by Xinhua Writer Tian Dongdong
BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- In a bid to enhance his chummy ties with Rodrigo Duterte, president of a country who currently holds the rotating chair of ASEAN and a drifting-away U.S. ally, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday started a trip to the Philippines with an aid package of 8.66 billion U.S. dollars.
The visit, first of its kind made by Abe in the new year, is part of his six-day trip to the Asia Pacific rim countries, which will also carry him to Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
By making himself the first head of government to officially visit the Philippines this year and the highest ranking leader to ever visit Davao City, the hometown of President Duterte, Abe is leaving no stone unturned to draw the Philippines back to the U.S.-led alliance network, which has stirred up tensions in the South China Sea and the whole Asia Pacific at large.
However, Abe's calculated plan is doomed to be futile as more and more Asia Pacific countries, including the Philippines, have realized the importance and correctness of win-win cooperation as well as the toxicity of the zero-sum and Cold War mentality.
Last year's Hollywood-style farce of "the South China Sea arbitration" serves as a perfect reminder.
Directed by two non-claimants of the South China Sea, the United States and Japan, the political buffoonery had deeply damaged mutual trust between China and the Philippines, which was ruled by then Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. But the plot was immediately reversed after President Duturte's inauguration, who has a better and deeper understanding of the South China Sea issue and a foresight of a strategist over its future.
A peaceful and stable South China Sea runs counter against Abe's scheme, as he plans to fish in the troubled waters. In addition, a further drifting-away Manila from the U.S. alliance network is undoubtedly no good news for the Japanese leader, because he needs a pawn to stir up trouble in the South China Sea.
Seventy years on, the ghost of the Second World War never goes away. So does the painful suffering and memory caused by Japanese aggression and colonization in the Asia Pacific during that dark period in human history.
Abe is busy in making Japan a "normal country" again. But being normal requires being responsible first.
If Abe cannot stop creating muddy waters in the Asia Pacific, his country will never be a real responsible player of the international community. And it won't be accepted as a normal country, either.