Sunday, 20 Oct 2019
OPINION

Multiple-benefit connection

Updated at Wednesday, 02 Oct 2019, 07:55
The Hanoitimes - Japan and the EU want to create alternatives to China`s Belt and Road Initiative. They build a counterweight to China`s ambitions.
Not long after achieving the agreement on a common free trade zone, the EU and Japan inked an infrastructure deal to jointly roll out transport, energy and digital projects linking Europe and Asia. This deal is another clear sign of strong improvement of the relationship and cooperation between the EU and Japan. It implies Japan's participation in infrastructure projects the EU intends to carry out within the framework of the EU's "Connecting Europe and Asia - Building Block for an EU Strategy". It means the deal not only provides a nexus between EU and Japan but also places the linkage between the two parties into the connection between Europe and Asia.
 
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: AFP Photo/JOHN THYS
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: AFP Photo/JOHN THYS
Linking or connecting is here the key word, the form and format for a new quality and level in the cooperation between the EU and Japan. In order to successfully implement this strategy, the EU not only has to increase investments in countries and regions in Europe and Asia but also needs partners in both continents, especially in Asia. In this context, Japan meets all criteria by the EU to become one of, if not the most, the ideal partners for the EU. Like Japan in Asia for the EU, the EU could become through the same way the ideal gate for Japan in Europe. Both sides could obtain economic and trade profit as well as political influences from this connection.

The other great benefit for them, despite being denied by both, is to counter China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. This Chinese unique plan has always been like a darn in the EU's and Japan's eyes. China uses its financial might and big market to line up many European and Asian countries and partners into its Belt and Road Initiative, forcing the EU to compete with China in Europe and Japan to vie with China in Asia. The EU and Japan each have a separate strategy to counter China's ambitions, for example this EU Connecting Europe and Asia Strategy or Japan's numerous financial or investment projects or programs for developing infrastructures in Asian countries.

They want to create alternatives to China's Belt and Road Initiative. They build a counterweight to China's ambitions. Together, they could do this much better and more efficient than doing it alone.

With this deal, the EU and Japan both will be in a better position to compete with China and to force this country to cooperate with them and not to be forced to work with China in making and taking profit from connecting Europe and Asia. 
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau
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