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U.S., Japan taking calm approach toward Beijing over tribunal ruling on South China Sea

Sunday’s Nikkei published a column by senior writer Hiroyuki Akita, in which he took up Vice President Biden’s attendance at a trilateral vice foreign ministerial meeting of the U.S., Japan, and South Korea in Hawaii on July 14. The author speculated that Biden’s participation in the meeting of lower-ranking officials demonstrated Washington’s determination not to allow China to pursue its maritime interests in the South China Sea. However, the author also claimed that the Obama and Abe administrations are taking a rather restrained approach toward China’s position of ignoring the recent ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration based on the judgment that Chinese President Xi is spearheading the militarization of the South China Sea, so promoting dialogue will be effective in dissuading China’s behavior there. He added, however, that this soft approach by Washington and Tokyo may not work if the PLA is promoting the militarization instead of President Xi.

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