Japan welcomes non-Northeast Asian powers to the region: AUKUS and anti-China rhetoric
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The administration of President Yoshihide Suga will soon pass into history for doing little apart from antagonizing China. Yet, dinosaurs remain within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that seeks to continue this policy. Hence, it is hoped that the next leader of the LDP will contain the Japanese Foreign Ministry because history proves that seeking to isolate a major power never ends well.
China also needs to adopt statecraft by seeking to find compromises concerning border disputes in the South China Sea and other geographical areas. Likewise, President Xi Jinping should seek either a return to the status quo with Taiwan – or open new channels to dispel mistrust. If not, nations including Australia, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States will remain meddlesome and seek to sow more divisions. Therefore, with China not needing to worry about any threat from Taiwan concerning the military angle, it is important to quell anti-China forces in Taiwan – and externally – by focusing on a pragmatic approach.
The Suga administration witnessed a weak leader who often refused to take questions from the media or opposition political parties. Instead, the hawks within the Japanese Foreign Ministry and certain political power brokers in the ruling LDP focused on anti-China rhetoric. Henceforth, the Suga administration sought to spread the anti-China threat by raising the issue with countless nations. This notably applies to Australia, France, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Other nations, including Vietnam, listened to the same anti-China rhetoric emanating from Japan. However, nations throughout the Asia Pacific don’t want a new Cold War – nor to take sides between China and the new anti-China bloc developing.
Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have just created AUKUS that is anti-China. This follows on from the Quad support group consisting of Australia, Japan, India, and the United States also aimed at China. Therefore, China is witnessing a growing anti-China military and political angle – along with these nations spreading anti-China propaganda via the media.
The Guardian reports about AUKUS. This media group reports, “As a result of the pact, Australia will become only the seventh nation in the world to possess nuclear-powered submarines, matching a capability already held by China. The submarines can remain submerged for up to five months and are harder to detect than conventional diesel equivalents.”
Yes, three non-Asian powers (Australia firmly rooted in the history of European settlements even if non-European immigration is growing) will seek to contain China concerning the new AUKUS grouping. One can only imagine how the United States would welcome three non-North American powers – or how Europe would welcome three non-European powers – to their geopolitical world. Therefore, this new grouping is a dinosaur of the past that is being wrapped up into allegedly defending democracy in the backyard of another continent.
In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times, it was stated, “Japan needs to look at the past cultural and religious angle with China rather than following the geopolitical coattail of America. Hence, Japan needs a more nuanced approach towards China, just like South Korea adopts. However, it appears that the Japan Foreign Ministry can’t constrain itself under the leadership of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga when it comes to the anti-China mantra.”
Earlier this year, Japan and the United States issued a joint statement that said: “The United States and Japan acknowledged that China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military and technological challenges.”
The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said, “We will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.”
Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Japan “willingly stoops to acting as a strategic vassal” of the United States.
The continuing anti-China rhetoric by Japan in 2021 is unrelenting. It is as if Vietnam to Afghanistan never existed – or Commodore Perry and Gunboat Diplomacy in the nineteenth century. Instead, Japan seeks non-Asian powers – unlike South Korea or other Asian nations – to the Asia Pacific to contain China (Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – while also requesting the European Union to adopt a more anti-China stance).
Reuters reports, “Indonesia said on Friday it was worried about an arms race in the region after neighboring Australia announced plans to acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new Indo-Pacific security alliance with the United States and Britain.”
Malaysia and other ASEAN nations (apart from the Philippines) have also raised concerns about AUKUS. Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, “expressed concern over the AUKUS cooperation, which will catalyze the nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region.”
He continued, “At the same time, it will provoke other powers to act more aggressively in the region, especially in the South China Sea.”
Japan is the only Northeast Asian nation that is putting itself in the eye of the anti-China storm. However, in the worst-case scenario of a future military clash, Japan should note that mainland America and the United Kingdom are far away. Therefore, where will the theatre of war happen in the worst-case scenario?
Of course, the worst-case scenario may never happen. Yet, Japan’s continuing anti-China rhetoric, the Quad grouping, and now AUKUS will collectively lead to China building up its nuclear capabilities and other weapons of mass destruction.
Sadly, for a political party (the Liberal Democratic Party) where political elites still visit the Yasukuni Shrine, unlike the Emperor of Japan who declines, it seems that nothing is learned from history.
Japan can’t seem to fit quietly into Northeast Asia. Thus, this nation continues to seek outside nations into the anti-China equation.
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