Rising China spoiling party between the US and Japan
Of late, Japan has been facing a different situation albeit rough weather in the international diplomacy. Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo didn't (couldn't) meet Barack Obama, the US President, this week at the 70th year founding celebrations of the United Nations (UN) held in New York. However, the list of dignitaries that Abe met included Vladimir Putin, Russian President, and Park Geun-hye, South Korea President. Abe participated in a number of meetings and met several important global leaders on the sidelines of the UN celebrations.
On the other side, China has canceled its Office of Japanese Affairs and included the world's third largest country in its Office of NortheEast Asian Affairs. These developments indicate rough weather being faced by Japan when it comes to its relations with the world's top two economies.
The latest developments at the UN celebrations clearly indicating the diminishing influence of Japan at the UN proceedings, while strengthening the role of China in the world affairs. Recently China has taken a major decision by abolishing the Office of Japanese Affairs. From now onwards, China will deal with Japan along with North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, etc, though its expanded Office of NotheEast Asian Affairs.
The US is a former ally of Japan. Observers feel that Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn't requested for a meeting with Obama. Some feel that since Obama already met Abe in last May, the exclusive meeting didn't take place as officials might have thought another round of discussions were not necessary immediately.
The reason behind not getting an appointment from the Whitehouse is not so insignificant for Japan. Abe's visit during his first year of the tenure to the US was considered on par with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The state visit accorded to Abe in May was on the same level of invitation to Chinese President. The invitations were also mentioned in the same paragraph in the press release issued by White House.
The friendship between the US and Japan for over 70 years is becoming a question mark as strengthening China is throwing a wrench in the works. The US and Japan are facing economic challenge amid China's economy slow down. The US is trying to rebalance it global presence towards Asian markets. Considering the trade weightage, the US seems to have given more prominence to China when compared to Japan.
The media also didn't pay much attention to Abe's schedule as Xi Jinping was highlighted in the US news. Abe's presentations, speeches, meetings all his interactions at the UN celebrations were overshadowed by the US media.
Shinzo Abe has called for better relations with China. Japan's Parliament okayed a legislation giving international military powers to the country. After 70 years since World War-II, the new law passed in September 2015 gives the power to use its military in resolving international disputes. China seems to be unhappy over this development.
The presence made by Xi Jinping at the UN celebrations made it clear that China has been elevated to a leadership role in global affairs as the dragon country enjoys total support among UN members. Japan has been lobbying for increasing the number of permanent members of Security Council by four seats accommodating Japan, India, Germany and Brazil.