US ambassador to Japan warns of Chinese economic coercion

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

Rahm Emanuel, formerly the mayor of Chicago and chief of staff to President Barack Obama, is pushing what he calls “commercial diplomacy,” the idea that the U.S. and Japan will be more willing to do business with each other and with a similar security. and stable countries amid concerns caused by the COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and Chinese economic coercion.

“From intellectual property theft to coercion to the debt dependency that China creates, the idea that they could really honestly say, ‘We don’t coerce,’ and then you don’t have one, or two, or three : many global examples where they use their economic market access to force political change in a country … I think everybody has woken up to that,” Emanuel told the AP in an interview at his downtown residence from Tokyo

Emanuel, who arrived in Japan in January, outlined 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 faced Chinese business boycotts when it installed a US missile defense system; Australia and countries in Europe and Southeast Asia.

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

Emanuel repeatedly declined to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s expected visit to Taiwan, the autonomous island that China claims as its own and has threatened to use force to join if if necessary, referring to the questions in the White House.

In recent days, China has attacked the potential trip, which would make Pelosi the highest-ranking elected US official to visit in more than 25 years. Local media in Taiwan reported that Pelosi will arrive on Tuesday night.

Japan has expressed deep concern over 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.

While avoiding comment on Taiwan, Emanuel praised Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s promise of a “significant increase” in both the country’s defense budget and military capabilities.

Kishida’s attempts to overhaul 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 possible pre-emptive strike capabilities, which opponents say would go far beyond Japan’s war-renouncing constitution, which restricts the use of force in self-defense. Kishida has also proposed significantly increasing Japan’s defense budget, possibly doubling to 2 percent of GDP, a NATO standard, over the next five years.

“To the prime minister’s credit, he looked around the corner and realized what was happening in this region and in the world: Japan needed to step up in a way that it had not done in the past,” he said. Emanuel.

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 he has met with as ambassador to Japan would have evaluated a capital spending decision in the past only on questions of cost, logistics and efficiency, he said, but now they are willing to pay more for avoid sanctions and instability.

“This is a major shift 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, replaced by stability and sustainability,” Emanuel said.


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About the Author: Chaz Cutler

My name is Chasity. I love to follow the stock market and financial news!