WASHINGTON – China’s official media said Sunday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday, failed to secure explicit words of support for Japan amid its dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
“Abe failed to deliver on his major bid to solicit explicit support over the territorial spat with China, as Washington weighed between a desire to enhance traditional ties with Tokyo against a growing need to cultivate healthy relations with Beijing,” the Xinhua news agency said in an analysis of Abe’s visit.
“Washington this time intentionally played down the issue, refraining from clearly throwing its support behind Tokyo,” it added.
Xinhua said what transpired in Washington was “contrary to Abe’s great hope of showing off the ‘robust’ U.S.-Japan alliance and prodding the U.S. into taking Japan’s side in its spiraling dispute with neighboring China over the Diaoyu Islands,” as the disputed territory is known in China.
It noted that Obama, in his brief remarks after his meeting with Abe, avoided any mention of the Japan-China territorial dispute, though he did reiterate the U.S.-Japan alliance was the “central foundation for our regional security and so much of what we do in the Pacific region.”
Abe’s attitude “was somewhat restrained by Washington’s snub,” it said, in contrast to the “aggressive and rash statements” he had made before leaving Tokyo.
Xinhua said the outcome of Abe’s visit “manifested the U.S. attempts to strike a tricky balance” and showed that Washington “hated seeing its highly interwoven ties with Beijing damaged by Japan’s rash behavior.”