Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in the United States to forge a new and closer alliance with the Unit States in opposition to China. Elected in December, the hawkish Abe arrived in Washington yesterday. Today he is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama. The timing of the visit is not accidental, given rising tensions with China over a group of islands and North Korea's ever-dangerous threats.
Danny Russel, Obama's top advisor on Asia, said Obama "remains supportive of the peaceful efforts to find diplomatic resolution to outstanding issues of territorial claims".
He said that the president was against "coercive actions or unilateral steps that threaten the stability of the region", and did not deny that the US recognised Japan's control of the islands.
In an interview with a US paper ahead of his trip, Abe voiced hope that the US alliance - and the presence of 47,000 American troops on Japanese soil under a security treaty - would send a message to China. "It is important for us to have them recognise that it is impossible to try to get their way by coercion or intimidation," Abe explained.
In the interview with the Washington Post, Abe accused China of teaching anti-Japanese views in its schools. "In the case of China, teaching patriotism is also teaching anti-Japanese sentiment," he said. On mainland China, some people agree.
"Encouraging anti-Japanese sentiment helps distract the Chinese from the country's real problems", commented one blogger.
"I agree with Abe," said another one. "Even my four-year-old son told me Japan was evil - according to his grandfather."