U.S. Envoy to Japan Slams China over Economic Coercion

Jiji Press
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on Monday strongly criticized China for economic coercion against neighboring countries.

In a meeting hosted in Tokyo by the Research Institute of Japan, a Jiji Press affiliate, Emanuel also said that the leaders of the Group of Seven major countries are expected to discuss the nonuse of nuclear weapons and the creation of sufficient deterrent power at their summit meeting next month in Hiroshima, western Japan.

The U.S. envoy to Japan said that efforts to combat China’s use of economic power to impose its will on other countries were part of a battle between “freedom and oppression,” saying that this “must be dealt with in a collective way.”

“China’s economic coercion, China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ (assertive-style) diplomacy and China’s military buildup are all of a piece,” he said.

The ambassador said that Japan is seen exercising leadership in the G-7 over the issue, not just because of its geographical proximity to China but also because the country was the first to be targeted by economic coercion, when rare earth exports to Japan were banned in 2010 over a dispute concerning the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan. The East China Sea islands are claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.

The United States, Japan and other like-minded nations must collaborate so that they “can come to the defense of other countries that don’t have the political stamina of Japan, that don’t have the political capabilities of the Republic of Korea or Australia,” he said, mentioning countries targeted by Chinese boycotts and embargoes.

Emanuel refuted Beijing’s claims that Washington’s efforts to strengthen alliances in the Indo-Pacific were part of a containment policy, saying that such moves were in reaction to China’s economic aggression and military conflicts in the region.

“[China is] not a good neighbor,” he said, arguing that Beijing has repeatedly failed to abide by international rules.

The envoy praised Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for making “Europe understand their interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” noting that Japan was one of the first countries to provide the continent with liquefied natural gas amid tensions with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, and that the Japanese leader was able to convince European leaders that “what happens in the Indo-Pacific has a direct bearing on European values, European security and European interests.”

Regarding discussions on a nuclear-free world slated for the upcoming G-7 summit, Emanuel stressed that there were no contradictions between aiming for a world without nuclear weapons and Washington’s “extended deterrence” protecting Japan and other allies under its nuclear umbrella.

“Extended deterrence is your insurance policy to enforce the principle” of not using nuclear weapons, he said, noting that Moscow and other powers could not be trusted to abide by their promise to not use such weapons.