Sec. Rice will give a speech today, according to the Washington Post, promoting a permanent UN Security Council seat for Japan:
"While the United States has previously supported Japan as a permanent member of the Security Council, this is 'the first time it's been put in a comprehensive policy statement by an American secretary of state,' one official said.
Before Bush became president, Rice wrote an article in Foreign Affairs in which she asserted that China would like to alter Asia's strategic balance in its favor. Since then China has used its economic power to spread its influence through Asia.
'We have no problems with a strong, confident, economically powerful China,' Rice told reporters as she flew to Tokyo. She said she wrote that article at a time when China's rise was 'a new factor in international politics.' She said 'the prospects are there that we could see this development be positive, not negative. But I don't want to underestimate the challenges in doing so.'"
There has been increased talk of reforming the Security Council with a high level international panel that provided recommendations to Mr. Annan earlier this year. (see DEL January 3rd, 2005 post regarding and an excellent Economist article here). The subject also came up during Sec. Rice's recent visit to India (see Remarks with Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh here).
The US and Japan are definitely displaying closer cooperation militarily and diplomatically in recent years. This, I believe, is a result of a nuclear North Korea and a China that appears to be increasingly flexing its muscles.
Dawn's Early Light will report back on this story, after the full text is out, and its implications with respect to containing China.