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MUSINGS / Nov. 19, 2017

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Nov. 19 issue.

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In the 16th century, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan journeyed from South America to the Philippines, naming the huge body of water through which he passed “Mar Pacifico” (peaceful sea). This is the origin of the name Pacific Ocean.

When U.S. President Donald Trump visited China recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping told him, “The Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States.” Xi, who intends to create a new world order led by the United States and China, has been repeating this phrase for some time.

According to a book titled “Amerika to Chugoku” (America and China) written by Fumio Matsuo, trade between the United States and China started in 1784, or 69 years before Commodore Matthew Perry arrived at Uraga port. In 1844, the U.S. president sent a personal letter to the emperor of the Qing dynasty, emphasizing the special relationship of the two countries straddling the Pacific Ocean.

In the United States, there is a tendency to place importance on China based on mutual long-term bonds. China has minted the slogan “the great revival of Chinese nation.” How did President Trump feel upon being entertained at an ancient palace?

But meanwhile, 11 nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, including Japan and Vietnam, reached a broad agreement on a new pact excluding the United States. Many nations are exercising wisdom while the United States brandishes its “America first” policy. The notion of only the United States and China holding sway over the diversity-rich Asia-Pacific region is an anachronism.Speech

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