2018年の予測 (8)

Dec 26, 2017 | 11:57 GMT
2018 Annual Forecast (8)

2018年の予測 (8)

Territorial Claims in the South China Sea

Territorial Claims in the South China Sea
China also succeeded in preserving its detente with the Philippines as the two countries took strides toward joint energy exploration and coast guard drills. The Philippines, too, aims to protect its sovereignty over its maritime territory. But Manila's conciliatory approach toward China has freed much-needed capacity to deal with urgent issues at home. Though Philippine forces managed to reclaim Marawi City from the Islamic State this year, political and security problems will continue to plague the country in 2018. 


The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will turn its attention to revising the constitution, passing legislation to support its peace deals with Moro rebels, securing the restive region of Mindanao and reining in communist militants. With so many concerns to address at home, the Philipines cannot afford to take a tougher stance against China. And though the Philippines' security relationship with the United States will persist, it will not endanger the country's budding cooperation with China. 


China's ties with the other major claimant in the South China Sea — Vietnam — are not so friendly. Over the past year, the two countries canceled military meetings, Beijing pressured Hanoi to halt energy exploration activities in the sea, and a U.S. aircraft carrier visited Vietnam for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War. Though national debt and economic reforms will top Hanoi's agenda in 2018, Vietnam is more stable than the Philippines and will have more space to try to counterbalance China. Just as it did in 2017, Vietnam will try to draw other countries such as Japan, India, Russia and the United States into the South China Sea. 


ASEAN will not have the same clarity in its dealings with China. Instead the bloc will face numerous obstacles as it tries to navigate the Chinese-U.S. rivalry in the region, terrorist threats and economic uncertainty. This year, disunity rose within the bloc as some of its members, including the Philippines, struck out on their own to form policies toward China. Such discord will only worsen in 2018 as member states cope with problems at home. For instance, the popularity of the governments in Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and perhaps Thailand will be put to the test in national or local elections next year. 

clarity:(思想・判断・文体などの)明確さ, 明快さ
strike out on:〜で自営[自立]する

A Japanese Awakening 
As a crisis of nuclear proportions brews on the Korean Peninsula, it will spur Japan ever onward in normalizing its military by bolstering its missile defenses and exercising the enhanced powers outlined in security legislation passed in 2015. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will also use the popular mandate it received after it swept elections in late 2017 to forge ahead with its agenda for constitutional reform. However, the party likely won't meet the ambitious timetable that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid out in mid-2017 as it works to avoid a dip in public opinion. 

proportions:深刻さ reach epidemic proportions 異常に広まる, 蔓延(まんえん)する
dip:【価格・収入・利益・気温などの】(一時的な)低下, 下落, 減少, 落ち込み

Moreover, Abe's administration will spend next year trying to contain corruption scandals and internal jockeying ahead of a transition in party leadership in late 2018. The commotion could sap legislative resources and undermine the prime minister's popularity. Still, Japan will enter into the new year with seven consecutive quarters of economic growth under its belt, thanks in large part to rising global demand and Tokyo's stimulus measures. This feat could finance further economic reforms, particularly those that center on wages, income taxes and labor laws.

jockeying:地位などをめぐる駆け引き, 画策
commotion:騒動, 騒ぎ, 動揺, 激動, 混乱
under its belt:身について; 〈作品などが〉完成[成功]して; 手中にして. 〈食物などが〉腹におさまって.
feat: (熟練・体力を要する)妙技, 離れ業; 偉業 功績
center :〈関心・事柄・行為などが〉 ≪…に≫ 集中する ≪on, upon≫ 

As the North Korean crisis and a mutual interest in countering the West pull China and Russia closer together, Japan will seek better ties with both. On some level, Tokyo may work with Beijing on its Belt and Road Initiative. Meanwhile, Japan will move forward with economic cooperation with Russia in the Kuril Islands in pursuit of a peace treaty to officially end their World War II-era hostilities and resolve territorial disputes. All the while, Tokyo will work with Washington to try to pressure Pyongyang to change its behavior. 



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