China, Japan Reach Crucial Agreement to Resume Diplomatic and Security Dialogue – Obama’s Pivot Crumbling
Nov. 7, 2014 (EIRNS)–China and Japan, after intense back-channel talks, and on the brink of the APEC Summit in Beijing on Nov. 10-11, signed an historic, measured agreement to renew diplomatic meetings and strategic cooperation, setting the stage for a meeting between the two leaders at the APEC Summit.
On Nov. 7, Shotaro Yachi, head of Japan’s National Security Council, met with State Councilor Yang Jiechi at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, and hammered out a four-point agreement. While Prime Minister Abe has been appealing for a meeting with President Xi, China has insisted on pre-conditions, the most important being that Japan acknowledge that there is a viable question of sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (Japan has previously insisted there is no issue, that only Japan’s claim is legitimate), and that Abe and other high-level Japanese officials stop visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese war dead including several condemned war criminals.
The four points diplomatically subsume these two issues. One point reads (in Xinhua’s version): “The two sides have acknowledged that different positions exist between them regarding the tensions which have emerged in recent years over the Diaoyu Islands and some waters in the East China Sea, and agreed to prevent the situation from aggravating through dialogue and consultation and establish crisis management mechanisms to avoid contingencies.” When Deng Xiaoping established relations with Japan in 1972, he made the decision that the issue of sovereignty over the islands should be put off to the future for the sake of moving forward in the relationship. The present agreement seems to return to that position.
A second point addresses the Yasukuni Shrine without naming it: “In the spirit of `facing history squarely and looking forward to the future,’ the two sides have reached some agreement on overcoming political obstacles in the bilateral relations.” The word “some” shows the tenuous nature of the deal.
The other points say that they will return to honoring the four previous agreements for cooperation between the two nations, and to “gradually resume political, diplomatic and security dialogue through various multilateral and bilateral channels and to make efforts to build political mutual trust.”
There will be wringing of hands at the White House tonight, as Obama, already essentially finished as President after the repudiation by the voters and by most of his own party in the Nov. 4 elections, will head for his Asian tour with the core ally in his war-plan against China having signed a deal to end the confrontation. To add to Obama’s grief, his other would-be ally, the Philippines, has seen the handwriting on the wall, joining China’s AIIB (against heavy preasure from Washington), while leading Philippine statesmen are demanding a restoration of ties with China.
In addition, following the announcement of the agreement, both the foreign and commerce ministers of the two nations met separately today on the sidelines of the APEC meeting to discuss some of the outstanding issues before them. While Japan has been heavily courted to join the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would require an elimination of their agricultural subsidies, they may be seriously considering, instead, moving in the direction laid out by China in developing a “roadmap” for a future Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. Chinese scholars indicate that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is under a lot of pressure at home to establish a good working relationship with China, which, in spite of all the unresolved issues between, remains one of Japan’s most important trading partners.