By Tsuneo Watanabe, senior fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made vague requests of China in his speech a year ago. But in his latest speech he put stronger pressure on China by mentioning specific issues, such as human rights, the economy, and the military. He made it clear that the U.S. wants China to comply with international rules.
The vice president also demonstrated willingness to emphasize relations with U.S. allies. In the latest speech, he criticized China for its continual provocations near the Senkaku islands. That reassured Japan and other U.S. allies that the U.S. is committed to defense.
On the other hand, he said he does not seek to “de-couple” from China. He indicated that the idea of severing economic ties is neither desirable nor realistic for either the U.S. or China.