Before the rise of Xi Jinping—before the Beijing Olympics and the South China Sea tensions and the China-India border crisis—the late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had already sensed that a rising China would pose daunting challenges to its neighbours and the regional order. This brief argues that without Abe, there would likely have been no ‘Quad’ grouping joining Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. His relentless efforts to promote the Quad and champion his ’Indo-Pacific’ concept have inexorably altered the diplomatic lexicon and the geopolitical landscape of the region.
Trouble on the Horizon
Given their acrimonious history, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Japanese government was never as enamored by the narrative surrounding China’s “peaceful rise” as many of its Indo-Pacific peers were, at least initially. Many years before China began pressing its unlawful claims in the South China Sea, a game of military brinksmanship began to unfold in the East China Sea, near the Chinese-claimed, Japanese-administrated Senkaku islands. In 2003, the two countries began sparring over Chinese drilling efforts in the controversial Chunxiao underwater gas field whose reserves straddle the “median line” between Chinese and Japanese maritime claims. That year, Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) also witnessed an important change: while China had been the top destination for Japanese ODA in the years prior, India overtook China in 2003 and has remained the largest recipient ever since.
READ FULL REPORT HERE : The ‘QuadFather’: The Legacy of Shinzo Abe and the Quad | ORF (orfonline.org)