News

October 6, 1997

U.S.-JAPAN DEFENSE COOPERATION GUIDELINES:

FEARS OF A 'PROVOKED' CHINA, A 'REMILITARIZED' JAPAN

As analysts overseas weighed in with their assessments of the revised U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines made public in New York on September 23, the vast majority had "mixed feelings" and a "certain degree of concern" over the terms outlined in the document. While a handful of observers concluded that the new guidelines would "help ensure the stability" of the Asia-Pacific region, most worried that the document "paved the way" for a possible remilitarization of Japan. Equally evident were worries about Beijing's reaction to the security arrangements outlined in the document, which allow for mutual cooperation between the U.S.and Japan "in situations in areas surrounding Japan." China's official media seized upon that very phrase in questioning the U.S. and Japan's motives and in branding the guidelines as a "dangerous" sign that the two are "stuck in a Cold War mode of thinking." "The new guidelines give one the idea that Japan seems to be under an imminent threat," asserted Beijing's official People's Daily. "The...guidelines...attempt to include Taiwan, a part of Chinese territory, within the scope of...U.S.-Japan defense cooperation," insisted official municipal Beijing Daily. Evoking the specter of Japan's 1937-45 invasion of China, the paper also maintained: "The new guidelines...will enable Japanese defense troops to go abroad 'justifiably,' something Japan has long dreamed of." Writers elsewhere in Asia and in Europe underscored China's fears of being "cornered" by an increasingly strong relationship between the U.S. and Japan. Seoul's independent Dong-A Ilbo joined others in judging that China viewed the agreement "as a means for the U.S. and Japan to expand their influence in the region and...(to) isolate China." Still others feared that the prospects of a more "isolated" China might spark a regional arms race, which Dhaka's conservative Ittefaq characterized as a "U.S.-China cold war in Asia." Reaction from Taiwan--which China believes may be included in "areas surrounding Japan"--was strikingly low key. "The new defense agreement is nothing but form [without substance]," declared Taipei's centrist, pro status-quo China Times. "We need not be too worried or too elated about it," the daily concluded.

Editors in all regions likewise outlined great concern that the revised guidelines "have opened the door for Japan to intervene militarily abroad" and could lead Japan "to seek hegemony in Asia." Jakarta's leading, independent Kompas, for example, noted: "Whatever the political intentions of the U.S. and Japan in modifying their defense pact, it still creates suspicion in this region." Echoing that view, Seoul's pro-business Joong-ang Ilbo joined others in asserting: "We are careful not to give Japan the impression that we approve of its rise as a strong military power." Papers in Tokyo expressed an awareness of the fears and "skepticism" evoked by the revised defense pact. Citing the "wariness" of China and many of Japan's neighbors over the new guidelines, liberal Asahi advised: "The government of Japan should not seize upon this as an opportunity to strengthen Japan's security legislation." Several writers noted that support for the guidelines was dependent upon the "degree to which the U.S. and Japan can convince countries of its purpose."

This survey is based on 35 reports from 16 countries, September 24 - October 4.

EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

JAPAN: "U.S.-Japan-China Security: An Irresponsible, Harmful Idea"

An editorial in conservative Sankei observed (10/1): "China has 'tolerated' U.S.-Japan security relations since the normalization of diplomatic relations with Japan, but as a result of Chinese concern that the new U.S.-Japan defense guidelines might well apply to an emergency in the Taiwan Strait, the situation has changed and China's relations with the United States and Japan have grown tenser.

"This may have prompted some Japanese Diet members, including senior LDP officials, to propose that a 'triangular' U.S.-Japan-China relationship or a U.S.-Japan-China security framework be established. We believe that such a proposal is worse than unrealistic; it also adversely affects Japan's ability to enact new laws and revise existing ones to accommodate the new guidelines, and could call into question Japan's reliability as part of the U.S.-Japan alliance. China will most likely use such Japanese politicians to publicize the history of Japan's military adventure in China during World War II in an effort to 'divide' (the Japanese and Americans) and 'conquer' efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Japan security alliance."

"New Guidelines And Korean Peninsula"

Commentary in liberal Asahi stressed (9/26): "The new U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines are designed exclusively for a possible emergency on the Korean peninsula. However, the strategic environment on the peninsula has undergone a dramatic change during the past decade or so. South Korea has become more confident militarily, and is expected to include in its next national defense program a post-reunification defense strategy aimed at neighboring countries. It is, therefore, 'not beyond understanding' that South Korea should be skeptical about Japan's present concern with contingencies in areas surrounding Japan.

"One would think that South Korea would issue a statement of appreciation for the new defense guidelines, under which Japan will be required to give rear support to American forces fighting to protect South Korea during an emergency. But Seoul reacted cautiously to Japan's role in the new guidelines, despite great efforts made by Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials to obtain South Korea's understanding."

"Guidelines Need Not Be Specific"

Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri had this analysis (9/24): "The United States and Japan adopted new Defense Cooperation Guidelines broadening the scope of their cooperation during emergencies in or near Japan. The guidelines represent a step forward toward improving the U.S.-Japan security system. Although the Cold War has ended, many destabilizing factors remain in East Asia, including the volatile situations on the Korean peninsula and between China and Taiwan. Peace cannot be guaranteed for Japan without stability in this part of the world. Under these circumstances, the new defense guidelines show the determination of the two countries to cooperate in ensuring peace and prosperity in the region and the world as a whole.... The guidelines said the scope of areas surrounding Japan is not a geographical concept, but a concept related to the 'nature' of a contingency... In order to maintain its deterrence force and to cope flexibly with a wide range of crises, a security pact need not specify the areas it covers."

"Misgivings And Unrest Cannot Be Erased"

An editorial in liberal Asahi held (9/24): "We cannot allow the new U.S.-Japan defense guidelines to become a mechanism under which America might force Japan automatically into a war. The only way to prevent this from happening is to establish a system of control by civilian politicians with a trustworthy understanding of security issues. It is important that the

government of Japan judge critically whether Japanese cooperation with the United States--in times of an emergency--contributes to the national interest--including Japan's security--in protecting Japanese rights, obtaining trust from neighboring countries and keeping the regional peace.... The government of Japan should not seize upon this as an opportunity to strengthen Japan's security legislation. China is wary of the new defense guidelines. South Korea and Southeast Asian countries also have mixed feelings--and a certain degree of concern--about the guidelines. Russia has shown an understanding of the need for the guidelines, but is also actively courting better ties with China."

CHINA: "U.S.-Japan Guidelines Counter To Trend Of The Times"

Official China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) ran this commentary (9/26) by Sun Wenqing: "There are no virtual differences between the final guidelines report and the earlier report (in June.)... A political critic pointed out that the new U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines reflect that the decision-makers of the United States and Japan are still, while handling the Asian issues, stuck in a Cold War mode of thinking. The so-called 'new guidelines'...go against the trend of the times."

"Foreign Affairs Spokesman On New Guidelines"

Official, English-language China Daily carried these remarks by a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (9/26): "'We believe that the practice of strengthening military alliances and expanding military cooperation run counter to the trends in...the Asia-Pacific region, which is witnessing relative political stability, sustained economic growth and an active security dialogue.' The spokesman pointed out that it is known to all that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. The Chinese government and people will never accept violations of or interference in China's sovereignty by directly or indirectly, including the Taiwan Strait, in the scope of U.S.-Japan defense cooperation."

"What Does 'Situation In Areas Surrounding Japan' Mean?"

Zhang Guocheng wrote in Official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 9/25): "The new guidelines give one the idea that Japan seems to be under an imminent threat. One wonders what leads the United States and Japan to have this idea.... Analysts believe that heated debates concerning the newest security revisions will be held in Japanese political and private circles alike.... The revision of the defense guidelines is an affair between Japan and the United States. Others will not interfere if this agreement is kept within the confines of these two countries. But such a contract is unacceptable if the two countries attempt to interfere in other regions using the excuse of 'the situation in areas surrounding Japan'".

"Dangerous Momentum In U.S.-Japan Military Cooperation"

According to Liu Wenyu, writing in Official Municipal Beijing Daily (Beijing Ribao, 9/25): "The new (defense cooperation) guidelines show that the U.S.-Japan military cooperation has apparently gone beyond the framework provided by the Treaty of U.S.-Japan Security and Protection. The 1978 guidelines focused on 'situations in Japan.' In the new guidelines, the focus has shifted to 'situations in areas surrounding Japan.'... This will enable Japanese defense troops to go abroad 'justifiably,' something Japan has long dreamed of. The new guidelines...attempt to include Taiwan, a part of Chinese territory, within the scope of the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation. Japan is strengthening its military alliance with the United States and expanding the scope of military cooperation. At the same time, Japan is also attempting to win the cooperation of relevant countries and 'comfort' them."

"A Move That Deserves Vigilance"

Chen Zhijiang insisted in intellectually-oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 9/25): "The new defense guidelines have turned into a brand new U.S.-Japan Security and Protection Treaty. According to the new guidelines, the U.S.-Japanese relationship has evolved from a narrow military cooperation into a comprehensive U.S.-Japan alliance. No matter what words the United States and Japan have used to enhance their defense cooperation, they have aroused unrest among the Asian countries and in the world. At present, what Japan most needs to do is not to shout loudly about the 'situation in areas surrounding Japan', but to contribute more to solving shared Asian problems involving the environment and food issues."

"Security Pact Dangerous"

Official, English-language China Daily ran these observations by Cong Ya (9/25): "We hope the two countries keep their security cooperation plan bilateral rather than targeting a third nation. The agreement in fact puts the vast Asia-Pacific region, far beyond the U.S. or Japanese boundaries, under its protection. Such actions contradict the Japanese constitution, which bars Japan from offensive military expansion. It is dangerous for the United States to encourage Japan; Japan might develop its military strength for 'justified' reasons. In this way, it makes peace and stability in this region uncertain."

TAIWAN: "U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines"

The centrist, pro status-quo China Times maintained (9/25): "U.S.-Japan defense cooperation is still the most important force for maintaining security in the Asia-Pacific region, and Japan will surely play an increasingly important role.... But as for Taiwan, the guidelines by no means...create a favorable environment for Taiwan's independence. Recognition of the one-China policy is still the framework set up by the three superpowers in the region--Washington, Tokyo and Beijing. Any influential [Taiwan political] party that advocates independence for Taiwan will be viewed as a troublemaker by the international community and will thus lose its chance of becoming the ruling party [of Taiwan]."

"Core Of Defense Guidelines"

In a separate editorial, the China Times also held (9/25): "Both Japan and the United States have stated their position clearly--they do not support Taiwan independence and they recognize the one-China policy. But they failed to specify how to resolve the Taiwan issue. Keeping the Taiwan issue vague best meets U.S. interests, allowing Washington to have more bargaining chips when negotiating with Beijing.... Were Taiwan given clearly stated protection [under the guidelines], and then provoke Beijing or declare independence, the United States and Japan would have to shoulder the burden of the war and responsibility for the island....(there) would be a war between two superpowers. Neither Washington nor Tokyo would dare to take such a risk, and Beijing certainly would not be not happy to see it. Thus, at the core of the new defense guidelines is an ambiguous gray area keeping the cross-Strait issue dangling and uncertain--and Taiwan will be a bargaining chip of the United States and Japan sooner or later. The new defense agreement is nothing but form [without substance]. We need not be too worried or too elated about it. After all, Taiwan's destiny is in the hands of others. That is the truth!"

SOUTH KOREA: "China Seeks Strategic Solidarity with Russia"

The Beijing correspondent for independent Dong-A Ilbo pointed out (9/27): "China is highly negative about the newly signed U.S.-Japan defense cooperation agreement, which it sees as a means for the United States and Japan to expand their influence in the region and, at the same time, isolate China. China also considers the agreement to be a tactic by Japanese ultra-rightists to take advantage of U.S. forces to curb Chinese influence in the region.

"Japan's being allowed to do what it wants and become a military power is what worries China most.... China acknowledges that the United States has played a dominant role in the region, and that this has contributed to some extent in curbing Japanese military aspirations.... China is modernizing its military and strengthening its strategic alliance with Russia. When a situation on the (Korean) peninsula causes the United States and Japan to engage in military operations according to the new guidelines, China will then decide how it wants to act."

"South Korea During A Crisis And Japanese Forces"

Conservative Chosun Ilbo insisted (9/26): "It may be that the United States and Japan have the right to establish emergency guidelines on a bilateral basis, whether it is on the Korean Peninsula or anywhere else, but when and if such guidelines...interfere with the interests of the third country, they overstep the boundaries of a bilateral agreement.... The Asian countries defined in the guidelines as neighbors of Japan are concerned that the Defense Cooperation Guidelines...may lead Japan to seek hegemony in Asia. Japan must be extremely careful that it not give the impression that expansion of its defense force operation area is the first stage of hegemony."

"U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines And The Korean Peninsula"

Pro-business Joong-ang Ilbo insisted (9/25): "The guidelines draw our attention because they could play a critical role in setting up a new security order in northeast Asia.... One aspect of the guidelines must be seen as a pledge of the two countries to cooperate for peace on the Korean Peninsula, and that aspect will be positive if the guidelines concentrate on strengthening the U.S. role for our defense against North Korea. Of course, one aspect (of the guidelines) that worries many of us in Asia...is the prospect of Japan's inflated military status, and of a steep enhancement of its role in regional security.... We are careful not to give Japan the impression that we approve of its rise as a strong military power. We are also concerned that the new agreement will complicate Asia's security if it is interpreted as a tactic for containing China. Already trying hard to strengthen its own military, a China provoked by the guidelines will certainly be a threat to security, heating up competition for better weapons.

"Attention To Japan's Increased Military Role"

Moderate Hankook Ilbo argued (9/25): "The new U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines have opened the door for Japanese forces to intervene militarily abroad, enormously changing the security prospects of the Korean peninsula. The U.S. endeavor to share defense costs with Japan and Japan's aspirations for an increased military role have now found common ground, reflected in these new guidelines and opening up the road toward Japan becoming a major military power. In the process, Japan has finally crossed the line drawn by its pacifist constitution, and is now allowed to conduct more military operations than just those for defensive purposes. Under the new ageement, Japan, in the event of conflict, will be allowed to supply weapons and ammunition by plane, get rid of mines, and inspect foreign ships--all beyond the scope of defense. At the conclusion of an eventual conflict, Japan may demand to be treated as a party fully involved in it. All this is counter to its pacifist constitution."

"U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines And Korean Peninsula"

In the view of conservative Segye Ilbo (9/25): "The guidelines have opened up the door for Japan to intervene militarily abroad. Its impact will be enormous, especially regarding the balance of power in the region."

AUSTRALIA: "Asia Casts Wary Eyes On Wartime Aggressor"

The liberal Melbourne Age argued (9/25): "The true significance of the guidelines will emerge only when both countries are faced with a crisis, and Japan is forced to decide where its national interest lies. As (it stands,) the guidelines seem to provide a balance between what the Japanese government would like to do in helping the United States and what it has said on numerous occasions about what it would do."

INDONESIA: "We Need To React On Changes In U.S.-Japan Accord"

Leading, independent Kompas observed (9/25): "Whatever the political intentions of the United States and Japan in modifying their defense pact, it still creates suspicion in this region. It is not unreasonable for us to keep in mind Japan's military record and the unpleasant effects of the continued U.S. military domination during this post-Cold War period. Nonetheless, we should appreciate Japan's good will in sending envoys to neighboring states to clarify the agreement. This is an effort to create mutual trust in the region on security affairs. As a nation that Japan takes into account, it is logical that we prepare a response concerning the defense accord, as surely they must also be expecting to hear our point of view on security issues."

SINGAPORE: "Triangulation, Not Confrontation"

The pro-government Business Times pointed out in an editorial (10/2): "Chinese leaders and several ASEAN officials (as well as some Japanese politicians and pundits) are worried that Washington could try to use its security cooperation with Tokyo as part of a new strategy to 'contain' China and to involve the Japanese in a possible military confrontation with Beijing in the Taiwan Strait. There are fears that this could lead to a three-way competition for regional influence. Such fears are understandable at a time when China-bashing seems to have become the most popular sport in Washingon, and when Sino-American diplomatic and trade friction--including military tensions over Taiwan--are running high....

"U.S. Officials insist that the focus of the revised treaty is not China, but the Korean peninsula.... In fact, both U.S. and Japanese leaders have expressed their support for a policy of 'triangulation,' of establishing a regional cooperative security framework that would include the United States, Japan and China. Seen from this perspective--which is wholly credible--the revised Japan-U.S. alliance should advance and not retard the push toward a secure and peaceful East Asian region."

"U.S., Japan Must Make Intentions Clear"

The pro-government Straits Times told its readers (9/26): "The U.S.-Japan security alliance, which has underpinned the American presence in Pacific Asia, cannot be impervious to the changes underway in the region.... The old arrangements visualized military cooperation if the Soviet Union invaded Japan, and did not oblige Tokyo to play any military role in a regional conflict in Asia unless it was attacked. The new guidelines enhance Japan's role.... To the extent that the revised guidelines are necessary to give credence to the U.S. presence, that reinvigoration will continue to help ensure the stability of the Asia-Pacific....

"Concerns are felt particularly by China, which is not only worried over any prospects of revived Japanese militarism but has also responded angrily to the notion...that the enhanced guidelines include conflicts in the Taiwan Strait. Giving them that scope would constitute intervention in China's internal affairs, which include the Chinese mainland's relations with Taiwan. The guidelines seek to assuage Beijing's suspicions...but ambiguity remains because the situational approach does not leave out situations in the Taiwan Strait. Matters were hardly helped by the Taiwanese premier's eager words of support for the treaty. The degree of acceptance which the guidelines can hope to win in Asia will depend on the extent to which the United States and Japan can convince countries of its purpose."

THAILAND: "The World's Tripod"

Trairat Soontornprapat commented (10/4) in the mass circulation Daily News: "All told, the renewed U.S.-Japan defense cooperation is principally an attempt to contain China's (rising influence in the region).... The Japanese army, if formed as a result, would meet with opposition from nations in the region still harboring mistrust due to their experience with imperial Japan's wartime occupation of the region."

EUROPE

FRANCE: "China Afraid Of Being Cornered"

Jean Leclerc Du Sablon wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/25): "The strategic triangle formed by the United States, Japan and China gives every indication of being a stable one. The problem is that it is made up, on the one hand, of the Japanese-American diad, which is reinforcing its defense cooperation, and on the other, of the Chinese partner, which--despite signs that it wants to ride alone--is afraid of being pushed into a corner of the triangle."

ITALY: "Shivers In Far East--Protests Over U.S.-Japan Defense Pact"

Andrea di Robilant, reporting from Washington for centrist, influential La Stampa, judged (9/25): "The new security pact between the United States and Japan...has reawakened old fears in the Pacific region and prompted a tough diplomatic protest from China and a 'concerned' reaction from South Korea.... China believes the accord is 'unacceptable.' The problem concerns mainly Taiwan, since it is no mystery that one of the goals of the new treaty is to discourage Chinese military action aimed at reconquering the island.... Even though the text of the agreement does not refer explicitly to Taiwan, China sees it as 'interference' by the United States and Japan with Beijing's sovereignty.... The new agreement seems destined to spoil preparations for the historic U.S.-China summit to be held in the United States in November. "

"China, Korea Warn Washington"

PDS (leading government party) daily L'Unita argued (9/25): "Washington and Tokyo called them the new 'guidelines' of an old defense pact. But this is a euphemistic formula coined to avoid frightening neighboring countries, which could feel threatened by Japan's stronger military involvement. This rhetorical trick, however, does not seem to have convinced Beijing and Seoul. Both have already expressed their concern and asked for a clarification."

RUSSIA: "Sign of Trouble In Sea Of Japan"

Reformist, business-oriented weekly VEK (# 36, 9/26) commented editorially: "Islands in the Sea of Japan are, and will evidently remain for a while, 'a zone of potential diplomatic upheavals,' as proven by a military exercise U.S. Marines carried out off the Russian border recently." VEK then ran this comment by Vadim Markushin: "The exercise on Hokkaido is only the beginning. The Americans aren't likely to stop and will act on a wider and more systematic basis. If so, Russia, Japan and the United States must face up to more tension in their relations, given the proximity of the Kuril Islands, the notorious 'northern territories.' The just-signed defense cooperation guidelines between the United States and Japan have caused concern and even official protests in a number of Southeast Asian countries, which discern in it a tendency to increase Japan's military role in the alliance."

"NATO In Europe, Guidelines In Asia"

Vasily Golovnin of ITAR-TASS filed from Tokyo for reformist Izvestia (9/25): "Expanding the U.S.-Japanese military alliance is in a way comparable to NATO's expansion. Washington and Tokyo, naturally, call it a new major contribution to peace and stability in the Pacific. China calls it a direct threat to security. Moscow, it seems, is inclined to consider the U.S.-Japanese alliance as a means to contain China and North Korea. It is as if it does not concern us, so we don't have to worry. Seeing that, Washington and Tokyo did not enter Moscow on the list of the capitals to be briefed individually on the aims of the alliance."

"Moscow Takes Its Time"

Andrei Ivanov observed in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (9/25): "China considers the new (U.S-Japanese) treaty a threat to its security. Russia is taking its time, evidently owing to its having yet to develop a concept of relations with Japan."

BELGIUM: "Complex Triangle In Far East"

Asian affairs writer Freddy De Pauw noted in independent Catholic De Standaard (9/25): "The Americans--and the Asians who suffered from Japanese militarism--have hitherto believed that Beijing had a great interest in a strong U.S.-Japanese security pact in which the Americans keep Japan's 'self-defense' under control. Today, however, Japan is being given a wider role--which can hardly leave Beijing indifferent. China's leaders are taking exception to the possibility that the Japanese-U.S. military cooperation also covers Taiwan and its vicinity, which allows the United States to intervene in case of a military conflict over Taiwan.... Moreover, Beijing is suspicious that Japan and the United States want to curtail China's growing influence in the area. Beijing will certainly not be satisfied with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's declaration that the revision of the treaty with Japan is not directed against China. China's leaders also have to take into account their public opinion, which is very suspicious of Japan. Japanese attempts to push aside their own war activities of the past make the Chinese blood boil.... Yet, both Washington and Tokyo strongly believe that Beijing's protest will have few consequences in practice. To date, when it comes to the point, China's leaders have always behaved pragmatically. Japan's major investments in Manchuria are more than welcome."

BULGARIA: "Tokyo Dons Gendarme's Uniform"

Bulgarian Socialist Party Duma observed (9/25): "Given anti-war sentiment in the 'Land of the Rising Sun' as well as the disagreement (in Japan over) the existence of American military bases, one may expect that the government of the Liberal Democratic Party will be exposed to vigorous attacks on the part of powerful Pacific organizations and of the whole society.... The reaction from neighboring countries, for example, China, is even more important. It is quite instructive that both the United States and Japan hastened to comfort China immediately after the agreement was made public, stating that the treaty 'was not directed against third countries.'... The strengthening of U.S.-Japan military relations in a way that changes Tokyo's role in the region for the first time since 1947, is not only provocative, but also threatens the Asia-Pacific region with new escalations of tension."

POLAND: "Washington-Tokyo Military Alignment Expanded"

Under the headline, "Japanese To Help The Marines," centrist Rzeczpospolita ran this piece (9/25) by New York correspondent Sylwester Walczak: "The new agreement has aroused a wave of protests in Japan.... The Japanese government may find it difficult to ratify the new treaty in parliament.... By expanding its alignment with the United States, Japan may be able to play a greater role in the Asian political scene. Tokyo, however, does not want to increase China's concerns

"A few weeks ago, Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto paid a visit to Beijing to assure [the Chinese] of Japan's good intentions in this alignment with the United States."

"Who Is Afraid Of Geo-Changes In The Pacific?"

Center-left Gazeta Wyborcza maintained (9/25): "[Japan's] Asian neighbors fear that the agreement marks the beginning of an expansion of Japanese military power and an increasing military rivalry between Tokyo and Beijing over the position of regional superpower.... The new treaty with the United States may anticipate changes in the [Japanese] constitution and be a step towards the restoration of Japan's military power. If it were not for constitutional restrictions and social limitations [pacifistic attitudes prevail in the nation,] Japan, with its strong economy, financial resources and the most sophisticated technology, could quickly grow to become a superpower equal to the United States."

SOUTH ASIA

BANGLADESH: "Will This Initiate New U.S.-China Cold War?"

In the view of conservative, Bangla-language Ittefaq (10/4), "Modernization and expansion of U.S.-Japan defense cooperation has become necessary for shifting a portion of the military expenditure onto Japan's shoulders to preserve the interests of the United States and the countries within its sphere in Asia. Thus, the issue of allowing Japan to deploy its troops outside of its territory and to participate in other military activities has come under consideration. But Japan's neighbors, especially those who were oppressed by it in World War II, have strong objections. And the objection is not without reason. The money Japan spends for its self-defense force is the third highest military expenditure in the world. Therefore, neighboring countries are naturally afraid of Japan. Nevertheless, they are reluctantly thinking of allowing Japan to participate on a regional basis while China tries to modernize and expand its military forces. Against this backdrop, the outline for expanding and modernizing the U.S.-Japan military cooperation has been announced. Now the question is whether this will initiate a new U.S.-China cold war in Asia, if not in the entire world."

"U.S.-Japan Security Guidelines"

Pro-ruling party (Awami League) Banglar Bani ran this editorial (9/30): "These days, efforts are seen to forge a greater understanding in defense matters between Japan and the United States, which has caused a commotion in the Chinese capital. Some there think that, although Japan is no longer belligerent, cooperation in defense matters may embolden Taiwan's separatist warlords.... In order to remove the atmosphere of mutual distrust, an official of the U.S. Department of Defense said that the understanding will not harm China in any way. He urged China to examine relevant papers regarding the understanding.... In fact, no one in the United States or Japan wants to keep the understanding secret....

"Japan has invited not only China, but all the nations of the region to attend a meeting next month to examine the accord. The invited nations of Southeast Asia, including China, can remove their doubts at this meeting. We believe these open activities of the United States and Japan should be praised. What can be better than if mutual friendship and cooperation replace mutual suspicion and distrust?"

LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN

ARGENTINA: "A Region With Pending Debts: Is Asia Really Peaceful?"

Sergio Cesarin, international analyst for business-financial El Cronista, wrote (9/25): "The signing of the Defense Cooperation Treaty between the United States and Japan is the factual expression of the growing fears the latter has regarding mainland China....

"In this context, Japan feels it has to face major challenges on its way to the 21st century as a consequence of the inexorable deterioration of Asia's political situation, which justifies the modernization of its military apparatus. Therefore, negotiations between both countries in terms of security issues have taken place in the framework of what is being called 'working in new defense roles vis-a-vis a possible crisis scenario in the Far East.' The Korean peninsula, China, and Taiwan-China are the most sensitive areas. Here, the key thing the United States must define is what Japan will be able and will not be able to do vis-a-vis a military conflict. Nevertheless, Japan is expected to carry out a leading role in terms of its own defense and to count on 'more freedom' to decide to use preventive mechanisms in case of aggression and to operate more freely under the principle of 'self-defense,' something which...is not expressly included in its (1947) constitution."

For more information, please contact:

U.S. Information Agency

Office of Public Liaison

Telephone: (202) 619-4355

4/7/98

# # #