The President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, have agreed to solidify relationship against North Korea. The two world leaders had an hour long phone call in which the two agreed to take “concrete actions” against North Korean aggression. Abe has expressed the need to heighten their defense systems as well as their capabilities for defense in order to curb North Korean aggression peacefully.
Trump reaffirmed the ironclad relationship between the two allies and the United State’s commitment to defending Japan. The two Pacific powers have stood against the tyranny of North Korea alongside South Korea’s fight to keep its independence. Tensions have always been high in the region as the ceasefire that ended the war almost 60 years ago still keeps an unsteady balance. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea still has troops deployed on either side in case of an outbreak of war.
Despite a brutal conflict that took place in the 1950s, the United States and Japan have tried to enter peaceful negotiations with North Korea but they are constantly rejected. Economic sanctions and military exercises have not done enough to curb the aggression from North Korea as their state media threatens to destroy major US population centers every week. Japan and the United States knows that the international community, especially Russia and China, has seen them try to do things peacefully and yet they have gotten nowhere with the small communist nation.
The phone call took place after another North Korean Hwasong-14 missile, believed to be an ICBM, failed its launch. North Korea has been funneling resources into their nuclear program and has consistently come up short time and time again. Dictator of North Korea Kim Jong Un has stated his hatred for the the United States publicly and his relationship with regional power China has only made matters more complicated. Chinese President Xi has stated that they will to stop North Korean aggression but has failed to do so, instead the Chinese build infrastructure and trade routes all across Central and Southeast Asia.
Despite the recent resignation of the Japanese Defense Minister, the commitment to defend South Korea has kept the relationship between the governments of Japan and the United States strong. They have called for more actions to be taken by the international community against North Korea but almost all of the uses of soft power, financial or trade restrictions, on North Korea seem to be useless. Embargoes and blockades have not stopped the North Koreans from growing their nuclear program and sanctions have not stopped other nations like Russia, China, and Iran from trading with them.
Trump has taken matters into his own hand as he blatantly called out the Chinese for their lack of action. One of his tweets claims they are all talk and their own aggression is trickling down. The aggression Trump is talking about is all of the activity taking place in the South China Sea, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and even East Africa as infrastructure projects and Chinese workers seek to increase their dominance in these areas. President Xi’s “One Belt One Road” project has promised huge new infrastructure projects across the globe that have many worried the routes will be used for war.
Xi has expressed that the roads stretching from China’s East Coast towards West China, Pakistan, and towards the Caspian Sea will only be used for trade as the Chinese President hopes to reignite the ancient Silk Road that had long been used to transport goods from China to beyond. The Chinese have also taken on huge maritime projects such as deep water ports in Pakistan capable of harboring large cargo or warships. It is safe to say that the Chinese certainly are looking to expand their power both on the land and on the sea all while employing Chinese workers across the globe.
World leaders are right to be worrisome about these large projects as the Chinese have demonstrated their desire to not only increase their trade capacity but also their military effectiveness. There is only one that moves safer and faster on roads than goods and that is an army, nations like are right to be troubled as their longtime regional rivals Pakistan are soon to have a direct highway between the nations for the first time in history.
China must recognize the situation that the Japanese and Americans are in as their homes are constantly threatened with nuclear holocaust despite every peaceful negotiation tactic being used against their neighbor. With China the globe again, it seems safe to say that the United States and Japan must rely on each other to overcome this troublesome problem.