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Abe pushes diplomacy to contain China

2014-09-10 15:15 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Wang Fan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on a two-stop South Asian tour reasserting Tokyo's interest in a region where it has ceded influence to China.

Abe visited the countries after hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks that yielded a Japanese pledge to invest $34 billion in India and launched a "special, strategic global partnership" to deepen security cooperation, pre-empting Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is traveling to India and Sri Lanka later this month.

Abe was the first Japanese prime minister to visit Bangladesh in 14 years and the first to travel to Sri Lanka in nearly a quarter of a century.

In Bangladesh, Abe followed up on a commitment for Japanese business to invest 600 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in infrastructure projects, and won Dhaka's support for Tokyo's bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council.

"They (the Japanese) are aware that we are beholden to China's influence in many ways, so they would like to counter that," said Nanda Godaga, a retired Sri Lankan diplomat who follows Japanese foreign policy.

The globe-trotting Abe has now visited 49 countries, the most by a prime minister in Japan's history. His "dollar diplomacy", together with arms exports shows Japan's strategy is to ally with neighboring countries to contain a rising China.

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