Recent U.S. security policy toward East Asia is viewed as ambivalent by regional communities, an academic said on Wednesday.
Lully Miura, a political scientist and president of the Yamaneko Research Institute, talked at the "Security in East Asia" panel organized by the Ankara-based Institute of Strategic Thinking, and attended by foreign mission chiefs, academics, university students, and other invitees.
Miura talked about Asia's regional order and Japan's role and evaluated crises in East Asia, political ambivalence and Japan's stance.
She pointed to America's retreat from the region while emphasizing U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's view that its long-term concerns are centered on China.
Japanese society is concerned over signs of the U.S. retreat from the region, Chinese expansionist policies and Japan's ambivalence, she said.
China has ended its 'silent diplomacy' and the current administration in Beijing is different from previous ones, Miura said.
"Chinese President Xi Jinping is very different from his predecessors. East Asia expansionism and the Silk Road initiative are obvious [reflections of this]. China wants to extend its political power, and I can't blame them for their ambitions. Chinese companies want to dominate markets, but they know their weaknesses. China knows that it is commercially dependent on the U.S.," she added.
Japanese Prime Minister's status quo efforts
Miura emphasized that Japan's indecisive policies towards East Asia do not help remove ambiguities in Asia.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration wants to maintain steady policies and the status quo, but Japanese society does not know too much about the agenda. The Japanese can not get over the U.S. retreat from East Asia, she said and added: "The U.S. withdrawal from the Pacific shows that the White House is conducting inconsistent policies in East Asia."
"Expenditure on defense includes those on expensive U.S. weapons. It is undesirable that Japan enhances its self-defense capacity. That will cause a more stressful era for Japan," she said.
She reminded that the Japanese have had a negative approach towards Chinese in the post-World War II era, adding: "We must make sure that the U.S. remains in this region as well".
Article 9 of Japanese Constitution makes it difficult to implement a policy of balancing China. We need to change the constitution. Article 9 of the 1947 Constitution ensures that Japan would adhere to "non-aggression" in settling international disputes. It is predicted that today this approach may change given the disagreements within the country," Miura said.
Most important economic partner
"Japan is dependent on the U.S. in economy and defense. The U.S. is its most important trade partner, and some American companies sell more products in Japan than they sell at the U.S. market," she said.
But concerns about the sustainability of relations between the two countries have grown since President Donald Trump was elected, she added.
Miura also stressed that the uncertainty under Trump's leadership must be resolved.
Source: Anadolu Agency