News analysis

China's rise under Xi unnerves neighbours while Abe fares better

Pew poll finds few in region have confidence in Chinese leader to do what is right globally

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Dr Yasushi Watanabe, an expert in public diplomacy at Keio University, points to Mr Abe's wide recognition internationally; he is Japan's longest-serving prime minister, having held office since 2012. "Prime Minister Abe has put a lot of his time and energy in diplomacy. I have never seen a Japanese prime minister who travels all around the world. This is coupled with recent special occasions such as G-20, World Rugby Cup and the imperial ascension," he said.

Mr Abe has also maintained good ties with US President Donald Trump while working with other nations on multilateral trade deals like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the Iran nuclear deal.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2019, with the headline China's rise under Xi unnerves neighbours while Abe fares better. Subscribe