Farewell Free Trade? The Trump Administration’s Approach to Asia Trade Policy
The three leading economies in Asia – China, Japan and South Korea – met last week. The heads of state met in the Chinese city of Chengdu and pledged to expedite their long-standing free trade negotiations.
The total volume of transactions between the participants in the discussion to more than $ 700 billion in 2018.
But despite the benevolent mood, leaders recognize that there is a bitter historical legacy between countries, driven by military conflicts..
Japan is at the center of all these difficulties. China continues to honor the victims of World War II Japanese occupation, while South Korea does not forget about the enslavement of its people by Japanese colonial rule and Tokyo’s alleged refusal to pay war reparations.
In addition, China and South Korea are in disputes with Japan over unresolved territorial claims in the East China Sea and Sea of Japan.. Countries view these issues as fundamental, determining their sovereignty and territorial integrity..
Yet Japan’s pragmatism and exports keep its economy afloat.
Japanese officials said that stability in the East — China Sea Needed To Improve Relations With China, Tokyo’s Largest Trading Partner.
Tokyo asks Beijing to drop its territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands, which are currently under Japanese rule. China considers this option unacceptable, and considers the islands as part of its inalienable territory..
In addition, Japan raises issues of human rights in China, ongoing unrest in Hong Kong and problems with the Uyghur population in China’s Xinjiang province..
It is quite expected that Beijing was indignant at all this and reminded Tokyo that these are the internal problems of the country..
Beijing and Tokyo need document on new relations ahead of Chinese President’s visit Xi Jinping to Japan next April.
Also at stake worth $ 144 billion in Japanese exports to China. It was nearly one-fifth of Japan’s total overseas merchandise sales in 2018.
Japan’s problems with South Korea are not as significant as those with China, but they are overshadowed by 35-year Japanese colonial rule.. The most recent incident was triggered by a Korean court’s decision to pay compensation for forced labor by a Japanese company.. Tokyo rejected this decision, arguing that such issues were settled by a 1965 bilateral treaty..
The deterioration in Japanese-Korean relations led to a boycott of Japanese products, which caused sharp the fall Japanese exports to South Korea by 11.6% for the first ten months of the current year. Further deterioration in trade is inevitable because none of the problems will be resolved anytime soon..
On trade and finance, Japan and South Korea need China more than China needs them. Last year, China’s sales to Japan and South korea accounted for about half of what China sold to the United States, and less than two-thirds of sales of Chinese goods to the European Union.
Therefore, at the moment, Beijing is trying to establish close political ties with Tokyo and Seoul..