The Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi shared his uneasiness about the Chinese intentions at the European Parliament’s security and defence sub-committee. The statement given by him expressing his desire for an increased participation of the European Union in the Indo Pacific opens was in tune with the general mood of the super powers currently. Indo Pacific is an important region for more than one reason for the countries in that geographical proximity as well as the major powers of the world . There are security concerns as well as economic factors at play in the global dynamics that have led to the importance of the Indo Pacific. In the past there have been discords between countries with respect to the activities being carried out in the South China Sea. The statement by the Japanese Minister is re-assurance of the insecurity that the countries face regarding their stakes and the possibilities of clashes.
Cooperative Efforts by the Democracies
Minister Kishi criticised the Chinese attempts to change the status quo in the region by means of maritime chest thumping as well as engagement in disputes. He also requested the EU to increase the military presence in the region. Japan along with France and the United States engaged in high level joint exercises on the Japanese soil.
This comes after the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for global cooperation to ensure peace and security in the Indo Pacific. He pointed towards the relevance of the great power strategic competition in the region and how it had a direct consequence on the global economy and regional stability. His remarks were an extension of the strained relationship that has been seen between Australia and Beijing due to the trade discords. French President Emmanuel Macron too extended support to the cause and stated that France was in favour of the a balance in the Indo Pacific region after acknowledging the importance of Australian standing.
American President Joe Biden also met with Australian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the G7 summit and discussed issues of mutual concern like the Indo Pacific Region. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson too sided with Australia and yet explicitly said that there was a need to engage positively with China instead of getting involving in a Cold War like politics.
The European Union adopted a a strategy in April 2021 that pledged to promote democracy, human rights, and respect for international law in the Indo Pacific region. A bigger problem however is the complete ignorance of all these values by China. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) agreed that China was posing systemic challenges now. Japanese Minister said that the
The Ripple Effect
In response to the statements given by the leaders all over the world, Beijing accused the US and Australia of “showing military power” in the South China Sea after the joint exercise drills took place. China has also come out to say that the G7 and its communique was hostile and critical of Beijing for no reason. Beijing explicitly said that the era when a bloc of countries ruled the world was over.
China has spoken against all the countries mentioned in this piece per say. Beijing is on strained terms with Australia with regard to the economic understanding and has been resorted to economic coercion as reported by the BBC. US President Biden’s decision to re-launch a detailed enquiry into the causes of the coronavirus was also not met with any optimism.
Despite the Chinese behaviour, the other big powers have come together to think of measures to check the former’s rise. Whether it is maritime or economic or the nuclear aspect; China has tested the international order on all the fronts.
The speech by the Japanese Defence Minister is a re-iteration of many other countries. China is the focus for all discussions in bilateral discussions as well as meetings of international organisations. The coming together of Asia and Europe in that sense is a serious indicator of the threat that Beijing poses to many.
The way out of this complex scenario is difficult but a rational thought process between the statesmen form all over the world can make it possible. There is scope for human maturity to rise above the past and give peace a chance. The hope is that China will follow suit.