pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 05 – No. 10

If the U.S.-China-Japan strategic triangle isn’t the most important trilateral relationship in the world, it will be. All three countries are world leaders in virtually every dimension of national power. They are the world’s biggest economies, the biggest consumers of oil, and possessors of the largest and most advanced militaries in the world. The U.S. and China are nuclear powers and holders of permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council; Japan and the U.S. are two of the world’s most technologically advanced economies and two of the world’s largest providers of development assistance. The U.S. and China are directly involved in the two of the world’s most tense flashpoints – the Taiwan Strait and the Korean Peninsula: Japan, by virtue of geography and its alliance commitments to the U.S., is indirectly involved in both as well. Individually, each of the three countries has an extraordinary impact on regional and global developments; if they work together that influence is greatly magnified. More significantly, a refusal or inability to cooperate will have equally powerful consequences.