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Abe silently starts Middle East trip after Trump says Middle East oil is not needed

Time: January 10, 2020 13:49:57 Zhongcai
In recent days, the situation in the Middle East has become a mess, and there have been ups and downs between the United States and Iran. Japan outside the war situation was originally watching the situation.

But in these few days, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made an unexpected move-starting on January 11th, he visited three countries in the Middle East.

The decision was not a temporary one, but rather to act as originally planned. However, because of the chaos in the Middle East, this incident has been reversed several times.

The twists and turns of the trip itinerary Shinzo Abe made this visit plan as early as last year.

According to the original plan, Abe will visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman from the Middle East on January 11 to discuss oil imports, trade and investment, and security of the Persian Gulf energy transmission channel.

But on January 8, Abe's cabinet issued a statement saying that in view of the "tense situation in the Middle East", Abe decided to cancel this planned trip to the three Middle East countries.

As international public opinion and discussion of Abe ’s decision began, the story turned abruptly—NHK reported that on January 9, Abe suddenly changed his mind again and decided to resume the Middle East itinerary that had just been announced but cancelled for one day. It is planned to start a trip to the three Middle East countries on January 11.

It is not uncommon for international diplomatic occasions to cancel, change, or temporarily add trips, but Japan, which has always paid attention to punctuality, has rarely seen such hurried cancellations, resumption, and haste.

In fact, before that, there had been some disturbances around this visit.

On January 6, in response to rumors that Abe's trip to the Middle East was "possibly forced to be cancelled or postponed," Abe issued a speech saying that he would insist on sending committed escort destroyers and patrol aircraft to the Gulf as planned. This is considered to be an implicit and implicit expression of "the fixed itinerary".

At that time, I am afraid that even Abe himself did not expect that in less than a week after that, the trip to the Middle East encountered so many variables.

The change in the relationship with the US-Iraq relationship is closely related to the repeated "reversal" of Abe's trip to the Middle East, which is highly consistent with the change in the US-Iran relationship curve in the past week.

In the early hours of January 3, U.S. military drones assassinated Brigadier General Suleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq, provoking indignation among Shiite forces in Iran and surrounding countries.

On the one hand, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other forces "revenge" are deafening, and on the other hand, the assassination of US President Trump, which has planned relentlessly, has escalated, the tension between the United States and Iran has continued to escalate, and the Middle East situation is in danger.

It was against this background that the initial news that Abe would cancel his trip to the Middle East and suspend the deployment of self-defense force warships and patrol aircraft in the Middle East.

However, the Middle East energy imports account for nearly 90% of Japan ’s energy consumption, and the situation in the Gulf is at stake for Japan ’s strategic interests. "Care is chaos", so Abe personally said "business as usual".

In the early morning of January 8, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards attacked two US military bases in Iraq with tactical rockets at the same time as Suleimani was assassinated five days ago, as a retaliatory action of "eye for eye, tooth for tooth".

At first, Trump put on a tit-for-tat situation and shouted, "We have the strongest army, wait for me to announce tomorrow morning." This has caused many observers to worry that "the escalation of conflict is imminent", and a big war is imminent.

Obviously, Abe's staff made a similar foresight, and therefore hurriedly decided to cancel the scheduled itinerary.

But as more discerning people expected, the Iranian side did not really intend to start a full-scale war with the United States, and the United States did not want to enter into a protracted toss with Iran.

Therefore, a few hours after the rocket attack, one just declared "Dare to fight back and hit the United States"; one tossed one night and finally decided "We want to embrace peace."

The Abe trip, which was originally canceled because of fear of escalation of the conflict, was naturally resumed because of fear of disappearing.

Abe didn't want to stand in line with Abe, so he was not afraid of danger.

Previously, Japan's well-known Middle East expert Akira Ichiro Tanaka pointed out that the reason why Abe hesitated and repeated on his trip to the Middle East and Iran was that he was "walking in muddy water" at inappropriate times and was "forced by the United States, Iran or other relevant countries to stand in line. ".

Japan is a country with a high dependence on energy imports. It needs to maintain good relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States behind Saudi Arabia at the same time. It is the option that is in its most strategic interest. The safety and smoothness of the Gulf oil transportation channel is even more important. Where it is.


Therefore, since the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA) has led to increased tensions in the Gulf, Japan has been cautious and meticulous, striving for no one's crime.

For example, while trying to cater to U.S. unilateral sanctions against Iran, and trying every means to continue importing Iranian oil (although the volume of imports has decreased significantly); both responding to Trump ’s call to “send warships to escort the Gulf” and insisting on self-defense force warships The aircraft operates independently and is not under the command of the US military.

In the days when the Suleimani incident led to the most tense situation in the Gulf, Abe and the Japanese cabinet have always avoided "selecting a side station" and always maintained a vague diplomatic rhetoric and attitude.

They are obviously worried that once the situation continues to escalate and worsen, they rush into Abe, the center of the Vortex, at this delicate time, and they will fall into the embarrassment of being forced to stand in a team, but nowhere to stand. Can hide ".

But now that the storm is flattening, Abe will naturally proceed as planned. After all, for Japan, oil and gas resources cannot be broken.
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