Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Sana Hashmi: “Japan Perceives Chinese Activities in the Region as a Threat.”

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On November 17, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Bangkok. At the meeting, a 5-point memorandum was signed aiming at stabilize and improve bilateral relations. After signing this Mou, it began to be wondered how Japan’s regional policies and relations with the United States (The US) would follow. These dialogues are seen, above all, as an effort to reduce the risk of war in the region. On the other hand, China may have a different agenda by improving relations with the US’s allies in the region.

From this point of view, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM) presents the views it received from Sana Hashmi, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF), in order to evaluate the recent developments in China-Japan relations and its impact on the US’s regional policies.

  1. In the meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, a memorandum of 5 articles was signed in order to improve bilateral relations. How will this affect Japan’s regional policy?

I think exchanges and interactions between the Chinese & Japanese leaders are not a sign of rapprochement or a reset in relations. China-Japan relations are particularly different from that China’s relations with the West. Geography and the maritime dispute are driving forces here. In my opinion, the meeting or future interactions won’t have much impact on how Japan views China and the changing regional dynamics. Japan views China’s activities in the region as a threat.

  1. With this memorandum, Japan once again reaffirmed its commitment to the basic political documents with China. Will this harmony between the two states harm (impair) the US’s interests in the region?

Japan is an ally of the US. I don’t see China-Japan exchanges hampering the prospects of US-Japan relations or for that matter US’s interests in the region. Such agreements are confidence-building measures to keep the region stable. Even the US is attempting to restart [political] dialogue with China. With outgoing China’s ambassador to the US becoming foreign minister, it is visible that China is trying to reach out to the US as well.

  1. Do you think that Japan’s policy regarding Taiwan will change after this memorandum?

No, I don’t think that concern has gone anywhere. Japan’s position on Taiwan remains the same.

Dr. Sana Hashmi

Sana Hashmi, Ph.D., is Postdoctoral Fellow at Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF). She has been working with the Foundation since March 2021. She is an affiliated scholar with the Research Institute for Indo-Pacific Affairs (RIIPA). She was Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fellow at the Institute of International Relations, National Chengchi University in 2020. She is also a former Consultant in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India, where she worked on the Southeast Asian region and the Indo-Pacific with a focus on China from 2016-19. Her primary research focuses on Taiwan’s foreign relations, China’s foreign policy, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, Taiwan-India relations, China’s territorial disputes, Indo-Pacific, and Asian security.

Dr. Cenk TAMER
Dr. Cenk TAMER
Dr. Cenk Tamer graduated from Sakarya University, Department of International Relations in 2014. In the same year, he started his master's degree at Gazi University, Department of Middle Eastern and African Studies. In 2016, Tamer completed his master's degree with his thesis titled "Iran's Iraq Policy after 1990", started working as a Research Assistant at ANKASAM in 2017 and was accepted to Gazi University International Relations PhD Program in the same year. Tamer, whose areas of specialization are Iran, Sects, Sufism, Mahdism, Identity Politics and Asia-Pacific and who speaks English fluently, completed his PhD education at Gazi University in 2022 with his thesis titled "Identity Construction Process and Mahdism in the Islamic Republic of Iran within the Framework of Social Constructionism Theory and Securitization Approach". He is currently working as an Asia-Pacific Specialist at ANKASAM.