Skip to main content

New Dimensions of China-Japan-U.S. Relations

Edited by Japan Center for International Exchange JCIE

Many policy analysts believe China-Japan-U.S. relations to be the key triangle in world politics of the 21st century. The ten essays in this book probe the interrelations of the three major powers of the Asia Pacific region. Experts from China, Japan, and the United States examine the evolving nature of trilateral relations by analyzing the impact on their interactions of such international events as the Asian financial crisis, the situation on the Korean peninsula, and the new nuclear arms race in South Asia occasioned by India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear tests. Recognizing that the continuing prosperity and security of Asia Pacific is largely contingent upon enhanced cooperation between China, Japan, and the United States, the authors examine the ways in which the three countries can collaborate to resolve specific troublesome regional issues and ways in which bilateral relations among the three can be improved. The Asian financial crisis, the South Asian nuclear tests, and the exchange of visits between President Bill Clinton and President Jiang Zemin appear to have drastically changed the context for discussion of trilateral relations. The warming of Sino-U.S. relations in particular has caused some analysts to question whether in the next century the United States might make a strategic choice to downplay its close security and economic relations with Japan in favor of a broadened and deepened relationship with China. China’s rise, particularly if it is perceived as having come about at Japan’s expense, will call into question the objective of trilateral dialogue: Is it to develop equidistant relations, or to reinforce current bilateral relationships while maintaining the status quo? These new dimensions of the China-Japan-U.S. relationship point to the importance of developing a sustained trilateral dialogue to manage the psychology of trilateral relations, for the benefit of the three countries and the region, as well.

Get daily updates from Brookings