Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, has urged South Korea and Japan to forge a strategic autonomy from the West and work with Beijing to revitalize Asia.
Wang stressed the need of cooperation while addressing Japanese and South Korean visitors at the International Conference for Trilateral Cooperation in Qingdao.
He emphasized the cultural contrasts between East Asia and the West, saying that despite attempts at assimilation, people from the region can never really assimilate into the Western or American cultures.
Wang urged China to cooperate with Japan and South Korea in order to revitalize and grow East Asia, which would then benefit the entire world.
Wang’s East Asian Solidarity Call Met with Skepticism
Wang’s comments, however, have echoes of a historical sense of racial pan-East Asian solidarity against the West in the early 20th century, according to analysts who have studied Wang’s comments.
Imperial Japan’s expansion and Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, which sought to supplant Western influence with Japanese control, served as an example of this mentality. In the end, Japanese ultra-nationalists weakened the government
Experts think Wang’s speech is unlikely to persuade Japan and South Korea given China’s forceful behavior toward them over the years.
Beijing’s attempts to reshape the regional order in its favor have led Japan and South Korea to seek security and maintain their alliances with the United States.
They have shown no interest in solely relying on China’s goodwill.
As tensions continue to rise in the region, the strategic calculations of Japan and South Korea prioritize the stability provided by their alliances with the United States.
They are wary of China’s intentions and will likely maintain their own interests and cooperation with like-minded partners to ensure their security and prosperity.