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2016年9月 6日 (火)

米中首脳会談 アジア安定に心残りはないか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Do Obama, Xi regret their summit talks didn’t do much for Asian stability?
米中首脳会談 アジア安定に心残りはないか

Given that both sides seemingly went to pains to give the appearance of getting along while putting aside pending questions over China’s high-handed maritime advances, this cannot be described as a relationship between responsible major powers.

U.S. President Barack Obama has held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit meeting of the Group of 20 major and emerging economies.

This was the first time Obama and Xi have met since a ruling by an arbitration court completely rejected China’s territorial claims over much of the South China Sea. Obama stressed that the “principles of international law” must be upheld and called on China to abide by the court’s ruling.

It is unacceptable that Xi insisted China would “firmly continue to protect its sovereignty and maritime rights” in the South China Sea. Beijing has called on Washington to play a “constructive role” in dealing with this issue, but it is China that is raising tensions in the region and challenging the U.S.-led order there.

It was unfortunate that this last chance for Obama to draw out a compromise from China before his term ends in January 2017 failed to produce a positive result.

Obama has avoided a sharp split in U.S.-China ties and has pushed a conciliatory approach that placed emphasis on expanding cooperation. This strategy was dependent on a positive change from China, but we think Obama ended up being viewed by Xi as merely an “opponent who is easily taken advantage of.”

U.S. must stand up to China

Xi has broken a promise he made last year that China had no intention of boosting the militarization of manmade islands in the South China Sea, and has accelerated the building of runways and radar installations on the islands. The prospect of China establishing an air defense identification zone is becoming a reality.

China probably intends to complete the creation of this military foothold while the Obama administration is still in office. Among the nations affected by these developments, there is growing dissatisfaction that the U.S. response has always been a step behind.

The United States must stand at the forefront of efforts to maintain stability in the South China Sea and strengthen the pressure being applied on China. It is essential that patrol activities conducted by U.S. military vessels and aircraft are stepped up around the manmade islands.

Xi’s announcement that he opposes the planned deployment of the United States’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea also cannot be overlooked.

North Korea is continuing its dangerous provocations, including testing a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Deploying THAAD is an urgent task. China must adopt a tougher stance toward North Korea and ensure sanctions against Pyongyang are thoroughly enforced.

Before the Obama-Xi talks, the leaders announced both nations had ratified the Paris Agreement, the international framework for measures to combat global warming from 2020. This collaboration by the world’s two largest emitters is a significant step toward the agreement coming into force before the end of this year.

There was no change in Xi’s assertions on human rights issues and Chinese cyber-attacks on U.S. companies and other entities, two issues of concern for the United States.

It seems progress can be expected only in fields where it will be to China’s advantage.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 5, 2016)


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