Asean? To counter China? Day dreaming.US, Japan, India, Australia & ASEAN To Join Hands To Counter A ‘Belligerent’ China
Japan has laid out plans to strengthen collaboration with India, Australia and ASEAN nations while China continues to make headlines for its increasing hostile presence in the East China Sea attracting conflict with Tokyo.
In an attempt to advance regional strategy with the US, India and Australia, Japan’s Ministry of Defence has intended to establish a new team solely responsible for the Indo-Pacific affairs.
It is reported that the change expected to be implemented by next month will also see the ministry assigning another international affairs officer to its Bureau of Defence Policy, which will eventually double its staff for coordination with countries other than the US.
The primary focus of the new official in the bureau’s International Policy Division will be to focus on cooperation with quasi-allies India and Australia, as well as Southeast Asian nations. It is also reported that the U.S. has also been looking speed-up country’s cooperation with the Quad that involves Australia, India and Japan.
In the past 2 months, Japan’s defence minister Taro Kono called on the respective counterparts in India, Southeast Asian nations and other nations that all along the Indian Ocean sea lanes to garner support against China’s alleged presence.
As reported by EurAsian Times previously, Japanese coastguards had recently announced that Chinese government ships had been spotted in the waters near the Senakaku/Diaoyu Islands every day since mid-April.
The conflict on the uninhabited disputed islands has been brewing for decades and could see the involvement of the US due to its mutual defence treaty with Japan.
Japan’s media notes that the organizational expansion by the Ministry showcases the importance that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government pays to the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”.