China and Russia to increase military drills in Northeast Asia: Japan geopolitics

China and Russia to increase military drills in Northeast Asia: Japan geopolitics

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

The Russian Federation will take part in military drills with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members for the first time in early December. At the same time, the Russian Federation and China will strengthen their military ties in Northeast Asia.

TASS News reports, “Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe approved a 2021-2025 military cooperation roadmap at their working meeting held via a videoconference on Tuesday.”

In recent times, notably under the former leader Yoshihide Suga, the Foreign Ministry of Japan uttered endless anti-China statements. Similarly, people in the current administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are anti-China even if the current leader of Japan seeks a middle path. 

Petty nationalism in Japan – even if petty nationalism also exists in other nations, including South Korea – is alienating this country from other nations throughout Northeast Asia. This concerns China, North Korea, South Korea, and the Russian Federation despite political elites in Moscow being open to Japan. Therefore, Japan needs to rebalance its pro-American stance by seeking favorable relations with all nations in Northeast Asia, even if the North Korea angle remains problematic for Japan and South Korea concerning the unpredictability of North Korea. 

Of course, America will remain to be Japan’s strongest ally for the foreseeable future. However, this doesn’t mean that Japan should involve itself in America’s containment policies of China and the Russian Federation if not in the national interest of Japan. 

Yet, under the Suga administration and continuing with some members of the Kishida cabinet, the endless carping of China in Japan is never-ending. It is hoped that Kishida can reduce tensions. Hence, while the main concern in Japan is China, the Russian Federation faces the same blowback from America and petty nationalists in Japan.

Instead, like South Korea, Japan should seek cordial relations with America, China, and the Russian Federation and iron out differences more diplomatically. This approach by South Korea maintains a strong partnership with America – and a similar approach would serve Japan well. 

Japan’s recent statements about China concerning Taiwan – and other anti-China rhetoric – are only increasing military patrols in areas of concern. Likewise, the policies of America concerning China and the Russian Federation (from Taiwan to Ukraine) mean Japan needs a more nuanced approach – while preserving Japan’s relationship with America. However, in recent times Japan is involved in the containment of China with the end result being the strengthening of military ties between China and the Russian Federation in Northeast Asia.

NHK reports, “Chinese and Russian defense ministers have agreed to strengthen the two countries’ military cooperation through joint drills and patrols.”

It seems likely that China and the Russian Federation will increase their collective military drills in the East China Sea, the Sea of Japan, and other important areas. 

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20211124_07/

https://tass.com/defense/1365263

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