regard to trade – far bigger than anything you know,” Trump told reporters at the beginning of the meeting in Manila, touting business deals forged between U.S. and foreign companies.

“We’ve made a lot of big progress on trade. We have deficits with almost everybody. Those deficits are going to be cut very quickly and very substantially,” Trump said.

“Except us,” Turnbull chimed in, to laughs.

“You’re the only one,” Trump responded. Trump also said the trip had been “very fruitful” for the United States and pointed to the warm welcomes he had received in capitals like Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.

“It was red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received,” Trump said. “And that really is a sign of respect, perhaps for me a little, but really for our county. And I’m really proud of that.”

The opening ceremonies of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations conference began with pageantry, including a group photo of the leaders and the summit’s traditional handshake. That cross-body handshake, during which each leader shakes the opposite hands of those next to him or her, briefly baffled Trump, who then laughed as he figured out where to place his arms.

One of the leaders on his flank was Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a bloody drug war that has featured extrajudicial killings. The two men are also slated to hold longer, formal talks later Monday and White House aides signaled that Trump is not expected to publicly bring up human rights in their discussions.

Trump will also meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, which plays a key role in the U.S. vision of an Indo-Pacific region that attempts to de-emphasize China’s influence. And he is slated to have dinner with Turnbull.

But swirling questions about Russia followed Trump halfway across the globe.

He tried to have it both ways on the issue of Russian interference in last year’s presidential race, saying he believes both the U.S. intelligence agencies when they say Russia meddled and Putin’s sincerity in claiming that his country did not.

“I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump said Sunday in Hanoi, Vietnam.

“As to whether I believe it, I’m with our agencies,” Trump said. “As currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.”

But just a day earlier, he had lashed out at the former heads of the U.S. intelligence agencies, dismissing them as “political hacks” and claiming there were plenty of reasons to be suspicious of their findings that Russia meddled to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Former CIA director John Brennan, appearing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said Trump was deriding them in an attempt to “delegitimize” the intelligence community’s assessment.

“I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump’s interest in being flattered. And also I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do or what might come out as a result of these investigations,” Brennan said.

Brennan said Trump’s ambiguity on Russia’s involvement was “very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint.”

“I think he’s giving Putin a pass and I think it demonstrates to Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and play upon his insecurities,” Brennan said.

Questions about whether Trump believes the assessment about Russian election-meddling have trailed him since January, when he said for the first time, shortly before taking office, that he accepted that Russia was behind the election-year hacking of Democrats that roiled the White House race.

A special counsel’s examination of potential collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides so far has led to indictments against Trump’s former campaign chairman and another top aide for crimes unrelated to the campaign, and a guilty plea from a Trump foreign policy adviser for lying to the FBI.

Multiple congressional committees are also investigating.

Trump told reporters traveling with him to Hanoi on Saturday that Putin had again vehemently denied the allegations. The two spoke during an economic conference in Danang, Vietnam. Trump danced around questions about whether he believed Putin but stressed Putin’s denials.

“Every time he sees me, he says: ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe – I really believe – that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said, arguing that it makes no sense for him to belabor the issue when Russia could help the U.S. on North Korea, Syria and other issues.

(AP)

TPP leaders’ meeting fails to materialise amid disputes

November 10, 2017

DANANG, Vietnam (Reuters) – A planned meeting of leaders of the 11 countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to decide on the fate of the trade pact did not take place on Friday, amid disagreements over how to take it forward without the United States.

The leaders were set to meet on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam to discuss how to push ahead with TPP.

Their meeting was preceded by conflicting comments from their delegations on Thursday, when the trade ministers met to firm up a plan to present to the leaders. Japan had said an agreement in principle had been reached, but Canada disputed that.

The spat highlighted the continuing challenge to reviving a pact whose survival was thrown into doubt when President Donald Trump ditched it, in one of his first acts in office, in favour of bilateral deal-making by the United States.

The leaders’ meeting had been scheduled for 0145 local time (0645 GMT), but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed to show up, according to people familiar with the matter.

“The meeting did not happen, work remains to be done and that’s what’s happening now,” a Canadian official said.

“We need to get this right and that will take the time it takes. We have to remember, the task officials had going into this week was to present options,” the official said.

Even before the planned meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had told the president of Peru – a TPP member – that he welcomed a broad agreement reached at the TPP ministerial meeting.

Canada, whose economy is the second biggest among the TPP-11 after Japan, said on Wednesday it would not be rushed into a revived TPP deal. Like Mexico, its position is further complicated by renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Trump administration.

A Vietnamese soldier stands guard at the airport upon arrival of the U.S. President Donald Trump for the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

The TPP aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across a bloc whose trade totalled $356 billion last year. It also has provisions for protecting everything from labour rights to the environment to intellectual property – one of the main sticking points.

The original 12 countries had reached agreement on the TPP in 2016, but Trump withdrew, throwing its very survival into doubt.

The absence of the United States had made TPP unattractive for some countries, but Japan had lobbied hard to proceed with a pact that could help to contain China’s growing regional dominance.

TPP countries are discussing suspending certain provisions of the original agreement to avoid having to renegotiate it and potentially, in the long term, to entice the United States back.

Earlier on Friday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was “reasonably confident” a deal could be reached without the United States. Malaysia is one of the 11 TPP countries.

“We believe TPP is important for the region… The 11 countries led by Japan, we are trying to come up with our new version,” Najib said at a separate panel discussion at the APEC summit.

“I am reasonably confident. I am quite sanguine that we will get a deal but of course it has got to go through the process of ratification,” he said.

Trump set out a strong message on trade at the APEC summit on Friday, saying the United States could no longer tolerate chronic trade abuses and would insist on fair and equal policies. Redressing the balance of trade between Asia and the United States is at the centre of Trump’s “America First” policy he says will protect U.S. workers.

Countering Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Asia-Pacific nations must “uphold multilateralism”. Globalisation was an irreversible trend, but the world must work to make it more balanced and inclusive, Xi told leaders.

Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Borsuk and Nick Macfie

***********************************************

BBC News

Trump at Apec summit: US will no longer tolerate trade abuses

Donald Trump said he would put “America first” at the Apec summit

President Donald Trump has said the US will no longer tolerate “chronic trade abuses”, in a defiant address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit in Vietnam.

He said he would always put US interests first and Apec nations should “abide by fair reciprocal trade”.

In stark contrast, China’s Xi Jinping said globalisation was irreversible and voiced support for multilateralism.

Mr Trump is currently on a five-nation Asia tour, with China one of his stops.

Apec brings together 21 economies from the Pacific region – the equivalent of about 60% of the world’s GDP.

Since taking office, President Trump has pursued his “America First” agenda and pulled the US out of the regional Trans-Pacific Partnership – a major trade deal with 12 Apec nations – arguing it would hurt US economic interests.

What did Trump say?

In a speech in the Vietnamese port city of Da Nang on Friday, President Trump railed against the World Trade Organization, which sets global trade laws, and said it “cannot function properly” if all members do not respect the rules.

He complained about trade imbalances, saying the US had lowered market barriers and ended tariffs while other countries had not reciprocated. “Such practices hurt many people in our country,” he said, adding that free trade had cost millions of American jobs.

But he did not lay the blame on Apec countries, and instead accused earlier US administrations of not acting earlier to reverse the trend.

He said America would make bilateral agreements with “any Indo-Pacific partner here who abides by fair reciprocal trade”, but only “on a basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit”.

China's President Xi Jinping (C) arrives to speak on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in Danang, Vietnam, 10 November 2017Image copyrightEPA
Image captionXi Jinping is promoting China as the champion of free trade

Mr Trump has repeatedly referred to the region as “Indo-Pacific”, a term used to define America’s new geopolitical view of Asia.

The US president had travelled to Da Nang from Beijing, where he had also discussed America’s huge trade imbalance with China. There too, he said he did not blame the country for “taking advantage”.

How did his speech compare to Xi’s?

Speaking minutes after his American counterpart, Chinese President Xi Jinping took to the podium to espouse his country’s credentials as the new champion of world trade.

Globalisation, he said, was an “irreversible historical trend” but the philosophy behind free trade needed to be repurposed to be “more open, more balanced, more equitable and more beneficial to all”.

In contrast to President Trump, the Chinese leader defended multilateral trade deals, which he said helped poorer nations to benefit.

“We should support the multilateral trading regime and practise open regionalism to allow developing members to benefit more from international trade and investment.”

America First, or the Chinese Dream?

By Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent

President Trump was clear – he wants bilateral trade deals and large, multilateral arrangements don’t work for him. This was a speech saying that America is open for business, but on America’s terms.

Contrast that with China’s Xi Jinping, who spoke about the digital economy, quantum science, artificial intelligence – presenting a vision of the future that is connected, and comprehensive.

Increasingly whenever you see Mr Xi on the international stage he is the poster child for free trade and globalisation. Ironic, given that China itself has yet to become a fully free economy.

The US was the architect of many of the multilateral and free trade agreements for Asia. Under its tutelage, many of these countries opened up and reformed – playing by America’s rules.

But under Donald Trump, that role has gone into reverse. Which has left China with a gaping hole to fill – and one it is only more than happy to take on.

Read more from Karishma

How are US-China trade relations?

The total trade relationship between the US and China was worth $648bn last year, but trade was heavily skewed in China’s favour with the US amassing a nearly $310bn deficit.

Mr Trump has in the past accused China of stealing American jobs and threatened to label it a currency manipulator, though he has since rowed back on such rhetoric.

Bar chart shows US trade with Asia market
Graph shows US trade with China since 1985

During the US president’s visit on Thursday, China announced it would further lower entry barriers in the banking, insurance, and finance sectors, and gradually reduce vehicle tariffs.

Mr Xi promised “healthy” and “balanced” economic and trade relations.

Deals worth $250bn (£190bn) were also announced, although it was unclear how much of that figure included past agreements or potential future deals. At the same time, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told journalists the deals were “pretty small” in terms of tackling the trade imbalance.

Before the Beijing talks, Mr Trump in Tokyo lashed out at Japan, saying it “has been winning” on trade in recent decades.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also be making a speech at the Apec summit. Japan had a $69bn (£52.8bn) trade surplus with the US in 2016, according to the US Treasury department.

It’s unclear whether Mr Trump will address human rights issues in Vietnam

After attending the Apec summit, Mr Trump will pay a state visit to the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Mr Trump will end his 12-day Asian tour in the Philippines on 13 November.

Taiwan the most important issue in Sino-U.S. ties, China’s Xi tells Trump

November 9, 2017

.

Xi Jinping

BEIJING (Reuters) – Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-U.S. ties, Chinese President Xi Jinping told visiting U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, ahead of the one-year anniversary of Trump taking a precedent-breaking call from Taiwan’s president.

China considers democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province and integral part of its territory, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help it defend itself and is the island’s main source of arms.

 Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

Donald Trump constantly referred to President Xi Jinping as a great friend.

Trump upset China last December by taking a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, shortly after he won election, the first call between U.S. and Taiwan leaders since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979.

While there was no public mention of Taiwan in comments Xi and Trump made in front of reporters, the official Chinese foreign ministry statement about their talks did not mince its words.

“The Taiwan issue is the most important, most sensitive core issue in China-U.S. relations, and concerns the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship,” the ministry paraphrased Xi as telling Trump.

China “hopes that the U.S. side continues to scrupulously abide by the ‘one China’ principle, and prevents disturbances to the broader picture of China-U.S. ties”, Xi added.

Trump told Xi that the United States government upheld and stuck to the “one China” policy, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

In Taipei, Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of Taiwan’s China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council, said China should respect Taiwan’s people.

“We think China should deeply understand and respect Taiwan people’s opinions on the growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait,” Chiu told reporters.

Image may contain: text

Trump and his team should have skimmed through Martin Jacques’ book…. Going without a plan to make make a meaningful deal with China is always a waste of time….

“We are also willing to work with the other side to find a new, positive model in cross-straits ties that would use dialogue to resolve differences, and to create a proper path for harmonious relations.”

China suspects Tsai wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a red line for Beijing. Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with China but will defend Taiwan’s democracy and security.

China has pressured Taiwan since Tsai took office last year, suspending a regular dialogue mechanism and slowly peeling away its few remaining diplomatic allies.

China is deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward Taiwan, and was upset when the United States recently allowed Tsai to transit through Hawaii and Guam on her way to and from diplomatic allies of Taiwan’s in the Pacific.

Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the Communists.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Jess Macy Yu in TAIPEI; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Nick Macfie

**************************************

China’s Xi warns Trump of ‘negative factors’ hurting US ties

July 3, 2017

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping warned President Donald Trump on Monday that “some negative factors” are hurting U.S.-China relations, as tensions flare anew over a slew of long-standing sore points.

Xi’s comments in a phone call with Trump follow Beijing’s displeasure over U.S. arms sales to rival Taiwan, U.S. sanctions against a Chinese bank over its dealings with North Korea and, most recently, the sailing of a U.S. destroyer within the territorial seas limit of a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea.

Beijing was also miffed after the State Department gave Beijing a dismal grade last week in a new human trafficking report.

According to state media, Xi told Trump in their call that Beijing expects Washington to continue managing relations on the basis of the “one China” principle that rules out formal contacts with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

“Xi Jinping emphasized that, since my meeting with the president at Mar-a-Lago, China-U.S. relations have achieved important outcomes,” state broadcaster China Central Television reported, referring to Xi’s meeting with Trump in Florida in April. “At the same time, bilateral relations have been affected by some negative factors. China has expressed its position to the U.S.”

Seeking to lighten the message slightly, Xi also said that China-U.S. relations had achieved “important outcomes” since the Florida meeting.

It’s unclear whether any of those issues will come up in discussions at the G-20 summit in Germany this week, at which Trump and Xi are expected to hold a bilateral meeting.

But it now appears that China is pushing back against the U.S. pressure, setting the stage for a potential confrontation.

China’s foreign ministry accused the U.S. of violating Chinese sovereignty and disrupting “peace, security and order of the relevant waters” after the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Stethem sailed Sunday within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) of tiny Triton island, which is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

China’s defense ministry issued a similar statement Monday, saying it would beef up patrols and take precautions commensurate with the threat level to safeguard “national sovereignty and security.”

Trump and his top aides have done little to hide their irritation over what they see as the reluctance by China, North Korea’s main economic partner, to tighten the screws on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

Until recently, American officials had been describing China as a partner in their strategy to prevent North Korea from developing the ability to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons. While China has agreed to sanctions, it is wary of measures that could cause the regime’s collapse, leaving a united, U.S.-backed Korea on its border.

However, Trump hinted last month at his loss of patience, tweeting that his bid to secure a tougher Chinese approach “has not worked out.”

Asked about the state of ties, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday that it was normal to encounter “some issues in the process of developing the bilateral relationship.”

“We believe that the significance of our bilateral relationship has already exceeded the bilateral scope and is exerting important influence on the development of the whole world,” Geng told reporters at a regularly scheduled press briefing.

“On our part, we are willing to develop the bilateral relationship based on non-confrontation, mutual benefit and mutual trust, expand cooperation and properly manage differences between the two countries so as to further advance the bilateral relationship.”

Along with Xi, Trump also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom he reaffirmed a shared commitment to dealing with North Korea, the White House said. It said the president also looked forward to meeting Abe at the upcoming G-20 summit in Hamburg.

Abe praised Trump for the recent U.S. sanctions on the small Bank of Dandong over its alleged support for North Korea’s nuclear program, according to Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. That severs the bank entirely from the U.S. financial system, pending a 60-day review period.

Suga said that during their 35-minute phone conversation, the two leaders reaffirmed close coordination between their countries and South Korea in stepping up pressure on North Korea.

The talks were meaningful for the two leaders “to be on the same page” about their approach to North Korea ahead of the G-20 summit, Suga said.

Related:

Trump says time for ‘strategic patience’ with N. Korea is over

November 6, 2017

AFP

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and suit

President Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands in Tokyo Nov. 6. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-11-06

The time for “strategic patience” with North Korea is over, President Donald Trump said Monday, after winning Japan’s backing on his policy of considering all options to rein in the rogue state.

Trump has signalled in the past that Washington could look beyond a diplomatic solution to the North‘s nuclear weapons ambitions, and consider military intervention.

The North’s nuclear programme is “a threat to the civilised world and international peace and stability,” Trump told reporters on the second day of a trip to Asia dominated by the crisis.

“The era of strategic patience is over,” he declared alongside his host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The hawkish Abe, whose own nation has seen North Korean missiles fired over its northern island amid threats by Pyongyang to “sink” it into the sea, backed the bullish stance.

“We always support President Trump’s policy that all options are on the table,” in reining in North Korea over its provocative actions involving its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, he said.

Abe announced Japan will freeze the assets of 35 North Korean groups and individuals as a new sanction.

The United Nations has adopted multiple rounds of sanctions against the reclusive North, the most recent in September following its sixth nuclear test and a flurry of missile launches.

Abe said the additional measures were aimed at punishing the North over its weapons program, as well as to attempt to resolve the issue of civilian abductions that took place in the 1970s and ’80s.

A number of ordinary Japanese citizens were kidnapped by North Korean agents in that era, in order to train spies in Japanese language and culture.

Trump will later Monday sit down with an elderly couple whose then 13-year-old daughter, Megumi Yokota, was kidnapped four decades ago while on her way home from school.

The president arrived in Asia with tensions over North Korea at fever pitch, as US bombers fly sorties over the Korean peninsula and concerns mount that Pyongyang might stage another nuclear or missile test.

Trump began his marathon trip in belligerent form, warning on Sunday that “no dictator” should underestimate US resolve, a clear swipe at North Korea and its young leader Kim Jong-Un.

However in a pre-recorded interview broadcast on US TV he held out the prospect of talks with Pyongyang, saying he would “certainly be open” to meeting Kim.

“I would sit down with anybody,” he said. “I don’t think it’s strength or weakness, I think sitting down with people is not a bad thing,” he said on the “Full Measure” show.

“So I would certainly be open to doing that but we’ll see where it goes, I think we’re far too early.”

Trump calls Japan ‘crucial ally’ as he kicks off Asia trip — “I wouldn’t rule out some sort of forceful North Korean reaction to Trump’s presence.”

November 5, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. troops at the U.S. Yokota Air Base, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. President Trump arrived in Japan Sunday on a five-nation trip to Asia, his second extended foreign trip since taking office and his first to Asia. The trip will take him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Philippines for summits of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). AP /Eugene Hoshiko

FUSSA, Japan  — President Donald Trump praised Japan as a “treasured partner” and “crucial ally” Sunday, as he kicked off a grueling and consequential first trip to Asia.

Trump landed at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo, where he was greeted by cheers from service members. Trump then donned a bomber jacket for a speech in which he touted American firepower and the U.S. alliance with Japan.

“Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States and today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,” he said, speaking in front of an American flag inside an airplane hangar.

“On behalf of the United States of America, I send the warmest wishes of the America people to the citizens of this remarkable country,” he said.

After the speech, Trump was set to head to a private golf course for an informal lunch and golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump was expected to exhort allies and rivals to step up efforts to counter the dangers posed by North Korea’s nuclear threat. Before he landed, Trump used the first moments of his trip to denounce North Korea as “a big problem” that must “be solved.”

“There’s been 25 years of total weakness, so we are taking a very much different approach” in dealing with the renegade regime in Pyongyang,” he said, speaking to reporters on Air Force One.

Some regional analysts have speculated that Trump’s presence in Asia may prompt North Korea to take provocative action, like a missile test. Trump, when asked about that possibility, said “we’ll soon find out.”

The 12-day, five-country trip, the longest Far East itinerary for a president in a generation, comes at a precarious moment for Trump. Just days ago, his former campaign chairman was indicted and another adviser pleaded guilty as part of an investigation into possible collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russian officials.

It will pose a test for Trump’s stamina — but Trump assured reporters aboard Air Force that he was up for the task. “It’s grueling, they tell me, but fortunately that’s historically not been a problem for me. One thing you people will say, that’s not been a problem,” he said.

It also presents a crucial international test for a president looking to reassure Asian allies worried that his inward-looking “America First” agenda could cede power in the region to China. They also are rattled by his bellicose rhetoric about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The North’s growing missile arsenal threatens the capitals Trump will visit.

“The trip comes, I would argue, at a very inopportune time for the president. He is under growing domestic vulnerabilities that we all know about, hour to hour,” said Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “The conjunction of those issues leads to the palpable sense of unease about the potential crisis in Korea.”

Trump’s spontaneous, and at time reckless, style flies in the face of the generations-old traditions and protocol that govern diplomatic exchanges in Asia. The grand receptions expected for him in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and beyond are sure to be lavish attempts to impress the president, who raved about the extravagances shown him on earlier visits to Saudi Arabia and France.

The trip will also put Trump in face-to-face meetings with authoritarian leaders for whom he has expressed admiration. They include China’s Xi Jinping, whom Trump has likened to “a king,” and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, who has sanctioned the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers.

Trump is also expected to have a second private audience with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of a summit in Vietnam.

He told reporters that the meeting is “expected” to happen and that he “will want Putin’s help” in dealing with the North Korea nuclear crisis. Trump and Putin could cross paths twice during the president’s lengthy Asia trip: at a summit in Vietnam and later in the Philippines. It was unclear where they would meet.

Trump and Putin previously met along the sidelines of a summit in Europe this summer.

The White House is signaling that Trump will push American economic interests in the region, but the North Korean threat is expected to dominate the trip. One of Trump’s two major speeches will come before the National Assembly in Seoul. Fiery threats against the North could resonate differently than they do from the distance of Washington.

Trump will forgo a trip to the Demilitarized Zone, the stark border between North and South Korea. All U.S. presidents except one since Ronald Reagan have visited the DMZ in a sign of solidarity with Seoul. The White House contends that Trump’s commitment to South Korea is already crystal clear, as evidenced by his war of words with Kim and his threats to deliver “fire and fury” to North Korea if it does not stop threatening American allies.

The escalation of rhetoric, a departure from the conduct of past presidents, has undermined confidence in the U.S. as a stabilizing presence in Asia.

“There’s a danger if there is a lot of muscle flexing,” said Mike Chinoy, a senior fellow at the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California. “Trump has been going right up to the edge and I wouldn’t rule out some sort of forceful North Korean reaction to Trump’s presence in the region,” he said.

The White House said Trump would be undeterred.

“The president will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously. That’s been of great reassurance to our allies, partners and others in the region who are literally under the gun of this regime,” White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Thursday. “I don’t think the president really modulates his language, have you noticed?”

At each stop, Trump will urge his hosts to squeeze North Korea by stopping trading with the North and sending home North Korean citizens working abroad. That includes China, which competes with the U.S. for influence in the region and provides much of North Korea’s economic lifeblood.

The White House is banking on the close relationships Trump has established with some Asian leaders to help make his demands more palatable.

Officials acknowledge that Trump does not yet have a feel for Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s newly elected liberal president. But Trump has demonstrated cordial relations with Xi and has struck up a friendship with Abe.

While Xi and Abe have recently tightened their control on power, Trump arrives weakened by low poll numbers, a stalled domestic agenda and the swirling Russia probe.

But Trump told reporters that he and Xi, now believed to be China’s strongest leader in decades, will go into their meetings on equal footing.

“Excuse me, so am I,” he said, pointing to the stock market, which has been hitting record highs, and other economic indicators, as evidence of his own power.

“We are coming off some of the strongest numbers we have ever had and he knows that and he respects that and he’s a friend of mine,” Trump said. “I think he is viewing us as very, very strong.”

___

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Ken Moritsugu in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Philippines, Japan sign $6B worth of business deals

October 31, 2017
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stand between the countries’ flags as they review a guard of honor at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. Duterte is on a two-day visit to Japan. Nicolas Datiche/Pool Photo via AP
.
TOKYO — At least 18 business deals that will yield $6 billion worth of new investments were signed here Monday by Philippine and Japanese firms in a development that officials said affirmed investor confidence in the Philippines.
.
President Rodrigo Duterte witnessed the signing of the agreements, which are expected to pour in Japanese investments in manufacturing, shipbuilding, iron and steel, agribusiness, power, renewable energy, transportation, infrastructure, mineral processing, retailing, information and communication technology, and business process management.
 .
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met several Japanese companies and witnessed several B-B MOUs (business-to-business memoranda of understanding) and letters of intent on Investment plans, joint ventures and expansion of operations in the Philippines,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement.
 .
“Total new investments (are expected to reach) $6 billion,” he added.
 .
A list of companies that signed the agreement was not available as of Monday but incoming presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the deals would be undertaken by “big multinational” and “Filipino giant” corporations.
 .
“If I’m not mistaken, there were at least 25 agreements that were witnessed by the president today,” Roque said in a chance interview here.
 .
“I think it’s because there is number one, commercial predictability, number two there is peace and order in the Philippines and there is conducive business environment where businesses are safe from unjust taking,” he added.
 .
Roque said the signing of business deals also highlighted the “very strong” relations between the Philippines and Japan.
 .
“It also proves that Japan continues to be one of our most active trading partners,” the incoming presidential spokesman said.
 .
Among the companies that signed business deals are the Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments, which forged agreements with Hitachi and Itochu. The group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan was also scheduled to meet with Japanese firms NTT, Rakuten, Itochu, Mitsui, Marubeni, Densan and Hitachi.
.
Lopez said he also met with his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko to discuss ways to improve market access and lowering tariff of Philippine agricultural products like banana, pineapple and mango.
 .
Asked about the Japanese trade minister’s reaction to his request to lower the tariff for Philippine agricultural exports, Lopez replied: “They took note of that and to be discussed in detail in the technical working groups under JPEPA (Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement).”
 .
JPEPA is the bilateral trade agreement between the Philippines and Japan.
 .
It was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Helsinki, Finland, in September 2006.
.
The agreement assures zero duties for more than 90 percent of Philippine exports to Japan and is expected to enhance the access of Filipino service workers to the Japanese market. It also requires the removal of tariffs by both Japan and the Philippines on almost all industrial goods within 10 years from the date of its implementation.
 .
Lopez said he and Seko also discussed Japan’s support to reach a substantial conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
 .
The two trade chiefs also tackled the Industrial Cooperation Dialogue and ways to improve the supply chain for Japanese companies to benefit Philippine small and medium enterprises.
.