David Cameron met with Japan’s PM Abe just prior to the G8 meetings to talk security. According to this Japanese media report from NHK (Japan’s equivalent of the BBC), they (i) formally agreed on the promotion of joint development of military equipment; (ii) agreed to speed up joint research on chemical (weapons) protective clothing; (iii) agreed to finalize a mechanism for sharing confidential information on security issues such as counter-terrorism. Reference was made to the close cooperation during the January 2013 ‘Amenas’ hostage crisis.
Much of this is just putting the formal seal on what was already agreed. However, it is another reminder that the UK is keeping up the drum-beat on security cooperation with Asian nations (see here, here for more on this theme).
A full text of the declaration is available here. Not much of note in the text itself, but there was an intriguing if slightly confusing bit of language about what NATO is not doing in Asia -
On his video blog, the SG makes the point that “my visit does not mean that NATO seeks a presence in the Asia Pacific region, but it does mean that NATO seeks to work with the Asia-Pacific region…” Subtle distinction, but clear enough because the North Atlantic Charter is also pretty clear on allies needing to be from the North Atlantic area.
Then Rasmussen told reporters after the signing ceremony “While NATO has no ambition to take on a permanent role in Asia, we see very clearly the advantage of working with like-minded partners like Japan”.
But why the qualifier ‘permanent’?
Now Japan’s Prime Minister (again), Mr Shinzo Abe is inviting a European security ‘comeback’ to Asia (full text can be read here ©2012/Project Syndicate) -
“I would also invite Britain and France to stage a comeback in terms of participating in strengthening Asia’s security. The sea-faring democracies in Japan’s part of the world would be much better off with their renewed presence. Continue reading