Trump’s Illusions

Editorial Staff

In the eyes of US observers, the G20 summit was more a series of bilateral meetings than a multilateral summit, more a prelude to Trump’s visit to the Korean Peninsula and meeting with Kim Jong-un, and more a round in the on-again off-again talks with Xi Jinping over trade than a turning point. Trump overshadowed other leaders, driving the newsworthy coverage, and reshaped the agenda away from customary G20 aspirations. On the surface, he appeared to achieve three objectives: to restart US-North Korean negotiations left to stagnate after the February Hanoi summit, to give new energy to Sino-US trade negotiations after alarm about a deepening trade war had risen, and to further solidify US relations with Abe Shinzo and Moon Jae-in, both of whom had traveled to DC to meet Trump in April followed by Trump’s May state visit to join Abe as the first foreign guest to meet the new Emperor in May. 

Viewed from the perspective of August, Trump’s apparent achievements appear illusory. Talks with North Korea failed to materialize as it repeatedly launched short-range missiles. Optimism about Sino-US trade talks proved ephemeral as a high-level US delegation to Beijing returned empty-handed and the trade war intensified. Moreover, Abe’s imposition of trade restrictions on South Korea and the unprecedented collapse in Japan-ROK relations meant that aspirations for a triangular alliance had suffered their worst blow as if Trump were merely a bystander. 

Any one of these three setbacks would ordinarily become the centerpiece of evaluations of a president’s visit to a region and its aftermath. The turmoil surrounding Trump is so great that the meetings he held with leaders are quickly left in the margins even as the issues raised still fester. North Korean missile launches becoming more sophisticated, a dropping stock market over a trade war arousing a recession scare, and US incoherence in the face of alliance plans in disarray, are the legacy of a trip to East Asia driven by impulsive tweets rather than strategy. Trump had some success in controlling the narrative for a short time, while the consequences of his diplomacy were left for reporting unlikely to grab the headlines in the following months.

Since Abe hosted the G20 and has sought to insert himself into Trump’s policies on all three topics, the approach taken here focuses on three triangles involving the US and Japan: The North Korea triangle, the China triangle, and the South Korea triangle. In each case, the chosen perspective is US policy debates as they have been unfolding in the summer of 2019. At the top level of the administration, there is a blasé attitude to these problems. At lower levels and in policy observer circles, these three challenges pose risks beyond anything seen in the region in many decades: nuclear threat, global economic disarray, and an unraveling alliance system.

The US-North Korea-Japan triangle

Ordinarily the G20 summit, especially one held in Northeast Asia, would galvanize diplomacy on the world’s most serious nuclear threat coming from North Korea. As host, Abe would naturally have welcomed such an approach, given his long-affirmed preference for reinforcing the regime of sanctions against the North and negotiating from a position of strength. Putin’s April summit with Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok and Xi Jinping’s June summit with him in Pyongyang had raised worrisome concerns about the cohesion of the coalition insistent on denuclearization, which in Osaka might have been solidified with the requisite diplomatic effort. Yet, Trump preempted any such move by insisting that his personal relationship with Kim Jong-un was the solution to the problem, leaving Abe with no room to rally world leaders behind a multilateral approach.

Beyond stripping the G20 of any potential to address the North Korean challenge, Trump raised the specter of some gesture at his next stop in Seoul, which was soon rumored to include a visit with Kim Jong-un at the border separating North and South Korea. Instead of reinforcing the US-ROK alliance in the face of North Korean rhetoric belittling the South, Trump acquiesced to Kim’s insistence that Moon Jae-in be kept on the margins of their meeting at the DMZ, dealing a blow to demonstrating a united front beyond that exposed in Osaka. Moreover, Trump settled for a photo-op with no substantive agreement and no preparations for reaching understanding on what would come next. The vague agreement to resume working level talks with no agenda or agreed timeline was a recipe for continuing the downward spiral in managing North Korea on display since the failure of the Hanoi summit in February. Doubling down on his deeply flawed approach toward diplomacy, Trump left the management of North Korea in a perilous state. In 2017, building on momentum in 2016, multilateral Security Council coordination and sanctions had been strengthened. In 2018 Trump chose a different course, compounding its failings in his approach to the G20 gathering of the key world leaders and in a third meeting with Kim Jong-un.

Prior to the G20 meeting Abe had recognized the futility of concentrating on deterrence and of declaring that he—last of the leaders of the former Six-Party Talks—would meet with Kim Jong-un only if a condition were met, i.e., agreement to discuss the issue of the abducted Japanese. He had shifted to unconditionally appealing for a summit with Kim, but he had not dropped his insistence on strictly maintaining sanctions until progress on denuclearization had been made. By taking this stance, Abe did not appear to be far out of step with Trump. Japanese media did not embrace Trump’s diplomatic style or his optimism, but they tended to put the best light on it as talks focused on building personal rapport (something Abe did in his own approach to talks with Putin and others), while Trump apparently remained unyielding on no sanctions relief prior to an irreversible commitment to denuclearization. Trump’s third meeting with Kim did lead to some criticism of him and to concern about US policy growing soft, despite Abe’s equanimity.

The Japanese saved most of their criticism of weakness in the face of threat for Moon Jae-in. In downplaying criticism of Trump, as frustrating as that was, they turned vehemently to charges that Moon’s approach endangered the sanctions regime, threatened Japan’s own security, and put South Korea in opposition to the US and Japan. That Trump gave short shrift to Moon when Moon visited the US in April and again at the summit with Kim Jong-un was welcome news. Displacing resentment (and fear of betrayal) from Trump to Moon, Japan built up anger toward South Korea (mounting for other reasons) while not letting concerns about Trump turn into an open rift. Americans were left puzzled as to why Trump was handled gingerly and the outburst against Moon reached an extreme level, overlooking the triangular nature of Japan’s reactions.

Some in the US felt a measure of relief that at least the war scare of 2017 had passed with little recognition that the danger continued to grow. The expert community, however, never treated Trump’s diplomacy as promising and often expressed concern that nothing good would come of this approach. The arguments tended to veer in two directions: 1) Trump was opening the door to more support from China and Russia for North Korea, undermining the sanctions resolutions and giving Kim Jong-un reason to tighten relations with North Korea’s two Cold War allies; and 2) Trump was undercutting alliance cohesion on deterrence, making it easier for Kim Jong-un to drive a wedge between the US and its allies, perhaps by using more aggressive tactics and new provocations. Few expected Kim to denuclearize or even to keep up the appearance of amiable relations with Trump without pressing for more one-sided concessions, dividing countries.

While on the one hand, US national strategy has recognized the growing threat from China and Russia and their military and political quasi-alliance, on the other hand, there was little sign at the G20 of a response or of any effort to rally other countries. Trump met amicably with Putin, as usual, joking about Putin’s interference in the 2016 presidential elections, and made his talks with Xi Jinping into an upbeat plan to restart trade talks. Meanwhile, in the prior two months both Putin and Xi had met with Kim Jong-un, raising questions about whether they were using North Korea as a “card” in their conflicts with the United States.1 US coverage of these summits was, at most, moderately critical, doubting that anything much had happened. Denuclearization remained the goal of Putin and Xi, the sanctions regime was still essentially intact, and Kim was disappointed that he did not receive more robust backing was the general message conveyed.

Japanese media was much more forthright in treating the Vladivostok and Pyongyang summits in the spring as rather successful efforts by Kim Jong-un to bolster support against the United States even if sanctions relief was limited. On the right and the left, they depicted the summits as part of a process where Kim was growing emboldened to push harder against the US moves to put denuclearization in the forefront, even seeking to contain the US.2 Backing the North’s insistence on step-by-step, mutual concessions with little clarity about the endgame and much talk of removal of maximum pressure and guarantees of regime security, Putin and then Xi were agreeing to Kim’s plan to be drawn into the Sino-Russian camp, one source affirmed.3 In meeting Kim, Putin was sending a message to the US that Russia would be more involved in the Korean issue and would oblige the US to take heed, another source asserted.4 While Japanese officials and US ones too repeated the mantra dating from the Six-Party Talks if not earlier that international society is united in its approach to North Korea with denuclearization as the goal and sanctions enforcement as the means, the reality of disunity with multiple goals—some more important than denuclearization—was being acknowledged. Pyongyang had returned to its traditional diplomacy of reliance on Moscow and Beijing, thereby, finding some balance.5 Rather than international society prioritizing denuclearization, the message attributed to Putin in Yomiuri Shimbun was that it had to “guarantee the security of the system” as a precondition to denuclearization, which was interpreted as weakening the US stance on sanctions pressure.6 This stance is consistent with Russia showing understanding for why the North has developed nuclear weapons, which some on the left took as the reason why Abe too should stop isolating his country from talks by sticking to “maximum pressure,”7 but others, instead saw as a danger sign that Trump had opened the door to Pyongyang, dividing those aligned to stop it.

On North Korea, it was the Japanese left that was most open in declaring on the anniversary of the Singapore summit that Trump had spent a year miscalculating.8 On Sino-North Korean use of a “card” versus the US irresponsibly, threatening regional stability, the left took the lead, anticipating a new cold war with China, Russia, and North Korea aligned.9 After all, the starting point is an assumption that Washington and Beijing are locked in a battle for hegemony with the Korean Peninsula at the center. Headlines shouted out “containment of the US” and “Sino-North Korean honeymoon.”10 Even Yomiuri Shimbun stressed the importance of the Sino-North Korean meeting, noting that it was the fifth in fifteen months and it gave force to the traditional friendship between the two despite not satisfying Kim on sanctions relief.11 Yet, it pointed to renewed Chinese assistance of fertilizer and rice. The prevailing message is that China views the North through the lens of its relationship with the US, short-term, but also long-term. One gets the impression that a turning point was reached in economic ties, as Kim said he would be further studying China’s economic experience, and Xi reported on stepped up exchanges on this.

Japanese did not fail to notice that Moon Jae-in, however much he sought credit, was bypassed as Kim opted for Xi Jinping over him to send a message to Trump at the G20.12 Pointing out the fallacy in Moon’s optimism, Sankei explained Putin and Xi’s fuller support for Kim’s goals.13

Official Japanese support for Trump’s pursuit of Kim, including his summit on June 30, as if it were a great opportunity, was just more flattery of Trump with doubtful sincerity. Struggling for something positive to say, Foreign Minister Kono focused on Trump raising the abductee issue.14 On the fifth anniversary of North Korea’s agreement in Stockholm to investigate the abductee cases, Japanese media reported that these were empty promises.15 There was no optimism on Abe’s desire to reopen this issue or on other talks with the North.

Sankei called Kim Jong-un, despite his absence at the G20, its biggest beneficiary.16 This was not because he showed any sign of flexibility but due to Sino-US relations and Xi’s summit with Kim. Having offered North Korea in 1990 $10 billion in lieu of reparations, Japan now faced a bill of $20 billion, as the North kept up criticism to get an edge, according to one source.17 If the 2018 Olympics gave Moon his opportunity, it was said that the Tokyo Olympics might give Abe one.

At each stage Japanese were concerned that Trump would water down his demands on Kim Jong-un but only expressed it briefly. On July 2, Trump’s offer to Kim was interpreted as a “freeze plan.”18 On July 6, a softer US approach was reportedly under consideration,19 with humanitarian assistance in place of sanctions relief. Yomiuri editorialized that Trump has his eye on and “historical success” for the 2020 elections, which could undercut Japan’s security.20 The expression that conveyed concern in July was “Yongbyon + alpha,” a deal far short of the claim Trump was insisting on denuclearization in return for some security guarantee for the system.21

The US expert response to the DMZ photo-op was similarly skeptical, and political circles were similarly reluctant to raise the consequences of an expected breakdown in the Trump-Kim talks. Somehow, a partial deal would allow for muddling through until the US elections. Differences from the Japanese response were: 1) more pointed criticism of Trump rather than coddling him as Abe was doing and many Japanese accepted; and 2) more serious concern about the impact of failure on raising the threat level and boosting a Sino-Russian-North Korean common front.

The US-China-Japan triangle

The economic problems between the US and China have been mounting for more than a decade, and Trump’s assertive response is, in general, welcome in many quarters and not inconsistent with Japan’s attitudes about Chinese behavior at odds with market economic principles. The breakdown of Sino-US trade talks in the spring indicated that no resolution to the dispute is in sight. Thus, many waited anxiously for the Trump-Xi summit at the Osaka G20.

The message from Trump failed to maximize the G20 opportunity in at least six respects. First, it was not embedded in respect for open and free markets in the spirit customary at previous G20 summits. Second, it eschewed multilateralism, drawing together the many countries anxious to press China for reforms. Third, Trump’s message regarding China was diluted by his vocal demands on Japan aimed at forcing concessions in bilateral trade talks more about how the US can fling its weight around than about realizing shared principles of the global economic system. Fourth, Trump personalized the dispute with China, as if progress depended primarily on his ties to Xi Jinping rather than on the strength of the case on adherence to ideal principles. Fifth, the decision to follow the G20 with a meeting with Kim Jong-un distracted from the urgent priority to avert a trade war for reason of vanity rather than a justifiable sacrifice. Finally, Trump’s use of tariffs, which he could arbitrarily increase and decrease, was widely seen as a flawed strategy.

The trade war, which has far-reaching consequences for many countries, failed to become the central theme on the G20 agenda, even if few doubted it was foremost on the minds of leaders. This cavalier approach to what should have been systematically addressed through preliminary talks and reports leaves the subject of China’s distortion of market principles and coercive ways as a tug-of-war between an unpopular and unpredictable US president and a wily party leader of China able to count on pressure Trump would feel as he prioritizes his reelection in 2020. At Osaka Trump offered a feel-good statement that diverted attention from the issues at stake, only, as in the case of the statement he made at the DMZ, for people to discover after the fact that it had no bearing on reality. This was not a pathway to systematically resolving a problem.

Abe took a different approach to Xi Jinping in Osaka with no indication that he was cooperating with Trump instead of hedging against Trump. Xi had decided in 2017 to change course in ties to Japan with an emphasis on economics, as Abe agreed to coordinate with Xi on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), conditional on the merits of the proposal and its transparency. Abe appeared to be following through on the strategy of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), drawing countries together by strength in numbers and then reaching out to China on terms that would alter its conduct. He was also working with Trump and other countries in pressuring China to reform some of its unacceptable practices. At the G20, however, there was an image of disarray—Abe focusing on improved economic ties to China and Trump focusing, despite praise of Xi, on threats to bilateral ties unless Xi yielded.

There is no need for the US to press Japan to toughen its stand toward China. Indeed, despite Abe’s apparent rapprochement with Xi Jinping, few doubt that Abe is comfortable with the US pressure. In the Obama era, many Japanese bemoaned what they perceived as the weakness in his response to China. The US position toward Taiwan, including increased arms sales, and also toward the South China Sea, with more freedom of navigation exercises, is welcome, allowing Japan to stay in the shadows. As has been true since normalization of relations with China in 1972, the US recognizes Japan’s unique history with China and need to appear conciliatory. If Trump demands more military moves from Japan, as in escorting ships in the Strait of Hormuz, he is unlikely to break with the tradition of giving Japan leeway in dealing with China.

With the explosion of demonstrations in Hong Kong from early July, the US and Japan faced the challenge of responding in a meaningful manner without any prospect of intervening. Media in both countries strongly supported the demonstrators: they are battling for preservation of the “one country, two systems” framework being threatened by China’s extradition demands; the response was appropriate due to China losing the trust of the Hong Kong population; the battle lines are between the pro-China side and the democratic side; China risks losing hope in Taiwan agreeing to “one country, two systems” and the international community continuing to accept Hong Kong as a bastion of freedom and legal rights; and bilateral relations with China are not in jeopardy because of tensions over Hong Kong and China’s accusations of foreign responsibility. In the case of the US, Trump refused to support the demonstrators, making bland comments that could not raise their hopes. In the case of Japan, no mention was made of any response to whatever China might do nor was Abe blamed for his silence. Both Trump and Abe had plans for dealing with Xi Jinping that Hong Kong could complicate, whatever the public was thinking.

As much as Trump as well as Abe is determined to contain Xi Jinping’s aggressive behavior, the case of Hong Kong demonstrated that this is not in the manner of the Cold War when one side’s distress on any issue would lead the other to take maximum advantage. Both Trump and Abe have specific goals in mind, not a sweeping confrontation. Their thinking on human rights plays a part, and so do economic considerations. Yet, neither would respond similarly were Taiwan in the crosshairs of Beijing. Recognizing the hold over Hong Kong’s sovereignty Beijing already has, they see too much of a downside to make a firm stand—at least at present when Beijing is not quelling the disturbances with its troops—while toughening their stance on the Taiwan issue.    

The US-Japan-South Korea triangle

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have stumbled from bad to worse since the fall of 2018; the fact that Trump would be in one location with both Abe and Moon meant that the US had an opportunity to address the problem, as previous presidents had done, even if they hesitated to put themselves between two strong allies. There certainly was no shortage of challenges for which triangularity and passable Japan-ROK relations mattered. Yet, Trump showed no interest in playing a role, standing on the sidelines as the relationship between allies was on the brink of a much deeper breakdown. The very notion of triangularity appeared anathema to a leader obsessed with one-on-one meetings, where he can capitalize on the greater clout of the US. On a dispute rooted in historical consciousness, it is hard to imagine Trump getting involved.

South Korea had been the initiator of the developments perceived as damaging relations; so Moon had no reason to seek US intervention prior to Abe’s trade restrictions in early July. At the G20 Abe was viewed as the aggrieved party, but he too was not appealing to Trump for assistance. In fact, Abe seemed to have a plan in mind and was just waiting for the G20 to pass before implementing it. Japanese conservative media had anticipated his move, showing little interest in involving the US in a bilateral issue Japan was capable of handling on its own. Thus, until July Trump might have felt pressure to act only from close observers in and out of office of how the course of Japan-ROK relations was jeopardizing US security interests in the region.

South Koreans offend Japanese by depicting their country as remilitarizing, when the shared self-image is one of a peace-loving state contributing to world peace through development assistance and Self-Defense Forces’ humanitarian assistance. The US image of Japan verges on that of the Japanese, complicating Moon’s task. Japanese also view the 1965 treaty as the cornerstone of bilateral relations with South Korea—to challenge it wins little sympathy. They also saw the 2015 agreement as a compromise, rejecting that adds to outrage over reopening the 1965 settlement. Somehow, Moon Jae-in must regain Japan’s trust in order to restore ties, the deterioration of which is blamed solely on him, but his August 15 commemoration speech made it seem as if Japan is the culprit despite the fact he expressed a desire to resume dialogue and cooperation. As Yomiuri editorialized, his words were unacceptable.22 Yet, insisting that the ostensible cause of inadequate ROK controls on exports had to be addressed to restore trust, the editorial left few in doubt that something else was really needed. One could presume that the US would be no less critical of such ROK transgressions and would have reinforced such charges, but that has not happened. Rather, the US side, just wanting the problem to go away, is inclined to go back to the root of the downturn in relations, putting pressure on Moon too. Both Japanese and Americans view Moon as failing to have a realistic view of North Korea. If the US were to engage both parties, it would be inclined to take a broad approach oriented to reviving the status quo of 2016, not an attractive option for the Moon administration. Yet, not a likelihood for the Trump administration unless further deterioration in triangularity occurs.

Abe looks tough but may relax trade restrictions and keep the economic damage limited. Moon, in turn, refrained from directly criticizing Japan in his August 15 speech, appealing for dialogue. Progressives in Japan found his speech restrained compared to the past on a day when a harsh tone toward Japan could be expected. Yet, Moon’s hope to put economics first does not satisfy Abe and is unlikely to win support from Trump, who is not a stranger to linking economics to other issues. Moon will need to do more, perhaps including reauthorizing exports from the area affected by the Great Eastern Japan earthquake and nuclear contamination. A Mainichi editorial warned that both countries suffer badly from a downward spiral and that international society looks askance on it.23 This is a more conciliatory message than that seen in conservative sources.

The Moon-Trump summit on April 11, which has mostly been viewed through the lens of North Korea policy coordination, was interpreted in Japan as an attempt to alter the dynamics of Trump drawing closer to Abe at a time when Moon and Abe are readying for an escalation in their sharp confrontation with strategic issues (including the radar incident and China policy) drawing the US closer to Japan.24 Whereas at times in 2018-19 Trump has appeared close to Moon in wooing Kim Jong-un, Japanese saw an irreconcilable divide, blaming Moon for leftist thinking partial to North Korea, which was anathema to them and would prove unacceptable to the United States.25 If this might not be clear for a time, disruption of triangular defense ties could serve as a danger signal.26 Japanese saw Moon on the defensive, desperate to make his case to Trump in April and for a summit with Abe at the G20. Media reported on Seoul’s attempt to triangulate the dispute, pleading with the US to intercede to avoid chaos in the global supply chain and a rupture in trilateral cooperation, while adding that Washington blames Moon Jae-in for the deterioration.27

Sankei on June 26 stressed how Moon Jae-in is being squeezed over Huawei, forced to select between the US and China. It pointed to a speech by US ambassador Harris on June 5 pressing the importance of cybersecurity and a response in China of severe consequences should the firm be excluded. The ROK government’s assertion that it would respect the autonomy of its enterprises, that this has nothing to do with the ROK-US security arena, or that the almighty Samsung company was not under fire, did not persuade anybody. As semi-conductor exports have fallen sharply this year in the wake of the Sino-US trade war, Sankei described a feeling of crisis in South Korea. The implicit message is that Japan faces no similar dilemma because it is
not on the fence between the US and China and is not subject to the same kind of retaliation.

In 2014-15 during the last tail-spin in Japan-ROK relations, Japanese sought US support to keep Park Geun-hye in line and press for more trilateralism. In 2019 it is Koreans who are appealing to Washington, insisting that Abe has crossed a red line, which should bother the US as well as the ROK. Some of the arguments are similar: coordination in the face of North Korea is being damaged; the bilateral problems will reverberate to the US disadvantage; and the earlier status quo was better and should be reestablished. The Korean case differs, however, in insisting that history must be addressed rather than set aside; in demanding that the US recognize the need for the ROK’s softer strategic line toward China rather than reinforcing a harder line; and in putting economics in the forefront. It is a more comprehensive appeal and a more desperate one.

There is a danger that appeals to the US will be not only unpersuasive but counterproductive. It is not only because the Trump administration is disinclined to pursue multilateralism—trilateral or not—and address values-laden issues such as historical grievances. It is also due to an outlook well-established in DC on security and national identity, which conflicts sharply with messages being received from the Korean side in the latest reiteration of the “history wars.” US priorities center on ending these “wars” between allies as quickly as possible. Korean presumptions that Japan still must confront its past and must be reminded of worries about its remilitarization do not find a sympathetic audience in DC. Breaking out of the “comfort women” agreement and accepting the court verdict on compensation for forced labor only put the onus on Seoul to put relations with Tokyo back on track. Given the widening strategic divide with Washington over North Korea, China, and Russia and the narrowing differences between Washington and Tokyo, the burden on Seoul is that much heavier. The Moon administration’s strategy does not address it.

Conclusion

US writings on Trump’s summits are widely circulated; approaching the US response through triangles including Japan offers a fresh perspective. As host to the G20, Abe sought to shape the agenda, caring deeply about the talks related to North Korea, China, and South Korea as well as the struggle against protectionism and on behalf of a strong international community. Japanese media ended up reacting more to Trump’s initiatives in a trilateral perspective than to bilateral moves by Abe. They, arguably, surpassed American media in reflecting on: first, how the North Korean problem was seized for Trump’s purposes, leaving multilateralism in the dust and giving further momentum to Chinese and Russian strategies; second, how the Sino-US diplomatic dance affected third parties, failing so far to set a direction for regional realignment; and third, how the “virtual alliance” with South Korea was unravelling with Trump’s careless alliance management.

The usual verdict on the G20 is it did little good but also little harm. This time, as a result of the veto power of Trump over anti-protectionism, climate change, environmentalism, and other usual themes, Abe could only make modest gestures in the direction of globalization. The foremost challenge was to forestall Trump causing more damage in these areas. On security as well, some hope for reinforcing support for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and for a united front against the nuclear and missile build-up of North Korea could have conveyed the typical aspirations of such a gathering, but Abe’s feud with Moon, Trump’s preemption of the North Korean issue, and the counter-narrative espoused by Xi and Putin belied such hopes. Generally, in the US, the G20 and Korean aftermath were seen as a dud except for the three arenas Trump claimed as a triumph—summitry with Kim Jong-un, trade talks with Xi Jinping, and alliance strengthening with Abe and Moon individually. In retrospect, observers in the US as in China have reason to conclude that not only were opportunities missed, but the outcomes did more harm than good. The state of the Indo-Pacific region is worse off in August than in June 2019, and Trump has no answers.

1. Tokyo Shimbun, April 26, 2019, p. 2.

2. Tokyo Shimbun, April 25, 2019, p. 8.

3. Mainichi Shimbun, April 25, 2019, p. 8.

4. Asahi Shimbun, April 25, 2019, p. 3.

5. Ibid. p. 11

6. Yomiuri Shimbun, April 26, 2019, p. 1.

7. Asahi Shimbun, editorial, April 26, 2019, p. 16.

8. Tokyo Shimbun, June 12, 2019, p. 4.

9. Asahi Shimbun, editorial, June 21, 2019, p. 12.

10. Tokyo Shimbun, June 21, 2019, p. 2.

11. Yomiuri Shimbun, June 22, 2019, p. 10.

12. Sankei  Shimbun, June 22, 2019, p. 7; Yomiuri Shimbun, June 28, 2019, p. 9.

13. Sankei Shimbun, June 30, 2019, p. 6.

14. Yomiuri Shimbun, July 1, 2019, p. 1.

15. Asahi Shimbun, May 29, 2019, p. 4.

16. Sankei Shimbun, July 2, 2019, p. 1.

17. Asahi Shimbun, April 19, 2019, p. 13.

18. Yomiuri Shimbun, July 2, 2019, pp. 3 and 9.

19. Tokyo Shimbun, July 6, 2019, p. 3.

20. Yomiuri Shimbun, July 2, 2019, p. 3.

21. Yomiuri Shimbun, July 6, 2019, p. 1.

22. Yomiuri Shimbun, editorial, August 16, 2019.

23. Mainichi Shimbun, editorial, August 16, 2019.

24. Yomiuri Shimbun, May 24, 2019, p. 1.

25. Yomiuri Shimbun, May 24, 2019, p. 9.

26. Yomiuri Shimbun, May 27, 2019, p. 3.

27. Yomiuri Shimbun, July 12, 2019, p. 9.

#"Belt and Road" Initiative #free and open Indo-Pacific #G20 summit #History Wars #nuclear diplomacy