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SPECIAL REPORT 37

"Trialogue": U.S.-Japan-China Relations and Asian-Pacific Stability

Sino-Japanese Dialogue

As the weakest bilateral link in the triangular relationship, improvement and broadening of Sino-Japanese cooperation may require special efforts. It is particularly important that the recent warming of relations between Washington and Beijing also be reflected in Sino-Japanese relations; otherwise, China might become a controversial issue in U.S.-Japan relations. In the wake of the second summit in a year, the U.S. Administration's sustained attention to China has become an issue requiring reassurance and explanation by American officials visiting Tokyo.

The central task for Chinese and Japanese policymakers will be to define expectations for the future of Sino-Japanese relations in the context of other Chinese relationships. China's active international diplomacy has succeeded in establishing healthy bilateral relations with every leading nation; relations with Russia and the United States (and even France) are "strategic," but how might one characterize relations between China and Japan, the major nations of Northeast Asia? The agenda for such a relationship must be defined more broadly and more "strategically" than simply returning to the issues of Japan's historical legacy and Taiwan. It also requires the active development and articulation of a clear Japanese diplomatic strategy for overcoming historical legacies and creating healthier relationships in the region. How Beijing and Tokyo might develop a common agenda that contributes to the perpetuation of peace, prosperity, and stability in the Asia-Pacific may be a key factor in determining the shape of regional relations in the twenty-first century.

See the complete list of Institute reports. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Institute of Peace, which does not advocate specific policies.

 


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