CHINA TOPIX

Updated 6:02 PM EDT, Wed, Apr 01, 2020

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Trump Seeks Tokyo's Support to Counter China's Growing Influence in Asia

Trump Seeks Tokyo Support to Counter China's Growing Influence in Asia

(Photo : Getty Images) US President-elect Donald Trump will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to talk about China's growing presence in Asia

US President-elect Donald Trump is set to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next week in what experts believe would be the start of US-Japan talks on measures to counter the growing influence of China in Asia.

A top security adviser of Trump, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the president-elect would garner Tokyo's support and would push the country to " play a more active role in Asia."

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The adviser said Abe's unique position in the region presents an ideal leadership the push back against China.

Potential rift

Tokyo has expressed worry over a potential rift with Washington after Trump, in one of his campaign speeches, said Japan should pay more for the cost of maintaining US forces on its soil.

The political source said efforts to push back against China and the call for Japan to be more proactive in Asia bode well with Abe's hawkish foreign policies which include sending more military troops to operate overseas.

Numerous US Naval commanders have expressed willingness to join Japanese military in patrolling the disputed South China Sea.

New warships

Despite China's continuous construction of islands, Japan has refused to directly confront Beijing and has instead, made efforts to assist claimant countries. 

President-elect Trump has said that in his first 100 days in office, he plans to have dozens of new warships built that will be deployed to the disputed South China Sea.

"It would send a message to Beijing as well as allies Japan and South Korea and other nations that the U.S. is intent on being in Asia for a long time", he said.

U.S. officials, however, doubt the realization of Trump's plans of building new warships saying it would take time and would be difficult for his plans to happen.

"Ships can't be built overnight," a high-ranking U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Abe will meet with Trump in New York on Thursday en route to an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Peru. 

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