AP

US ambassador to Japan warns of Chinese economic coercion

Aug 2, 2022, 3:07 AM | Updated: 9:50 am

TOKYO (AP) — The United States is working with Japan and other likeminded countries to counter China’s efforts to use its economic might to force political change around the world, the U.S. ambassador to Japan said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Rahm Emanuel, who was previously mayor of Chicago and chief of staff for President Barack Obama, is pushing what he calls “commercial diplomacy,” the idea that the United States and Japan will be more eager to do business with each other and with similar secure and stable countries amid worries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and Chinese economic coercion.

“From intellectual property theft to coercion to debt dependency that China creates, the idea that they could actually honestly say, ‘We don’t coerce,’ and then you have not one, not two, not three – many worldwide examples where they use their economic market access to force a political change in a country … I think everybody’s woken up to that,” Emanuel said in the interview at his residence in the heart of downtown Tokyo.

Emanuel, who arrived in Japan in January, laid out a number of examples of Chinese coercion, including with Japan, which saw Chinese shipments of rare earth metals blocked over a territorial dispute; South Korea, which suffered Chinese business boycotts when it installed a U.S. missile defense system; Australia; and countries in Europe and Southeast Asia.

China’s growing economic importance and spending abroad have rattled those countries, which worry that Beijing is increasing its strategic and political influence in their traditional spheres of influence.

China has become one of the biggest lenders to developing countries through its “Belt and Road Initiative” to expand trade by building ports, railways and other infrastructure across Asia, Africa and the Middle East to Europe. This has prompted accusations Beijing is using debt to gain political leverage, but Chinese officials deny that.

China has been more assertive about pressing other governments to embrace Chinese-led initiatives including a trade group, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Emanuel said that finding ways for Japan and the United States to stand up to Chinese economic coercion was one of the first issues he raised with Japan’s foreign minister.

Japan has expressed deep worry about increased Chinese activities in regional seas, including near a Japanese-controlled island claimed by Beijing, and has pushed for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Emanuel praised Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s pledge of a “significant increase” in both the country’s defense budget and its military capabilities.

Kishida’s attempts to revise Japan’s national security strategy and basic defense guidelines are a legacy of his hawkish mentor, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July.

Kishida has also said he is open to the development of possible preemptive strike capabilities, which opponents say would go far beyond Japan’s war-renouncing constitution, which restricts the use of force to self-defense. Kishida also has proposed significantly increasing Japan’s defense budget — possibly doubling to 2% of GDP, a NATO standard — over the next five years.

“Much to the prime minister’s credit, he looked around the corner and realized what was happening in this region and the world — Japan needed to step up in ways it hadn’t in the past,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel also mentioned economic opportunities for Japan and the United States in electric vehicle batteries, energy, new research and technology in small modular nuclear reactors, aviation technology and semiconductors.

The business leaders whom he has met with as ambassador to Japan would have evaluated a capital expenditure decision in the past purely by considering cost, logistics and efficiency, he said, but they are now willing to pay more to avoid sanctions and instability.

“That is a major change in thinking,” he said.

For “the last 20 or 30 years, cost and efficiency were the driving factors. They drove public policy, and they drove corporate decisions. Today cost and efficiency are being replaced, supplanted by stability and sustainability,” Emanuel said.

___

AP writer Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

8 hours ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

9 hours ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

1 day ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

1 day ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

3 days ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

US ambassador to Japan warns of Chinese economic coercion