(Tokyo Shimbun: February 3, 2016, Evening edition – p. 3)
“Washington policymakers prefer China to Japan. The United States and China share closer ties than the U.S. and Japan do.” This statement by Michael Pillsbury (70), an advisor to the U.S. Department of State, during his recent trip to Japan was shocking to most Japanese.
Pillsbury knows the real state of U.S.-China ties from his involvement in Chinese strategy at the U.S. Department of Defense among other institutions. His recent publication China 2049 reveals the enormous amount of aid the United States has extended to China since the 1970s. The book says that the U.S. provided intelligence about the former Soviet Union, which had a split with China, during the Cold War era and continued to provide scientific and military technology [to China] even after the Cold War ended. Giving 12 concrete examples, Pillsbury says, “It is aid [on a scale that] has not been given to any other country, including Japan.”
“If China became affluent, it would become a democratic ally.” Pillsbury says that U.S. aid to China was based on that illusion. The “2049” in the title of his book stands for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist nation. He points out that Chinese hardliners share the secret strategy for “China to supplant the United States as the world’s dominant power” by that anniversary. Pillsbury thus sounds the alarm to remain vigilant.
At the end of October last year, tensions heated up between the U.S. and China when the U.S. sent an Aegis-equipped warship to the waters surrounding the artificial islands China has constructed in the South China Sea. Nonetheless, Pillsbury states emphatically, “The U.S.’s pro-China stance remains unchanged.”
It seems that Pillsbury, who has been known as being pro-China, also feels “betrayed.” U.S.-China ties are not so simple that they can be tidily summed up with such words as “confrontation” or “deterioration.”