3. Roadblocks in Japan's plan to counter China
Axios' Erica Pandey writes: Trump thought Japan was taking advantage of the U.S. in the 1980s, but now it's his closest partner in confronting a new rival — China.
The U.S., India and Australia have joined Japan in its apprehension about China's widening influence, in part because China is starting to infiltrate their own neighborhoods. Chinese cash has reached Latin America's shores, and its ships are appearing in the Indian Ocean.
Japan's plan is to use the Trans-Pacific Partnership as its key tool and to be an alternative development and funding source for projects in Indonesia, Burma and Vietnam, experts tell Axios.
Yes, but: The Trump administration is complicating Japan's plan. For instance, Japan was surprised it was not exempted from Trump's steep tariffs on steel and aluminum. However, it's still banking on U.S. doubts about China's intentions.
The bottom line: The U.S. and Japan agree on the threat posed by an increasingly ambitious China. But Japan wants to counter China through international partnerships, while the Trump administration is actively retreating from those alliances in favor of going after Beijing alone.
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