Abe’s dollar diplomacy comes with strings attached

21-Jan-2017 Intellasia | Global Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe continues his dollar diplomacy as expected during his visit to Manila where he pledged an $8.7 billion aid package for the Philippines, as well as an offer to provide missiles, which was declined by his counterpart Rodrigo Duterte.

There is no doubt that Tokyo’s aid to the Philippines is aimed at China. In fact, Tokyo has always tapped dollar diplomacy into its Asean policy.

Like some other Western countries, Japan extends the economic aid in governmental development and non-government funds with political conditions attached. Abe not only offers money to Manila, but also military support such as patrol boats, planes and military training. By doing so, he intends to influence the Philippines to contain China.

Tokyo’s dollar diplomacy starts with the strengthening of its cooperation with Manila on issues like anti-terrorism and maritime security, followed by some security collaborations in the South China Sea like in joint patrols of the waters.

Abe by no means intends to seek political solutions to regional security challenge, but wants to win domestic approval by showing off his “diplomatic achievements” that Japan has solidified relations with its allies and Asia-Pacific countries. Tokyo has been trying to present itself as a diligent, responsible and peacemaking nation at home and abroad.

The hypocrite Abe tried to sell the missile deal to Duterte who said his country doesn’t need missiles for a World War III. After Duterte took office, he abandoned Aquino III’s foreign policy that made the Philippines a pawn that the US and Japan is using against China, since he has realised that the Philippines could gain no benefits from such a policy. But Duterte will not totally break up with the US, he will maintain good relations with the US, Japan, as well as China in a bid to practice the “balance of power” strategy to safeguard the Philippine’s own interest.

As a rational political leader, Duterte will not yield to Tokyo for the sake of the money Tokyo offered. He will not develop relations with Japan and the US at the cost of the China-Philippine relationship.

Tokyo has increased its investment in Asean countries as it sees China has outperformed Japan in regional trade. China doesn’t necessarily need to readjust its economic plans for Abe’s move.

Thanks to the cooperation mechanism of “10+1″, China-Asean economic ties have firmly grown despite the international arbitration of the South China Sea disputes in 2016. Many Asean countries have voiced their views on the overall situation and chosen not to take side. In the long run, China will, as always, strive for a win-win situation with Asean countries without any political conditions, and it’s expected that the China-Asean relations will become more consolidated.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Zhou Jiaxin based on an interview with Lu Yaodong, a research fellow with the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. op[email protected]



Category: Japan

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