Global Affairs

Can Germany and Japan fill the void in a Trumpian world?

German Foreign Minister's proposed 'multilateralist alliance' with Japan raises many questions, but it points to yet more shifts in geopolitical strategic thinking to fill the void left by the US President

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

Visits by European foreign ministers to Asian countries are usually not particularly newsworthy. Most of the time, these are just formulaic affairs, often intended to show interest while not actually pledging engagement.

None of this applies, however, to the recent tour of Japan and South Korea by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, a trip that should command greater attention from both Asian policymakers and analysts. And that's not just because Mr Maas - who assumed his current office only in March this year - is rapidly acquiring a reputation as an original foreign policy thinker, but also because during his stay in Japan he outlined a vision that is breathtaking both in its scope and implications.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2018, with the headline 'Can Germany and Japan fill the void in a Trumpian world?'. Subscribe