What is to bind America and the Far East?

The visit of US President George W.Bush to Far Eastern countries is to become the key event in foreign policy this week. The president will visit almost all countries of the region, except for North Korea. As was expected, the visit started with America's most reliable ally in the Far East, Japan. George Bush had planed to visit the country in autumn of 2001, but the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ruined such plans. The talks with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi touched upon the struggle with international terrorism and the actions of the Japanese leadership for the recovery of the national economy after the crisis. The choice of the problems for the discussion is not surprising: the anti-terrorist war was outlined as the US’s long-term strategy. The state of Japan’s economy is of considerable concern for Washington, as both countries, Japan and the USA, are closely connected in this sphere.

The talks in Tokyo were the easiest for the US president. Regarding his complete support of the reforms carried out by Koizumi, George Bush said, “I believe in Koizumi’s economic strategy and hope the prime minister will succeed with the implementation of the strategy. It is very important for Japan’s economy to start to improve, as it will also help the development of other countries.” In the words of George W.Bush, the alliance of the USA and Japan is the basis of peace and stability in the Asian Pacific region.

However, contradictions may arise between Japan and the USA regarding the international terrorism problem. Japan has received rather reservedly Bush’s statements concerning North Korea. The reasons for such discretion are quite evident. North Korea is quite close to the Japanese islands. In addition, Japan is one of the active mediators in the dialogue between South and North Korea.

The Japanese Prime Minister said at a press-conference held on the results of the talks that Japan supported the US’s struggle with international terrorism, but mentioned no exact information regarding Japan’s participation in the anti-terrorist operation.

Meanwhile, George Bush’s visit coincides with the expansion of US's presence in South-Eastern Asia. Associated Press informs that, in addition to the the military presence in Philippines, the US leadership is negotiating the improvement of military cooperation with Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. The US Congress has recently passed legislation according to which officers from South-Eastern Asia are to be trained within the network of the anti-terrorist campaign. The Central Investigating Agency is also secretly starting to arm and train anti-terrorist and intelligence services of the US’s allies, including those from the countries of South-Eastern Asia, stresses Associated Press. Washington’s officially declared objective is to strengthen the struggle with terrorism. However, the objective causes concern to China. It means that the coming talks in China will be rather difficult.

On the eve of Bush’s visit, Tokyo has initiated the creation of an alliance of Asian Pacific countries, including Russia and China, and certainly the USA, which is to be similar to NATO. Most likely, despite the friendly welcome to the US president in Japan, the Japanese leadership fears that it may be forced out of the solution to the region’s problems. This idea has been voiced. However, to tell the truth, under the present conditions, it can hardly be realized, as there are lots of contradictions between the parties.

Bush’s trip to the Far Eastern countries is aimed at the persuasion of the countries’ leadership to support the US struggle with international terrorism. It seems to be a very complicated task. The harsh statements of President Bush on the problem are obviously misunderstood by the co-negotiators.

Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/18/37218.html

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