Tuesday 17 Jul 2018 | 12:11 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 17 Jul 2018 | 12:11 | SYDNEY

Obama and the Washington-Tokyo-Beijing triangle


Malcolm Cook

3 February 2009 10:42

The new Obama administration faces a similar challenge to the Rudd one when it came to power in late 2007: how to manage their expanding relations with China and their traditionally strong ones with Japan given the deep sense of mistrust between Tokyo and Beijing and Japanese worries about being isolated?

Both Prime Minister Howard in Australia and President Bush in the US had done a good job of this, making it more important and trickier for their successors to do the same. The new Rudd administration suffered some early missteps on this issue but has worked hard to rectify the situation since.

The first signs of how the Obama administration will deal with the diplomacy and substance of this are appearing. It is reported that Japan will be the first Asian visit for Secretary of State Clinton who, in her confirmation hearings, reinforced the importance of alliance relationships. At the same time, the Obama administration is reported to be considering elevating the US-China strategic dialogue and expanding its remit beyond economic relations.