By Invitation

Cooperate and compete: Abe's new approach to China

East Asia's 'frenemies' are necessarily wary but the spirit of compromise over the FOIP and BRI labels is positive

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing on Oct 26. Mr Abe's "cooperate but compete" policy rides on the cross-currents of the present tensions; its success is similarly subject to the shi
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing on Oct 26. Mr Abe's "cooperate but compete" policy rides on the cross-currents of the present tensions; its success is similarly subject to the shifting tides. For now, they appear to be favourable, says the writer.PHOTO: REUTERS

When Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a three-day trip to China last month, he had a key objective in mind - to bring China into his vision of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" (FOIP).

That goal is notable on at least two counts. Firstly, it came in the course of the first official visit by a Japanese premier to China since 2011; the lapse of seven years a vivid reminder of how chilly relations had been during that interval. Secondly, given the profound distrust between the two countries, and China's wariness of the Indo-Pacific concept, it looks to be a remarkable move.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month
  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2018, with the headline 'Cooperate and compete: Abe's new approach to China'. Subscribe