Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Countering China, the US, Japan and India push for open navigation in Asia

AFP, BUENOS AIRES

The leaders of the US, Japan and India on Friday met for the first time and called for open navigation in Asia, a show of unity with China clearly in mind.

US President Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

With the meeting lasting about 15 minutes, the three-way summit was more about symbolism than planning strategy, but it comes as all three share concerns on China’s rising clout.

Japan and India both have longstanding territorial feuds with their neighbor, while Trump has been pressing China hard on trade and reiterating concerns over Beijing’s assertive posture in the dispute-ridden South China Sea.

“By having three of us working together, we’ll bring more prosperity and more stability to the region, as well as globally,” Abe said.

The Trump administration has increasingly spoken of a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” a catchphrase long favored by Abe as he insists that all of Asia remain open to navigation and trade.

However, Modi and Abe also both met separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平). Trump was to meet Xi yesterday for talks focused on trade disputes.

India, despite decades of territorial disputes with China, has historically shied away from joining into alliances with major powers.

Meanwhile, tensions have been easing between Japan and China, with Abe in October paying the first official visit in seven years by a Japanese prime minister to Beijing.

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