WASHINGTON – Japan is expected to seek closer military cooperation with the United States in view of China’s new military assertiveness in the region, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto has called for closer military cooperation given China’s naval expansion in the East and South China Sea as well as terrorism and cybercrime emanating from China.
Japan hopes to reinforce the existing Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, which has been in effect since January 1960. Among other things, the U.S. is obligated to come to Japan’s assistance in the event of an armed attack.
Japan is the second largest economy in Asia and has Asia’s most efficient military in the region, even though it is smaller in size to that of China. Yet, Tokyo has its own issues with Beijing over ownership of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.
China similarly has territorial disputes with countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and India among other countries in the region.
However, the dispute that Japan has with China has prompted Tokyo to seek a closer military alliance with the U.S. since China clearly has a larger military and is improving in its technology capabilities as Beijing continues to modernize its military.
Sources say that the issue over ownership of the islands as China reasserts its influence in the region has increased the danger of a direct conflict between Japan and China.
Despite the fact that there have been recent talks between officials from China and Japan, no agreement has been reached, and none is contemplated.
“One country must make a concession,” according to Yan Xuetong, a Chinese foreign policy strategist, recently told the Daily Mail in an interview. “But I do not see Japan making concessions. I do not see either side making concessions. Both sides want to solve the situation peacefully but neither side can provide the right approach.”
Unless one or the other side backs down, he said that there could be a repeat of the Falkland’s conflict, but in Asia.
“China takes a very tolerant policy elsewhere, with smaller powers,” Xuetong said. “But the case of Japan is different. There is history between us. Japan is a big power. It regards itself as a regional, and sometimes a world power. So, China can very naturally regard Japan as an equal. And if we are equal, you cannot poke us. You cannot make a mistake.”
Xuetong’s insights become increasingly important as the two countries don’t appear to be backing down, despite the change of leadership that is under way in China.
Xuetong also can be regarded as representing the views from Beijing, since he is the dean of International Relations at Tsinghua University, the college in which both China’s presidents, outgoing Hu Jintao and his successor, Xi Jinping, were educated.
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