The United States, Japan, and China

Setting the Course

Neil E. Silver

A Council on Foreign Relations Paper

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CONTENTS Foreword—Lawrence J. Korb Acknowledgments Executive Summary Uncertain New Directions Chinese-Japanese Dynamics: Post–World War II America’s Strategic and Tactical Choices Promoting Security Promoting Dialogue The Results of Dialogue: Modest to Date Challenges in the Next Five Years Recommendations v vii


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FOREWORD During the twentieth century, as the United States grew into a world power, Americans confronted two major powers in Asia: China and Japan. Of course there were and are other crucial factors in Asia, from the expansionist former Soviet Union to the unpredictable North Korea. But in this century, Americans struggled most of all to get their China and Japan policies right. There is no reason to believe that Chinese and Japanese issues will be less central to American policy in the 21st century. The high costs of policy failure, including the scores of thousands of Americans killed and wounded in the Pacific theater during World War II and later in Korea and Indochina, and the fear of only a decade ago that Japan might overtake America economically focused Americans on ‘‘threats,’’ real and imaginary, coming from Japan and China. While perhaps not widely appreciated by Americans, the perceptions and misperceptions held by Chinese and Japanese about each other are as complicated as those that have driven American policy toward those two countries. As noted by Neil Silver, the United States never had good relations simultaneously with China and Japan during the last century (except for a relatively brief period in the latter part of the Cold War). American foreign policy practitioners and analysts argue that relations among the three countries should not be pursued as a zero-sum game. Yet, as Silver points out, ‘‘American(s) . . . have typically framed relations with China and Japan separately, not in parallel.’’ Besides casting critical light on the recent trilateral dynamics among the three nations, Silver offers a number of practical recommendations for how America can best advance its interests with both China and Japan. Lawrence J. Korb Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Director of Studies Council on Foreign Relations [v]

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author wrote this monograph while on sabbatical as the State Department Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. The author owes a deep debt of gratitude to members of the Council on Foreign Relations Roundtable on U.S.-JapanChina Relations, which met in early 1999. Special thanks go to Donald Zagoria, chair of the three roundtable sessions, and to Patrick Cronin, Bates Gill, Bonnie Glaser, Michael Mochizuki, James Przystup, and Ronald Montaperto, all of whom unstintingly shared their research and insights at the roundtable, thus contributing immeasurably to the findings in this monograph. Several individuals graciously agreed to read and comment on various drafts, including Edward Fogarty, Bates Gill, Bonnie Glaser, Michael Green, Herbert Levin, Winston Lord, Benjamin Self, Robert Manning, and Ezra Vogel. Their insights and suggestions were extremely helpful. While perhaps it should go without saying, any sins of commission or omission, of course, rest solely with the author. Special thanks go to a number of Council staff members, including Alicia Siebenaler, whose cheerful advice and effective support at every stage of this project, from its initial research, to arranging and reporting on the three roundtables, through editing of various drafts, and on to publication, made this monograph possible; Connie Stagnaro and other members of the Council library staff for their resourceful support; and Patricia Dorff, for her patience and wise counsel throughout the publishing process. Finally, the views and opinions expressed are solely the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Department of State.