British Warship Visits Japan in support of her claim to the Sankaku Island

· British History
Authors

The following show all the reasons why Britain has not been successful in attempting to get a meaningful trading partnership with China. China does not trust Britain’s intentions.

William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, has already exposed his anti-Sino views very early on in his career and has not changed his stance ever since:

Hague speaks up for Tibet during China trip

[14 July 2010] Tibet Society welcomes William Hague’s comments on Tibet during his first visit to China since becoming Foreign Secretary. During a news conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Mr Hague said that the British government has “long-standing human rights concerns” about Tibet. He expanded on this by adding, “We want to see long-term stability for Tibet, which in our view implies work on human rights and greater autonomy.”

Tibet Society is asking members and supporters to build on this success by writing to thank Mr Hague for speaking out about the concerns held about Tibet and ask that the coalition government now actively takes measures that will lead to genuine progress in the Sino-Tibetan dialogue.

For too long the Chinese government has been allowed to pay lip service to furthering the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. As an affirmation of its position that “the only way to resolve the underlying issues is through meaningful dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the Chinese authorities” (quote from William Hague’s letter to Tibet Society, 14 June), the British government can take the lead by no longer accepting that intermittent meetings is a tangible outcome in itself and should suggest that practical measures and benchmarks be put in place to ensure meaningful progress of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue.

Is China rattled by William Hague openly expressing concern about Tibet whilst in Beijing? According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, in a press briefing following his talks with the British Foreign Secretary, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, “called on all countries not to provide stage for Tibetan separatists, saying Tibet-related issues are purely China’s internal affairs”. Following Hague’s visit, the Chinese state newspaper China Daily went as far as to rebuke the Foreign Secretary, saying his meetings with Chinese officials included an “unpleasant exchange of remarks on the issue of Tibet”. The paper concluded that Britain, “needs to do a lot of homework on the history [of Tibet]… as well as on its implications on Britain’s bilateral ties with China”. 

http://www.tibetsociety.com/content/view/132

I cannot find the original report on Admiral George Zambellas’ visit to Japan, and so I am saving what I can find, with links.

As the US and Japan have become more aggressive militarily towards the People’s Republic of China, the British capitalist rulers have been simultaneously trying to increase their trade links with China, and their arms trade with Japan. Last December, David Cameron led a high-profile trade delegation to Beijing. At the very same time, the chief of staff of the Royal Navy, Admiral George Zambellas, made an almost unreported visit to Tokyo and met with Japanese defence minister, Itsunori Onodera. Around the same time the British warship HMS Daring happened to be in Tokyo. Last summer, Britain and Japan signed an agreement for the “transfer of arms and military technologies”. Although the rulers of US, Japanese and British imperialism all have their own distinct interests, they share a common goal of destroying the workers state that emerged out of the 1949 Chinese Revolution.

http://www.icl-fi.org/print/english/wh/226/China226.html After much searching, I have found the following articles of interest:

Relations between Britain and China strained over naval ship’s visit to Japan

Relations between Britain and China are once again strained despite David Cameron’s high-profile visit earlier this month, The Telegraph can disclose.

Relations between Britain and China are once again strained despite David Cameron’s high-profile visit earlier this month, The Telegraph can disclose.
Although Downing Street had heralded the official trip as a major trade and diplomatic success, Whitehall sources say that senior Chinese officials are privately dismayed by the actions of the British Government.
A visit by the Royal Navy’s most senior officer to Japan, at the same time as the Prime Minister was in China, has risked a new diplomatic rift between London and Beijing.
Admiral George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord, met Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defence minister, last week and reportedly pledged his support for the Japanese military.
The intervention came amid a growing military stand-off between Japan and China over a set of islands in the East China sea.

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The visit by Adml Zambellas received virtually no publicity in this country but was seen as a major intervention by the Chinese. The Ministry of Defence has insisted that the visit was long-planned and the fact that it was at the same time as Mr Cameron’s visit to China was a coincidence. Downing Street boasted that billions of pounds of trade deals were secured during the Prime Minister’s visit to China last week. However, it has now emerged that while in the country, the Chinese Government sought to change the details of a number of events. Beijing only confirmed the visit a month ago, giving officials in London just weeks to organise the biggest trade delegation to China for years. Number 10 accepted the invitation even though Beijing changed the schedule twice. Although publicly confident, away from the cameras on the visit, Mr Cameron appeared increasingly rattled during the trip and was often ill-tempered. The depth of Chinese anger over Adml Zambellas’ visit to Japan was exposed by an editorial in a state-run tabloid newspaper, which claimed Adml Zambellas had “supported Japan’s stance towards China’s recently declared Air Defence Identification zone in the East China Sea”. The newspaper added: “This has added doubts over Cameron’s sincerity in improving ties with China. Perhaps there is no need to talk about ‘sincerity’ in terms of Sino-British relations. “What Cameron does is out of his own political interest and the UK’s national interest. His visit this time can hardly be the end of the conflict between China and the UK. “Beijing needs to speed up the pace of turning its strength into diplomatic resources and make London pay the price for when it intrudes into the interests of China.” Web-bloggers in China also criticised the meeting, with one writing: “This has helped Chinese people realise the ugly face of the British government.” Mr Cameron was challenged about the meeting, with one Chinese reporter saying that it had caused “confusion among the Chinese ordinary people”. He said: “That is an important issue. The European Union has made a balanced statement about that issue which the British support. “And we want to see all the … difficulties in the region be dealt with and subside so we can have good stability. That is the British view; that is the European view.” The visit is understood to have been planned since May – well before the timing for Mr Cameron’s visit was known, and stressed that ministers knew Adml Zambellas was visiting Japan. A Government spokesman said: “During his meeting with Itsunori Onodera, the First Sea Lord stated that in common with the rest of the EU, the UK notes with concern that China has established an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea. “The UK urges all parties to work together to reduce tensions and resolve issues peacefully in line with international law.” Last night a Number 10 spokesman said: “As the Prime Minister made clear, this was a highly successful trip. More than 130 British business leaders joined the PM on his visit to China and around £6billion of deals were delivered. “The PM also held very good and substantial discussions with President Xi and Premier Li, who described the partnership between the UK and China as ‘indispensable’.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10506632/Royal-Navy-admirals-meeting-with-Japanese-defence-minister-risks-diplomatic-headache-for-David-Cameron.html

David Cameron’s Dalai Lama meeting sparks Chinese protest

  • 16 May 2012
  • David Cameron’s decision to meet the Dalai Lama has provoked an angry response from the Chinese government.

The prime minister met the Tibetan spiritual leader in London on Monday. China’s foreign ministry said the meeting “seriously interfered with China’s internal affairs” and “hurt” Chinese feelings. Downing Street said the Dalai Lama was “an important religious figure” but the UK did not want to see its relationship with China “disrupted”. Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg met the Dalai Lama privately on Monday at St Paul’s Cathedral. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18084223

Comments The coincidence of David Cameron’s high profile trade visit to China with his powerful delegation, with the visit of the British warship to Japan under Admiral Zambellas was one of the greatest British Diplomatic faux pas of all time. But this following the previous insults to the Chinese Government for meeting with the Dalai Lama was unforgivable. It is little wonder that Britain has not made that much progress with trade and diplomatic relations with China. Was it due to ignorance and blunders on the part of the Foreign Office? I doubt that. Or was it arrogance and contempt for the Chinese that they wanted to show the Chinese who was superior? Anglo – Japan Alliance  The Anglo-Japan Alliance three years on – March 31st 2015 The UK-Japan Strategic Dialogue held in London on 12-13 January 2015 presented an opportunity to track the progress of the UK-Japan defence cooperation relationship three years after the signature of the UK/Japan Defence Cooperation memorandum[1]. As part of that agreement, RUSI has done its share of the task by organizing Dialogues in partnership with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, opening a ‘RUSI Japan’ branch office in Tokyo and publishing commentaries in its journals[2]. This year’s Dialogue was fortuitously scheduled just in advance of the meeting of defence and foreign ministers on 21st January. Despite use of the term ‘strategic’ and characterization by the Japanese side of a ‘new type of Alliance’[3] in 2013, the relationship is developing at a pace that suggests more humble aims. Joint development of defence technology and inter-service cooperation are concrete indicators of progress, but three years on from 2012, the rhetoric has shriveled from ‘alliance’ to ‘partnership’. That first ‘two plus two’ meeting set a new high in terms of process, but actually yielded nothing new. The RUSI/Sasakawa Dialogue itself, while proceeding in a good natured and industrious atmosphere, left the impression of a relationship that has taken off successfully but is struggling to achieve escape velocity and attain a level that could truly be called ‘strategic’. The drag on the relationship is coming partly from structural divergences between Japan and Britain that make ‘strategy’ difficult, but are nevertheless interesting for what they reveal about the journey of two formerly great but now middle-sized powers in the post Cold-War era. The would-be allies are mis-aligned on a fundamental strategic question: what role they expect to play in the world. This can be seen in how they answer two subordinate policy questions: First, what is the appropriate response to challenges to the system of world order that has prevailed since 1945? Second, what is the right policy mix to control risks and maximize opportunities that arise from the movement Eastwards of the world centre-of-gravity and the rise of China? Japan under Prime Minster Abe seems to have clear answers but his public is hesitant. Britain under Prime Minister Cameron has difficulty expressing a vision that reconciles means and ends[4]. Three years in, my view is that the UK-Japan relationship has a shot at becoming truly strategic by helping both countries overcome their respective difficulties; and to conceive and gain the necessary acceptance for a forward-looking and coherent strategic identity.

Roots of divergence

The strategic divergence that creates drag on the UK-Japan relationship should perhaps not be attributed too much to personalities and leadership but to structural change. Principally, the main features of global politics at the end of the ‘post-Cold War’ era make defining a role in the world confusing for Britain, and simple (if not easy) for Japan. This is because the situation has developed in which strategic coherence – achieved by reconciling national priorities (politics) with strategic priorities (a global role) – has become much easier to achieve for one country than the other. During the Cold War Japan and Britain had the good fortune to be in a position where national politics and global strategy could be reconciled in a global role as middle powers in support of a US-led western strategy aimed at containing the USSR. Britain flattered its self-image of a pocket great power by employing the vestiges of its imperial past to support this effort around the world. Japan could, by virtue of its location, act as an unsinkable aircraft carrier and arsenal against the mainland communist forces in Korea, China and Russia and help the US Pacific fleet to bottle up the Soviet Navy. Japan’s geographical position also meant it could fight the Cold War and play a role of broad strategic importance while simultaneously maintaining a ‘pacifist’ post-war identity that limited the deployment of its military to an area consistent with territorial defence.

Japan under Prime Minster Abe seems to have clear answers but his public is hesitant. Britain under Prime Minister Cameron has difficulty expressing a vision that reconciles means and ends[4]. Three years in, my view is that the UK-Japan relationship has a shot at becoming truly strategic by helping both countries overcome their respective difficulties; and to conceive and gain the necessary acceptance for a forward-looking and coherent strategic identity.

Roots of divergence

The strategic divergence that creates drag on the UK-Japan relationship should perhaps not be attributed too much to personalities and leadership but to structural change. Principally, the main features of global politics at the end of the ‘post-Cold War’ era make defining a role in the world confusing for Britain, and simple (if not easy) for Japan. This is because the situation has developed in which strategic coherence – achieved by reconciling national priorities (politics) with strategic priorities (a global role) – has become much easier to achieve for one country than the other. During the Cold War Japan and Britain had the good fortune to be in a position where national politics and global strategy could be reconciled in a global role as middle powers in support of a US-led western strategy aimed at containing the USSR. Britain flattered its self-image of a pocket great power by employing the vestiges of its imperial past to support this effort around the world. Japan could, by virtue of its location, act as an unsinkable aircraft carrier and arsenal against the mainland communist forces in Korea, China and Russia and help the US Pacific fleet to bottle up the Soviet Navy. Japan’s geographical position also meant it could fight the Cold War and play a role of broad strategic importance while simultaneously maintaining a ‘pacifist’ post-war identity that limited the deployment of its military to an area consistent with territorial defence.

After the Cold War, the ‘new world order’ of the 1990s was one in which the reconciliation of political and strategic imperatives was much easier for Britain than for Japan. The era of multinational intervention offered opportunities for Britain to act in ways that resonated pleasantly with its self-image of ‘punching above its weight’, while maintaining a key role in western strategy (e.g. in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo). For Japan, however, the end of the ‘containment’ strategy and the shift of US interests towards the Middle East spelled the end of the political/strategic coincidence by which Japan could stay at home and still maintain its value as a US ally. The first example was the ‘trauma’ Japan experienced under pressure from Washington to give more than financial support to the first Gulf War. Despite the continuation of shared concerns about the North Korean nuclear program, the same problem arose with US action following 9-11, when again Japan’s leaders were pushed to sell a deployment of the Self Defence Forces to the other side of the world in Afghanistan and Iraq. What we see today is a reversal of fortune. The rise of China and the corollary of Obama’s Pivot to Asia brings Japan’s political and strategic interests back into alignment. Washington’s concern about Beijing’s apparent desire to push the US Navy out of the Western Pacific means Japan can now cement its role as an indispensable ally while simultaneously taking steps to ensure its own maritime and territorial defence. Investment in military capability and defence cooperation with Australia, India, the Philippines, India and Vietnam are rising. As Prime Minister Abe puts it, “Japan is back”[5]. The transition from the post-Cold War era via the Global War On Terror (GWOT) has had the effect of clouding the UK’s strategic vision. The experience in Afghanistan and Iraq tarnished the post-Cold War model of ‘intervention’ as a force for good, and undermined the assumption that Britain’s interests are best served by a reflex response to join in America’s wars. The parliamentary revolt against PM Cameron’s effort to win support for action in Syria shows how much that assumption has been eroded. Even without the legacy of the GWOT, President Obama’s pivot to Asia means there are fewer local operations for Britain to support in the hope of buying influence in Washington. Some say the UK’s role is to enable the pivot by covering America’s back in the region, but for many Britons the institutions of ‘Europe’ are seen as the only threat to their sovereignty, and Russia merely as a threat to continental Europe. It is hard for Britain to pivot with America, because China is seen as a market and a source of investment, not as a threat. This could change if Washington decides to take on Russia, but so far the Obama administration has expressed satisfaction at Germany’s leadership of the European defence against Putin. The drivers behind the pivot give Japan strategic focus but leave Britain with a dilemma. London has to decide what kind of relationship it should have with continental Europe, whereas attitudes and policy in China and Korea leave Japan very little choice. Largely due to threats from its continental neighbours, Japan does not really see any alternative to its close alliance to America. Britain does not face a clear direct threat, and therefore debates how much less it can afford to spend on defence. Japan has historically spent such a small portion of its wealth on defence since WWII, raising spending in response to a higher threat perception hardly faces any domestic opposition. There is also a kind of divergence in strategic approach to other issues, such as economics. For Abe as much as for Cameron, economic revival is the number one question in domestic politics. In Britain the prioritization of economic opportunity has been reflected in what is termed the ‘prosperity agenda’[6]working its way up to becoming a major consideration in foreign policy. One prominent example of this is Britain’s desire to protect economic relations with big markets and sources of investment like China. Britain has undertaken its own ‘pivot’ to Asia, evident in an increase in diplomatic representation and numerous visits and speeches on the subject. PM Cameron kicked it off with a visit to several Asian nations in April 2012. The commercial tone of this visit was measured by the size of the accompanying businessmen and confirmed in a keynote speech in Malaysia: “Britain is back – back open for business, and open for business with you”[7]. Soon after, Former Foreign Minister William Hague set the standard at the IISS Fullerton Lecture: “…those who might think that British engagement with Asia is a thing of the past, or that we will become a partner of declining relevance, could not be more wrong. Today Britain is looking East as never before. We are setting our country firmly on the path to far closer ties with countries across Asia over the next twenty years” [8]. In 2014 Foreign and Commonwealth Minister Hugo Swire described “Britain’s own shift of focus to the East” as follows: “…our relationship with Asia Pacific – like that of the US – is multidimensional. It is about building relationships across the whole region; what we describe as an All-of-Asia policy … Critically, it is multi-dimensional because it is about our economy, our security and our values.” [9] The current UK Foreign Minister Philip Hammond confirmed in 2015 that “Our partnerships in Asia rest on three pillars: (1) strong people-to-people links and deep bilateral relationships across the Asia Pacific region; (2) a shared vision of free trade and economic openness; and (3) common recognition of our responsibilities to maintain the rules-based international system which protects our shared interests.” [10] However, as international and civil tensions in the Indo-Pacific region make economic priorities harder to reconcile with normative values and broader strategic ambitions, the prioritization of commercial opportunity is notable. When, for example, the UK was unable to respond effectively when Beijing barred access of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee to Hong Kong. When the Wall Street Journal writes about ‘London’s kowtow’ to Beijing[11], what message does that carry to Britain’s strategic partners in Asia about how it balances national self-interest with its principled commitment to ensure a rules-based world order? Abe has made economic revival a matter of national pride in a way that is more consistent with his desire to release Japan from what he calls ‘the 1945 system’ (pacifist mercantilism, dependence on the USA), and nurture a sense of national self-confidence. Abe’s sense of national destiny may be controversial but judging from the results of the recent snap election it can still command public support. Not for the first time, it is being suggested that Japan is ‘in the midst of a serious identity shift’ from neo-marcantalism to liberal interventionism[12]. A source close to PM Abe’s office was heard at the UK-Japan 21st Century group breakfast on 14 January describing Abenomics as a ‘National psyche management policy’.

Recommendations

  1. Strategic Communications. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary, London and Tokyo should coordinate strategic communications (also with the US, Australia and other like-minded nations), in order to present a positive forward-looking narrative of continuing partnership between the great democratic powers of the post-war era, giving due credit to the power of reconciliation and universal values of respect for the rights of the individual under the rule of law.
  1. Maritime. Concentrate effort (and reinforce success) on the Maritime level. Royal Marines and the MSDF/GSDF for amphibious operations across the full spectrum from humanitarian and disaster relief (as with operation Tomodachi) to hi-end combat operations to re-take islands or deploy preventively to deter violations of sovereignty. Other options could include training with the Special Boat Squadron (amphibious special forces) and the deployment to Japan of a Royal Marines liaison officer to stand alongside the Royal Navy Commander there.
  1. Peace operations. As General Hokazono mentioned at the RUSI conference, the identification of more counterpart entities between governments can help to structure cooperation on concrete objectives, as well as supporting relations with the US and NATO. In view of PM Abe’s ambition that the Self Defence Forces make a ‘proactive contribution to peace’, a counterpart in Tokyo should be selected to work in close partnership with the UK Stabilisation Unit to share good practices, conduct policy workshops, exchanges and training on peace operations and the comprehensive approach.

Conclusion

Despite the success of defence cooperation in the UK-Japan relationship, the lack of a coherent Asia policy on the UK side (in particular a lack of clarity on what kind of global role strikes the right balance between our values and our interests where China is concerned), is a source of drag that prevents it taking off to the strategic level. As the shift of global wealth and competition is moving East, the UK’s national and global roles (political and strategic) are at risk of coming apart. For Japan, the opposite is happening – which is what makes this relationship worth investing in, not just in terms of the defence industrial opportunities, but at the highest strategic level. Rory Stewart’s appeal for an honest approach in order to deliver a serious result has merit. However, there also needs to be a shift in British public opinion to commit to a strategic ambition that rises above the level of national or regional policy. The strategic choice for the UK in 2015 is between decline and renewal, but the public does not seem ‘committed’[26]. A solid partnership with Japan can be part of a coherent strategic vision that will encourage the ‘renewal’ camp. For Japan the visionary leadership is there, but the problem lies in connecting with the population and the outside world. The UK can assist in helping Japan overcome the hesitancy and anxiety about assuming a more ‘normal’ role, and developing the operational and strategic habits that accompany that. This year’s 70th anniversary of the end of WWII offers an opportunity for reflection on the lessons of history and the importance of taking a stand against aggression and violation of international order. Would-be allies Japan and Britain should take this opportunity to raise the bar on honesty and seriousness. http://anglojapanalliance.com/

Remarks: With such apparent alliances, British-Japan Alliance, and the resurgence of Japanese military build-up, is it possible for the Chinese to seriously trust the intentions of the British?
Searching for the “Strategic” in the UK-Japan “New Type of Alliance” BY PHILIP SHETLER-JONES Three years on from the 2012 memorandum on defense coopera􏰀on, the UK‐Japan rela􏰀onship, which Japan’s Ambassador in London Keiichi Hayashi hopefully termed a “new type of alliance,” is approaching a turning point. UK Parliamentarian and chair of the Defence Select Commi􏰁ee Rory Stewart opened the RUSI/Sasakawa UK‐Japan Strategic Dialogue in January 2015 with an appeal for both par􏰀es to be “honest” and “serious” in their discussions and plans. While the Dialogue proceeded in a good natured and industrious atmosphere, it le􏰂 the impression of a rela􏰀onship that has taken off successfully but is struggling to achieve escape velocity and a􏰁ain a level that could truly be called “strategic.” Inter‐service coopera􏰀on has been a quiet success, especially in the maritime sphere. Partnership on co‐development of defense technology is moving ahead, as is consulta􏰀on on the evolu􏰀on of Japan’s new National Security Council and foreign intelligence service. Nevertheless, three years on from 2012, the rhetoric has shriveled from “alliance” to “partnership.” A first “two plus two” meeting in January 2015 set a new high in terms of process, but actually yielded nothing new. The main factor constraining the level of the UK‐Japan rela􏰀onship is the differen􏰀al impact of recent geostrategic shi􏰂s. China’s rise and the US Rebalance simplified Japan’s strategic calculus but had the opposite effect on the UK. The Rebalance means Japan can reconcile na􏰀onal defense interests with the strategic imperative of suppor􏰀ng US priori􏰀es in Asia, as it did in the Cold War. While PM Abe can claim that “Japan is back,” Britain struggles to define a role that reconciles its strategic impera􏰀ve – alignment with Washington’s priorities – with economic realities. Suppor􏰀ng the rebalance means inves􏰀ng in deployable assets, but upse􏰃ng Beijing would dent Britain’s “prosperity”, reducing revenue for defense spending even further. A thought experiment proposed by a Japanese participant at the January Dialogue illustrates how this divergence limits the UK‐Japan relationship: imagine the reac􏰀on if Japan had said in response to Russia’s moves in Ukraine “both sides must exercise restraint and our economic relations must remain unaffected” – i.e., what Europe essentially says about China’s assertiveness in the Asia‐Pacific. Another Japanese participant expressed disappointment at the UK’s weak response to Beijing’s refusal of visas to a parliamentary committee delegation heading for Hong Kong (characterized by the Wall Street Journal as London’s “kowtow,” 20 January 2015), and a US official recently bemoaned Britain’s “constant accommodation” of China following London’s decision to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Understandably, Japan is not encouraged by what this signals about Britain’s sense of balance between self‐ interest and its principled commitments to liberal values and international law. Important policy and strategic developments unfolding in 2015 will test the rhetoric and indicate whether the UK and Japan’s rela􏰀onship has the poten􏰀al to produce something like a “new type of alliance,” or merely one among many coopera􏰀ve partnerships. On the UK side, the Strategic Defence and Security Review will frame decisions on the role Britain expects to play in the world. Just as Japan’s Prime Minister Abe is planning to push ahead with reforms on defense, intelligence and a “pro‐ac􏰀ve contribution to peace” that could signal a radical departure from Japan’s post‐1945 profile as a pacifist power, this year’s 70th anniversary of WWII will be commemorated in an atmosphere where events in Ukraine and East Asian waters are leading some to doubt the durability of the post‐1945 system. If, as expected, Beijing and Moscow jointly promote the narra􏰀ve of their victory over fascism as a way of legi􏰀mizing their continued preeminence in the global order, alternative narratives that emphasize the other lessons of that war will only be heard if they, too, are strategically coordinated. When Ambassador Hayashi first spoke in 2013 about the “new type of alliance,” he remarked “surely we had the tragedy of another war which we fought against each other and have always to squarely face.” It is an irony that as the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII approaches, both Japan and the UK find their strategic vision blurred and complicated by different legacies of World War II. In Japan, PM Abe struggles to find a message that is true to his personal belief that Japan needs to put the war behind it, but is also broadly acceptable to the nation at large as well as former enemies, some of whom believe that Japan must remain what Jennifer Lind called “a sorry state.” The war anniversary does not make it any easier for Abe to achieve his long held ambi􏰀on of revising the “peace constitution” (or at least its interpreta􏰀on), allowing Japan to use its military like a normal country, but his response to this challenge indicates a statesmanlike eye for the strategic opportunity. In setting up an advisory commitiee on the commemora􏰀on of the 70th anniversary, Abe has made an explicit connection between war history and the need to project a vision of Japan’s place in the world that learns the right lessons from the past. A more recent war history complicates the task of projecting a vision of Britain’s proper place in the emerging world order. The experience in Afghanistan and Iraq tarnished the notion of intervention as a force for good and undermined the assumption that the nation’s interests are best served by a reflex response to join in America’s wars. As the televised hearings of the Chilcot enquiry into the Iraq War showed, the nation emerged from the “Global War On Terror” era looking for someone to blame. In the prolonged wait for the committee’s findings, a series of qualified observers are starting to point fingers. Critical views like that of Frank Ledwidge (author of Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan), once seen as coming from the political left􏰂 field, are becoming mainstream. Statesmanship will be in demand also in the UK in 2015 if the Chilcot process is to deliver the catharsis Britain needs to “move on” strategically. Events in 2015 offer both partners a chance to honestly and seriously face war history, to draw lessons that inform their current role in the world order and move on together. The degree of alignment between London and Tokyo on the larger issues will determine the level of fulfilled ambition for their bilateral relationship. Both parties can learn from each other by developing a joint narrative on their role in the emerging order. If leaders and thinkers take this opportunity to regain public trust and project a coherent vision that balances fundamental values and global interests, this could unburden the UK‐ Japan relationship, enabling it to reach a truly strategic level. http://www.eastwestcenter.org/system/tdf/private/apb306.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=35033 The above certainly does not provide trust from the Chinese as to British intentions.

Diplomatic clash as China bans senior British MPs from Hong Kong

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