Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

The Need for A Peace Initiative in Post-Kim Dynasty East Asia
HANABUSA Masamichi / Former Ambassador to Italy

March 9, 2017
The USA and North Korea seem to move on a quick collision course. Should this continue unchanged, it would not be a surprise to see, within a year, the USA embark on a military action with certain limited objectives to prevent North Korea from further developing its nuclear and chemical weapons. It is easy to imagine that the forthcoming visit of US Secretary of State Tillerson to Northeast Asia is for the purpose of preparing the ground in this direction with the governments of the region. The reasons for this speculation are as follows:

First, North Korea’s development of operational nuclear weapons and their delivery systems has moved ahead so much that their efforts are no longer conceived as deterrent-building by a weak nation to sustain its existence. Rather, it now constitutes an "existential" threat not only to its neighbors but even to the United States, thus providing a rationale for “surgical” removal of the threat, in the absence of any sign of Chairman Kim Jong-un changing heart.

Second, China (and equally Russia for the matter) would not consider it to be in its vital interest to cause America to desist from military action with limited objectives in the Korean Peninsular in the context of an anticipated "deal" with President Trump. For China and Russia, the Kim Dynasty in North Korea could turn out to be a dispensable pawn, given some appropriate quid pro quo. China has not taken effective action to resolve the North Korean issue throughout the futile Six-Power consultations that dragged on since 2003. As a result, it is no longer possible for China to protect, in the international arena, Kim Jong-un who is bent on pursuing highly dangerous policies. In that sense, it could be argued that the 8 years’ "strategic patience" by President Obama was not at all meaningless.

Third, President Trump needs to maintain credibility in order to tackle the time-consuming task of resetting the American economy. The quickest way to do this would be a spectacular achievement in the military-diplomatic field.

With these premises, Prime Minister Abe has a golden opportunity to undertake an "active peace diplomacy" to construct peace in East Asia following the collapse of the Kim Dynasty. His already phenomenally close personal relationship with President Trump will be of immense help. He must seriously contemplate how to turn the climactic denouement into an opportunity to ease tension in East Asia. The crux of his action is to take a bold initiative looking towards long-term stability in Japan-China relations. It is not easy to penetrate the deep Beijing smog to have a clear idea of China's foreign policy orientations under the leadership to be decided at the Communist Party Congress in the coming autumn. The success of the patriotic education started by Jiang Zemin in heightening patriotism has dramatically consolidated the centrifugal power among the Chinese people. So much so that China seems to have exonerated itself from the fear of “regime change” by external influences. Unless China intends seriously to grab the Senkaku islands from Japan by force, it should therefore be possible for China to tone down its confrontational activities towards the islands.

Japan's possible new peace initiatives should aim at eliminating the Chinese concern about the Japan-USA alliance moving against China. This would require, on the part of Japan, the wisdom to take calculated risks. First, Japan must come out with some face-saving device that would enable China to return to the famous formula proposed by Deng Xiaoping to leave the resolution of this knotty issue to the "wisdom of future generations". Second, Japan must send to China some well-thought-out messages assuring stability and development of the post-Kim Dynasty North Korea. Such messages include, among others, Japanese support for the conclusion of the Peace Accord between America and nuclear-free North Korea as well as for some concrete international framework that assures for China an eventually united Korea not hostile towards China. Japanese promise of economic assistance to nuclear-free North Korea may be helpful. Ultimately, Japan could push forward a scheme in favor of the establishment of a nuclear-free zone covering not only the Korean Peninsular but also Japan itself.

The last-mentioned scheme of the Northeast Asian Nuclear-free Zone would hopefully induce China to reconfirm the "Five Peace Principles" including mutual non-aggression and peaceful co-existence. As is well known, these principles were recognized as the fundamental rules to regulate the Japan-China relations in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship concluded by the two nations in 1978. The writer is firmly convinced that such a scheme would usher in a long-term comprehensive plan for peace in East Asia. China could be encouraged to respond with positive proposals for peace transcending low-level efforts to avoid haphazard military conflicts.

Masamichi Hanabusa is Emeritus Chairman of the ESUJ. He is also the author of "The World is to be Transformed by President Trump--Japan's Options for Independent Diplomacy and Security Strategy" (in Japanese), published recently from Art Days Publishers.)
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

英 正道 / 元駐イタリア大使

2017年 3月 9日








筆者は本連盟の名誉会長で、最近出版された「トランプ登場で激変する世界 自立した日本外交と安全保障戦略(アートデイズ社刊)の著者である。

一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟

English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > The Need for A Peace Initiative in Post-Kim Dynasty East Asia