Japan held consultations with the European Union on security and defence, in particular operational cooperation for maritime security, following joint naval exercises in the Gulf of Aden and in the Arabian Sea, as well as a joint port call on Djibouti. The EU and Japan are determined to pursue their cooperation to protect freedom of navigation and promote maritime security through training initiatives and operational activities at sea. They aim to extend their cooperation to other partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will visit on Friday U.S. President Joe Biden in the White House. The meeting underscores the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance, especially as the countries’ shared rival, China, grows in strength and aggressiveness.
Indonesia and Japan have signed a deal enabling exports of Japanese-made defense equipment as they try to boost cooperation amid China’s rising assertiveness in regional waters. Indonesia faces tensions in its exclusive economic zone in the waters north of the Natuna Islands with China.
Japan has expressed his hope to advance specific cooperation with Indonesia to concretise the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, amid concern over China’s activities in the regional waters. Both sides spoke highly of the importance of maintaining free and open navigation, while pledging to enhance close cooperation between Japan and ASEAN member states.
India and Japan signed agreements for loans and a grant worth a total of $2.11 billion for crucial infrastructure projects, including Tokyo’s first-ever aid for a project in the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is being perceived as significant in terms of the commitment by India and Japan to work for a free and stable Indo-Pacific.
The bloc thought that it could dispel suspicions of its motives by emphasizing that it came together for humanitarian reasons almost two decades ago but that narrative is nothing more than an attempt to deceive the rest of the world.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, popularly known as the Quad, held its first-ever leadership summit on Friday via virtual means. The leaders of the US, Australia, India, and Japan discussed a slew of issues that concern their mutual interests in the broad space that they describe as the Indo-Pacific. The bloc has long been suspected of tacitly harboring anti-Chinese intentions, but its leaders attempted to clarity that this isn’t the entirety of its purpose in their joint statement that was released after their video conference. In fact, they didn’t even directly address China at all, though they did imply that it was discussed during their meeting.
The only indirect reference to China was the joint statement’s claims that its members “will continue to prioritize the role of international law in the maritime domain, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.” Nevertheless, this is still very significant since it directly affects China’s national security interests in those two bodies of water considering its territorial claims there that are contested by several other countries.
The Quad’s joint statement also pointed out that this bloc was supposedly created after the 2004 tsunami, though without mentioning the growing consensus in their countries over the past few years that it’s actually a platform for attempting to contain China. Their talk about shared interests in the spheres of trade, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, cybersecurity, COVID-19, investment, and other such topics actually seem to be a smokescreen for strengthening coordination between them on these fronts in order to more rigorously compete with China.
Of particular concern is the Quad’s references to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, “democratic values”, and “territorial integrity”, which can be understood by the larger strategic context as being directed against China. That’s because those countries have repeatedly accused China of allegedly undermining all three of those interests around which the Quad is converging. At face value, the bloc’s claims of ASEAN’s centrality seem innocuous enough but take on a more sinister meaning if one suspects the Quad of trying to court those countries for the purpose of containing China in the South China Sea.
With this in mind, the Quad’s first-ever leadership summit did indeed clarify the bloc’s purpose through its indirect strategic references to containing China, which are patently obvious to those observers that are capable of reading between the lines in the current strategic context. The bloc thought that it could dispel suspicions of its motives by emphasizing that it came together for humanitarian reasons almost two decades ago but that narrative is nothing more than an attempt to deceive the rest of the world. The Quad has always had tacit anti-Chinese intentions, though these don’t need to remain its raison d’etat.
For example, instead of excluding China and aiming to contain it, the Quad could incorporate the People’s Republic into this transregional platform through non-military outreaches focused on trade, investment, infrastructure, COVID-19, climate change, and disaster relief. It’s impossible to contain China, let alone in its home region, which is why the Quad should focus on cooperating with it. The overarching purpose of such outreaches could be to lay the basis for expanding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which Quad-members Australia and Japan are already part of with China to include the US and India with time.
The Indo-Pacific isn’t “free and open” when China is excluded from the Quad’s emerging transregional integration platform, nor are “democratic values” embraced by refusing to cooperate with it. To the contrary, the Quad is attempting to make the Indo-Pacific increasingly captive and closed in an anti-democratic way which threatens China’s territorial integrity in the East and South China Seas. It’s for this reason why the Quad must radically reconsider its raison d’etat by moving away from its doomed-to-fail attempts to contain China and towards actively cooperating with it instead.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned last Friday that the US’ reportedly planned deployment of intermediate-range missiles to Japan “will certainly entail our retaliation”, which could realistically take the form of informally creating a Russian-Chinese-North Korean missile alliance in defensive response to that destabilizing scenario.
The US is so obsessed with attempting to “contain” China that it might ultimately be responsible for creating a Russian-Chinese-North Korean missile alliance if it doesn’t reconsider its reportedly planned deployment of intermediate-range missiles to Japan. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned last Friday that such a move “will certainly entail our retaliation” because it “would have an extremely destabilizing effect from the standpoint of international and regional security.” The Neo-Realist theory of International Relations preaches that states will always put their security interests first, which in this case could realistically lead to Russia, China, and North Korea coordinating their defensive response to America’s emerging missile-driven threat as is their right under international law. Such an outcome would arguably be against the US’ regional security interests, including those of its Japanese and South Korean allies.
It must be remembered that the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership received an enormous boost in 2014 following the simultaneous onset of Western sanctions against the Eurasian Great Power during the Ukrainian Crisis in parallel with the US’ doubling down on its provocative actions in the South China Sea. The US’ strategic rivals as it officially considers them to be nowadays were pushed closer together than ever before due to their shared interests in responding to these provocations along their peripheries. Nevertheless, neither feelscomfortable becoming the other’s military ally because they don’t want to get caught up fighting their partner’s possible wars in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia respectively. That calculation might informally change as a result of the US’ reportedly planned intermediate-range missile deployment to Japan since such a move goes against both of their security interests in Northeast Asia, as well as that of their shared North Korean partner.
Russia and China already closely cooperate in the military sphere, with Moscow even helping Beijing construct a missile-attack warning system. This speaks to how much they trust one another. With that in mind, it’s only natural that they’d be pressed to take their military cooperation even further in the face of the US’ possible missile threats against them in Northeast Asia. North Korea might also coordinate with them in the event that it decides to double down on its missile program in response, thereby likely scuttling the already stalled denuclearization talks and possibly leading to another related crisis in the region. More multilateral pressure being put upon North Korea in that scenario would only push it closer to its Russian and Chinese neighbors, who both share Pyongyang’s concerns about the possible deployment of the US’ intermediate-range missiles in Japan. As such, an informal missile alliance between them wouldn’t be surprising.
The US doesn’t want Russia and China increasing their military cooperation even further than they already have, yet those two would have little choice but to do so as was argued, including through possible coordination with North Korea in the missile sphere. Some have previously speculated that such a scenario would be nightmarish for the US, but that’s exactly what the US is practically forcing them to do. In other words, from the American strategic standpoint, this outcome would be completely counterproductive for its interests. This observation raises the question of why responsible policymakers aren’t warning about that scenario considering how obvious it is. It can’t be known for sure, but it might very well be that the American strategic community has been captured by Sinophobic ideologues who are so blinded by their hatred of the People’s Republic that they don’t see how disadvantageous their so-called “missile diplomacy” with China is.
From the opposite perspective, those in favor of accelerating the onset of the Multipolar World Order will probably cheer the informal creation of a Russian-Chinese-North Korean missile alliance as a long-overdue development. They’ve been hoping that Russia and its partners would take such a step for a while already, yet it might ironically turn out that they needed American pressure to do so. It’ll remain to be seen what happens of course, but it seems unlikely that the US will hold back on its reported decision to deploy intermediate-range missiles to Japan or elsewhere in the region, thus catalyzing some form of the predicted response from Russia and its partners and thus potentially turning that scenario into a fait accompli. In any case, the world will find out soon enough what will ultimately happen, with the outcome interestingly being decided by none other than the US since its decision whether or not to provoke an Asian missile race will prove pivotal.
The so-called “Quad” -United States, India, Australia and Japan- agreed to pool financing, manufacturing and distribution capacity to send coronavirus vaccines across Asia. India will use its manufacturing capacity to make U.S. vaccines, with financing coming from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. They want to counter China’s growing vaccination diplomacy in Southeast Asia and around the world. India is the world’s biggest vaccine maker.
The United States, Japan, India and Australia will work together to secure rare earth metals that are essential to the production of electric car motors and other products. The four-nation group, referred to as the “Quad” countries, are due to hold an online summit meeting seen as part of efforts to counterbalance China’s growing economic (and military) power.