China, Japan, and the Post-Soviet Upheaval
The strategic triangle of China, Japan, and Russia is emerging as an important part of the strategic quadrangle of China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. While this chapter considers all three viewpoints and it argues for the time being, the global and regional geopolitical readjustment looms foremost for policy makers in Moscow and Beijing, whose interactions are playing the lead role in triangular relations. Russia signaled to China its commitment to build on the hard-won foundation of normalization and even more that China would be its first priority in the region and not for Japan. As a result, Japan did not gain much leverage in the emerging triangle and did not manage to use the post-Soviet transformation to its advantage in gaining international stature, strengthening its regional base, or solidifying its national identity. In contrast, China's leaders focused precisely on these three goals and became, perhaps, the primary beneficiaries of the post-Soviet upheaval.