Country Reports

The winter brought disappointing news regarding Japanese foreign policy on many fronts, but at least the worst-case scenario at the Trump-Kim Hanoi summit was avoided. The hopes for a breakthrough with Russia with accelerated diplomacy were dashed in three high-level meetings in January and February. The momentum built with the October Abe-Xi summit was scarcely sustained amidst nervousness of where the trade war between Washington and Beijing could lead. Ties with South Korea went from bad to worse. Strains in Japan-US relations could hardly be ignored as warnings mounted over US demands when Japan-US trade talks commenced and over host-nation support. Below, I concentrate on China and Russia, while planning coverage on the Korean Peninsula for the next country report and starting with glimpses of the big picture.

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