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Kishida to send mixed message on China during ASEAN tour

Asahi highlighted an ongoing tour of four ASEAN nations, including Thailand and Vietnam, by Foreign Minister Kishida, explaining that although his primary goal is to strengthen partnerships with them to hold China’s growing influence in check, the Japanese official will also be careful not to heavily criticize Beijing out of deference to some of the ASEAN members’ close economic bonds with China. As Kishida is anxious to respond to their desire to see rapprochement between Tokyo and Beijing, he is set to explain that during his visit to Beijing, he agreed with top Chinese leaders, including Premier Li, to deepen mutual cooperation. The paper added that Kishida intends to play up Tokyo’s intention to carefully address the economic needs of ASEAN countries by telling his counterparts that Japan’s economic support will involve not just the construction of infrastructure facilities, but also personnel training and other soft power initiatives that the GOJ believes are missing from China’s assistance.           

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