Western allies and Japan unite to deal with threat posed by China and Russia
The United States and Japan have unveiled plans to bolster their military alliance to help counter threats from North Korea and China, which they say pose the greatest security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region. .
Following Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent trip to Paris, where he and French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to strengthen security cooperation in what Japan calls the “Free and open Indo-Pacific“, Kishida traveled to the Americas, where he is due to meet US President Joe Biden.
He is accompanied by a delegation including Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu and Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa.
US visit follows Japan’s December 16 statement New Security Policya 36-page document that expresses particular concern over China’s increased defense spending.
He also warns that Beijing is “strengthening its strategic ties with Russia and trying to challenge the international order”.
The Japanese document follows strong terms National Defense Strategy 2022described by the US Department of Defense in October, which “emphasizes the need to maintain and strengthen US deterrence against China”.
The French Ministry of Defense published his Defense Strategy in the Indo-Pacific in 2019, based on concerns about the “growing strategic rivalry between China and the United States” and emphasizing cooperation between France and members of the Quadrilateral Dialogue or Quad , an informal alliance of the United States, India, Japan and Australia that aims to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
A tracking paper published in February 2022 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows that France today has some 1,660 soldiers in New Caledonia and 1,180 in French Polynesia, supported by seven ships and two dozen planes and helicopters, to protect the thousands of French people living in the area.
But as Franco-Japanese ties grow, those between Tokyo and Washington are by far the strongest in what some see as a growing anti-China alliance.
At a press conference earlier this week, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Japan and the United States “remain united in our concern over China’s destabilizing actions”, adding that Washington had an “ironclad commitment to defend Japan with the full range of capabilities, including nuclear”.
The growing commitment of the allies to strengthen strategic cooperation is thwarted by a constant rapprochement between China and Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged “boundless friendship” at the Beijing-hosted Winter Olympics in February, just two weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Despite the global instability caused by the war in Ukraine, China has never criticized Moscow.
During a video conference between the two leaders late last year, Putin said that “we aim to strengthen cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China”, calling Xi a “dear friend”.
For now, the two emerging power blocs seem to be drifting apart, each persisting in its own vision of the new world order.
The United States and its allies are fighting for a rules-based international orderimplicitly led by Washington, while China and Russia would prefer a “multipolar world“where countries do not interfere in the internal affairs of others”, two incompatible notions.
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