Can Prime Minister Abe, U.S. President-elect Trump unite on China?

Disir

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s meeting next week with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may mark the start of talks to garner Japan’s support for a push back against China’s growing influence in Asia, a security adviser to Trump said.

In the face of a rising China and a volatile North Korea, Trump’s campaign comments, including a demand that Japan pay more for the upkeep of U.S. forces on its soil, have worried Tokyo about a rift in a security alliance with Washington that has been the bedrock of its defense since World War II.

A tougher stance against China, however, and a call for Japan to play a bigger security role through a Trump-Abe axis would fit with Abe’s hawkish policies that include allowing the military to operate more freely overseas.

Abe will meet Trump in New York on Thursday before going to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru.

Trump was looking to Japan “to play a more active role in Asia,” the adviser said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Abe, he added, was “a uniquely placed figure to offer leadership in the alliance.”

Senior U.S. Navy commanders have said they would welcome joint air and sea patrols with Japan’s military in the disputed South China Sea, where the construction of island bases is extending Beijing’s influence.
Can Prime Minister Abe, U.S. President-elect Trump unite on China? | The Japan Times

And so it begins.
 

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Duterte tries to defuse tensions with maritime sanctuary...

Duterte to Declare Disputed Area a No-Fishing Zone for All
NOV. 21, 2016 — A Philippine official says President Rodrigo Duterte will issue a formal order declaring a sprawling lagoon in a disputed shoal a maritime sanctuary where Filipinos and Chinese will be prohibited from fishing.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said in a statement Monday that Duterte relayed his plan to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the just-concluded Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru.

Cabinet officials present at the meeting say Xi did not say whether he agreed or not to Duterte's plan in the Scarborough Shoal.

China seized Scarborough in 2012 after a tense standoff with the Philippines. Duterte's plan is delicate because it may imply Philippine territorial control in a strategic shoal, which China guards with coast guard ships.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/11/21/world/asia/ap-as-philippines-south-china-sea.html?_r=0
See also:

General: As Pacific Grows More Unstable, the Fight is Coming
Nov 18, 2016 | Marines in the Pacific are being prepared for a coming conflict, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Division said this week.
With uncertain new leadership in allied countries and the sabre-rattling of hostile states growing louder, Marines in the Pacific are being prepared for a coming conflict, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Division said this week. Speaking at Marine Corps Association's Ground Dinner near Washington, D.C., Thursday night, Maj. Gen. Richard Simcock made a plea for more amphibious ships in the region and increased collaboration with the Navy as the region braces anticipates a future that may include a confrontation or contingency involving a powerful regional competitor. "The fight that's coming, we're not going to be able to get a hodgepodge, hillbilly organization and just throw three [Marine Expeditionary Units] together and say that's a [Marine Expeditionary Brigade] and we can land the landing force," he said. "We're not training with our Navy brethren; we're not doing the things that are going to carry us to victory in the fight that is clearly coming out of the Pacific. Those are the biggest issues that I deal with right now."

Recent upheavals in the region, he said, included the death in October of the 88-year-old king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, a beloved ruler who leaves an uncertain political future in his son, the crown prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Meanwhile, the newly elected Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in June, has repeatedly made headlines with his hostility toward the U.S. and insults and rebukes to President Barack Obama. "The things that we did in the Philippines and things like Balikatan are in question," Simcock said, naming a major U.S.-Philippines exercise held in the spring and taking its name from the Tagalog word for "shoulder-to-shoulder." This year's exercise involved 5,000 U.S. troops. Duterte said in September that he wanted to end all joint war games with the U.S., with next spring's Balikatan being the last. "If there such a thing as key terrain, the Philippines is it," Simcock said. "This archipelago of seven thousand islands is critical to us."


U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Simcock II, commanding general of 3rd Marine Division, talks a group of his Marines on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan​

North Korea, a longtime source of instability in the region, is "popping off nuclear missiles like it's cool," Simcock said. "Our South Korean allies, it's all we can do to say, 'don't go.' Maybe they need to go." All this comes as one of the largest powers in the region, China, has added infrastructure to contested islands in the South China sea in what Navy Adm. Harry Harris, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, has called a clear act of militarization. While Simcock said he works with new seabasing platforms, designed to be a stopgap as the Navy and Marine Corps grapple with a shortage of available amphibious ships, they lack the combat survivability and many of the troop-carrying features of traditional amphibious ships. "What if I had four or five ships that we dedicated to the division and the combat power that we could bring to bear at the place and time of our choosing?" he said.

Despite the challenges, Simcock said the Marines under his command would be prepared to take on any mission. "Our commandant [Gen. Robert Neller], when he came out, he looked at me and said, 'the fight is coming. I looked at him and said, 'Commandant, you're absolutely right,'" Simcock said. "He said, 'Richard, your boys ready? I said, 'absolutely they're ready, no doubt about it.'"

General: As Pacific Grows More Unstable, the Fight is Coming | Military.com
 

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