China has established a global financial institution that focuses on building roads, railways and other key infrastructure projects crucial to development in Asia. Though there are concerns raised by the United States, the formulation of the AIIB ties China further into a multilateral system.
China is showing itself to be increasingly open about a possible role in brokering peace in Afghanistan. But the extent to which its actions will coincide with Western priorities should not be overestimated.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is looking shaky, to say the least. Although initially riding strong on his policy of rapprochement with China last Fall, the Abe administration has been hit by a number of scandals since December. Abe’s popularity has plummeted to 28% (July ‘07) from a high of 60% (Sept ‘06).