- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

New clout for Japan

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Japan yesterday became the first American official to give public support to Tokyo’s goal of obtaining a permanent seat with veto power on the U.N. Security Council.

“If you are elected permanent membership on the Security Council, you should have all rights and responsibilities that go with that,” Ambassador Howard Baker told reporters at Japan’s National Press Club. “If you have two different classes of permanent members on the Security Council, you would defeat its purpose.”

The Bush administration is supporting Japan’s campaign to join the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia as permanent members of the council, which also includes 10 rotating members among the nations represented in the U.N. General Assembly. None of the temporary members has a veto over Security Council action.

However, until Mr. Baker’s comments, the United States had not commented on whether Japan should have a veto on the council. The White House has expressed no public position on the candidacies of Brazil, Germany and India, which also are seeking permanent positions on the council.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has argued that Japan deserves a seat on the council because it is the United Nations’ second-largest financial supporter, after the United States.

In his press conference, Mr. Baker, who is retiring after more than four years as ambassador, predicted that Japan will benefit from the man expected to replace him. Although President Bush has not yet nominated him, Thomas Schieffer, the current ambassador to Australia, is widely expected to be sent to Tokyo. Mr. Schieffer, a fellow Texas Republican, is also a former business partner of Mr. Bush’s.

Mr. Baker, a Republican former senator from Tennessee and former Senate majority leader, said his political career helped him maintain closer contacts with the White House and Congress than a career diplomat would have.

“One of the values I think I brought to this job is my ability to talk to those who formulate the policies of our country because most of these people I knew and had dealt with over the years,” he said.

“But Schieffer is not without that sort of contact as well. … I’m sure Ambassador Schieffer can communicate with the president as freely as I did.”

Arming Pakistan

The United States is surprised by India’s frosty reaction to Washington’s plans to sell arms to Pakistan, the U.S. ambassador to India said.

Ambassador David Mulford told reporters in New Delhi this week that the pending arms sale should not affect either of the nuclear-armed rivals or India’s relations with the United States.

He said the Bush administration strongly encourages the current India-Pakistan negotiations and would do nothing to impede the talks.

“I don’t see why it should have any impact on the dialogue,” he said of U.S. plans to sell Pakistan surveillance aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

“I don’t think any one of these things would change the overall relations between India and Pakistan.”

However, India last week strongly objected to the arms deal.

“We have conveyed that U.S. arms supply to Pakistan would have a negative impact on the good will the U.S. enjoys in India,” Foreign Minister Natwar Singh told Parliament.

Indian officials delivered a strong warning to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on his visit last week to New Delhi.

In his press conference, Mr. Mulford added that the United States also would like to pursue arms sales with India.

“We would like to have a very important economic and military relationship with India,” he said. “We would like to be a big supplier of military equipment to India.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail morrison @washingtontimes.com.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide