Japan, Vice President, China discussed on Overnight re-air of day's programming
It seems like there's a bit of a contradiction. The the vice president in the White House or signaling that they that they intend to come out with a reassuring a positive message, and they're not gonna explicitly mentioned China, and they're going to try to, you know, not force people to to make that that that choice that Amy mentioned. But as as Chris said in the in the press release from the White House the statement about you know, authoritarianism aggression and disregard the sovereignty is so clearly aimed at China. I think it's just gonna put a a real point with an accent on on on the the the the new it's not new, but it's definitely there's now been I think a clear signaling by the administration since the Pence each at the Hudson institute that that we have this long Bill of particulars against China. And that we're going to be. Taking a an approach that is really forcing that choice for people in the region. When I wrote about this the other day when when we had the US ambassador to the WTO here he was talking a couple of weeks ago. He was talking about the fact that there's no middle of the road anymore. You have to pick a lane, you know, and they need you pick China or the United States. And I think that that overall the combination of all that is going to raise some real. Concerns and questions in the region. And so an answer to undermine what I think the administration is is sensibly tried to do in signaling through the free and open Indo Pacific that there's a commitment to this region. And some some behind that in terms of picking last comment present she is not only going to APEC. But at Papua New Guinea, he's going to be holding a meeting with other Pacific island nation leaders, which I think we'll get a lot of attention, and then he's going onto the Philippines for a state visit. So at a time when you know, we're asking countries to choose present. She is going with his bag of goodies, presumably to the Philippines, and again, we're not showing up that's an important amplifying comment. Because I as my colleagues raised earlier, the vice president is not going to talk about trade, not very much. He's not gonna talk about trade and in Asia economics is security. So if you're not playing on on the trade issue, you're not playing. Christina with TV Asahi kind of bring this back towards Japan. I know that like green is not here. But you did mention that vice president Pence is not doing the formal trade engagement that is set up with Taro Aso wondering, you takes comment on the fact there was an article today on also. Comments last year about Hitler? And if how much that actually influence. No, I'm not gonna do that one. You know, I I would I would just bet on the first part of what you said. Vice president Pence was was very reluctant to to be the principal person responsible for I think probably for any particular policy issue. I think he was trying to take the Joe Biden approach approaches being the advisor on everything and able to go anywhere. He didn't want to do what I think vice president gore, for example, dead of being in charge of the Russia relationship here or the or government reorganization. So I think vice-president Pence was headed the arm twisted to join this. It was prime minister Ave really wanted that that high level engagement, and so it was never a comfortable arrangement and the the dialogue economic dialogue. The Pence also economic dialogue never really had much in it. And it's now been effectively subsumed by these bilateral trade talks. Which they're still debating what they're we're actually doing here. Whether we're actually doing an FDA or a tag trade agreement and goods or a banana, or I don't know what we're going to call it. But there is disagreement about that. And. I think it just does not want to engage on that stuff. So it's much more about that. And the controversy you mentioned again, I'm not gonna go there because it's just too too many booby-traps there. But. Okay. If I can follow up on a more practical note, then for the potential trade talks with Japan who is emerging as the voice on that in the US government. Yeah. Bob light is on question. Heiser seems to be clearly in in control of the trade policy agenda operationalizing it, although as we saw from Peter Navarro upstairs, he has opinions about it that about trade policy. But, but I think lighthizer is clearly operationally in charge. And he's the one rolling out the strategy and the WTO with Japan, and the EU and this sort of trilateral effort on these key issues of subsidies and state owned enterprises and digital technology and so forth. Goodman CSIS and is clearly the one in movies did NAFTA renegotiation, and we'll be behind the bilateral with Japan. I think the question about the Japan thing is again, and I was joking about title. But it's a serious point is I think it's unclear whether the US really wants to drive beyond the kind of the core issues, which I think the President Trump and Bob lighthizer have with Japan, which are really two-fold. There's agriculture market access in Japan. They're getting a lot of pressure. I think from beef and pork exporters who see that Australia and you're going to get favorable treatment in Japan under the respective agreements. The and the EU Japan deal, and they want that market. It's a big market for them. And so that's that's something that the the administration clearly needs to address and Japan's ready to do that. I mean, it seems ready to give the same level of access because they've already gone through the politics in Japan. And then the other problem, which is much more difficult as autos. I mean, this has been at the center of our economic and trade relationship for years. And and actually what I'm gonna do is. I'm gonna turn to Bill because he I think he has better thoughts on that. Manage is. Right lighthizer is going to be the one that ends up with us. He has a statutory responsibility. He has a relationship with congress, which is protective of its role in trade policy. He's going to be spending. Probably a lot more time with the ways and means committee in the next congress than he did in this congress because the Democrats have faulted the administration on process. Allows them not to have Baltimore policy. Bill reinsch. Former president of the national Foreign Trade Council from two thousand one to two thousand sixteen saying not enough consultation transparency etcetera etcetera. So expect lots of hearings expect lots of letters expect lots of meetings and are mostly going to be with and he will be in charge. I think in this particular negotiation. Will end up being about auto quotas. If you look at what the president, it's all the president talks about its cars and steel I mean, he talks about agriculture when he's meeting with farmers, and it ought to be an important issue. Because. Obstacles to the US. Agricultural exports in Japan remains significant dropping out of TPP made it worse. Not only are we not getting the benefits of DP DP were being replaced in the marketplace because they've got to deal with the European Union. So the smart thing to do is try to get some of that back, but I would bet decent amount of money that it's really I'm gonna end up being about car quotas. And I think it's fair to say the Japanese government is figure that out in this very concerned about it. Thanks. The South China Morning post. Maybe a question for Chris. Wanted to how how prominently you envisage the road initiative, featuring at the summits. On the agendas of the US or the participating countries, particularly in light of the fact that was. Seems to be a seems to be a move from China to to increasingly legitimize the program. Partnering up with high profile partners like like like Japan. I think it'll definitely feature probably more in the in the background, maybe then than the foreground. But I think you know, the administration's been pretty clear in connecting the program with predatory 'economics. They see them as as one that messages is likely to continue and to be fair. I think it resonates in some way, you know, we do have sincere problems with how the debt traps has been described that result from some of these projects are dealt with. It's big issue in next neighborhood. So maybe I'll have him come in a little bit as well. But I don't expect the vice president or really President Trump to to to mention it directly to to Xi Jinping. I do expect it to continue to be the drumbeat, you know, as as as you know, after commerce three and n each of our statements. I guess the one thing that I'm watching for which I think is important is every now, and again, you kind of get a little hint that maybe the administration is considering coming out. Formerly opposing Belton as opposed to just sort of describing it in the background. I personally feel that would be a significant mistake because as we've all been discussing the message it sends to the region as we know you have these infrastructure needs. But we're not playing so. I expect this is one of the areas that prime minister mode. He's been a little more comfortable talking about their interests their India actually was the first major country to come out and oppose Felton road, and there's line about predatory economics. But something that they kinda coined and it took most other countries, including United States almost a year before it started caught on their prime minister, Modi's speech and Shangri LA same kind of thing. So I expect they'll keep that drumbeat alive. They've got. Was kind of indicating examples in their neighborhoods in particular where they've seen the result of this. And the big fear that they got the China. I'm a quarter. And what that might mean. Water reports coming up, you know, little commercial likelihood that that's going to be a major commercial entity there. So India keep the pile on this Monday. Even if I think others aren't. He said one word on that. I agree with Chris that if the if the Trump administration came out in opposition to the Boughton road in really explicit way rather than just describing concerns about it. You know, it will be pretty isolated aside. From india? I'm prime minister Modi. I mean, pretty much all the other countries have have have come aboard and supported it. We've seen prime minister now in a certain way, kind of embrace it. Although, of course, trying to raise the standards too, high quality infrastructure development, but I certainly not opposing it. Australia has been very supportive of Belton road in many ways and in south East Asia. I mean, you're going to continue to see a lot of support and present she goes to to the Philippines for a state. Visit there's a lot of expectation that they're gonna sign the Philippines will sign memoranda of understanding for Belton rub initiative with China Malaysia. Of course, new prime minister, new prime minister montier has has expressed a lot of concerns and renegotiated or drops and deals with. China. But even he doesn't want to walk away from economic cooperation and investment from China. So it would be it would be a very isolating move. I think. Right of CSI s which hosted this discussion again byline, but I think there's one other point. I totally agree with all of that. And if we did oppose Melton road. I think it would be serious wander. But the good news is and into the administration's credit. They worked with congress this build act the the acronym for which I can't remember. But it's basically the supercharged OPEC which doubles the size. They can allows it to do more of the things that Ajay the Japanese equivalent can do in in terms of infrastructure, finance, and I think that's a significant thing which will give the vice president some credibility as he says, we've got an alternative here to Belton road..