Rupert Murdoch Sees Trilateral Summit, Hosted by U.S.

Rupert Murdoch, CEO and chairman of News Corp., told a Tokyo audience that U.S. President George W. Bush should host a trilateral summit with the leaders of China and Japan, Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

“China, Japan and the U.S. have much business to get through,” Murdoch said. “There are too many misunderstandings and misread signals among these countries.”

“In these times, sensitivity in foreign relations is of unusual importance and will inevitably have an impact on domestic policy,” he said, suggesting Japan’s economy would suffer the consequences if the country fails to resolve its strained relationship with China.

It’s unclear to me why Murdoch chose to make explicit his notion that Bush should play host, but a three-way discussion would certainly bring three big players to the table. Presently, the three states only work together in the context of the six-party talks on North Korean nuclear power.

Given that context, however, it may be read as a snub to South Korea and/or Russia to be left out of other discussions. Any trilateral meeting would probably be more successful in a time when North Korea could reasonably stay off the table. Even in discussions of economics, however, some states may feel snubbed: ASEAN is an important force in regional economic integration, and it is used to a seat at the table. Australia is used to inclusion in APEC, which was founded at the suggestion of an Australian leader.

The United States may also wish to avoid a trilateral meeting, since it would be hard to stay out of China–Japan disputes if all three were in a room. All the difficulties aside, I would certainly be interested to see such a summit, if only for my own curiosity.

Murdoch also criticized closed societies in comparing the prospects of China and India, saying:

“There is a vigorous debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of China and India, but one fact is beyond debate: The free flow of information is a crucial advantage in an ultracompetitive world. There is no doubt that India is producing thousands of managers who are capable of running any company anywhere in the world. There is also no doubt that these impressive managers would not have developed in such impressive numbers if India attempted to dam the flow of facts or of opinion.”

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