China’s growing military might compelled Japan and Russia, long at odds over a territorial feud, to take a brief time out from their longstanding tiff in 2007 and take on a more cooperative view towards one another, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released on Tuesday on the WikiLeaks website.
In speaking about the need to bring Russia closer to Japan and the rest of East Asia on regional issues, a Japanese foreign ministry official asked U.S. embassy officials to relay to Washington that “failure to encourage Moscow’s integration increased the risk that Moscow and Beijing might forge a closer strategic partnership – one that could provide unconstructive proposals,” according to a message sent from the U.S. embassy in Tokyo to the State Department on June 14, 2007. The cable adds that Akira Muto, the then-foreign ministry official overseeing Russian matters, said “Japan hoped to ‘drive a wedge between Russia and China,’ Muto noted.”
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