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Expert: Biden administration will adopt clear-cut policy toward China

By Ichiro Fujisaki, former Japanese Ambassador to the U.S.


Interviewed by Hirotaka Kuriyama, political news department


The launch of the U.S. administration under President Joe Biden will not shake or change the alliance between Japan and the U.S., because Japan is a bridgehead to Asia and an important partner of the U.S. South Korea makes sudden approaches to China, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) does not yet have enough clout to become a partner of the U.S.


[The U.S.’s] diplomatic methods will change significantly. Former President Donald Trump decided things through top-to-top talks with the leaders of other nations. But the new administration will return to traditional diplomacy in which talks between diplomatic or other counterpart authorities carry significance.


Having said that, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are “members of the Biden family” and offshoots of the president. In that sense, President Biden himself is the key person in [U.S.] diplomacy.


I have doubts about the view that the confrontational relationship between Washington and Beijing will remain unchanged under the new [U.S.] administration. Blinken calls Russia, Iran, and North Korea “threats” but calls China a “competitor” to clearly distinguish it from the three other countries.


The U.S. will adopt a clear-cut policy by competing with China in the areas of communications technology and military power but cooperating with it in denuclearization and the fight against climate change.


On the other hand, the U.S. had confronted China independently but the new administration is poised to compete against it together with its allies. Japan must respond with strong determination.

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