Country Reports

The late fall of 2020 was eventful for Japanese foreign relations because it meant the start of a new relationship with a US president—this time with a new Japanese prime minister; renewal of diplomacy with China—more intent than before on driving a wedge between Japan and the US; the signing of a broad trade agreement—RCEP was perceived as giving China greater clout even as China raised the goal of joining the Japan-led CPTPP; rising concern about Australia under pressure from China and Hong Kong being stripped of its autonomy by China; and signs of South Korea seeking to find a pathway to improved relations in the face of Japan’s skepticism. After a period of diplomatic inertia media coverage had suddenly intensified in anticipation of a burst of diplomatic energy as the Biden administration shows renewed US interest in diplomacy.   

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