An article of interest by Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Frans-Paul van der Putten in the Europe’s World site -
The EU should stay its independent course in East Asia
Maaike and Frans-Paul look at recent EU moves and observe that “the EU is not afraid to criticise the major Asian powers when it perceives their actions to be harmful to East Asia’s regional stability… [and] the EU is not taking sides with Japan against China or vice versa”.
Gradually and without attracting much attention the European Union is building a strategy on East Asian security affairs that is more focused and ambitious than it has ever been. Even without a military presence in the region the EU can make a difference. The challenge now is for Brussels to keep up its engagement, develop an independent voice and to uphold a long-term commitment to strengthening stability in the region. Asian governments have not hidden their disappointment with the EU about its rather half-hearted approach in the past decades, but may well be willing to give the EU a second chance – one that should not be wasted.
China plays war memory card to enlist UK in territorial dispute against Japan
China’s Ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming
Sibling blog anglojapanalliance.com draws attention to a letter from China’s Ambassador in London to the Telegraph newspaper, which links China’s dispute with Japan in the East China Sea to the theme of Japan’s war record and PM Abe’s position on WWII and recent visit to Yasukuni shrine. Interesting to watch if and how London reacts.
Good blog post out by TPL:
There is Nothing Soft About Power
Sir Humphrey describes the practical challenges facing a European Navy in the disaster relief role in Asia, specifically the current situation in the Philippines. The UK’s Royal Navy happened to have a ship in the area (HMS Daring), and is sending another (Helicopter Carrier HMS Illustrious).
One difficulty facing the far flung fleet is sustainment – getting the re-supply at sea of fuel, spares, food, etc. that you need to keep doing the job, rather than having to head back to port to stock up (also known as RAS or Replenishment at Sea). The auxiliary ships that normally do this job take longer to steam around the other side of the world. And you don’t just learn RAS overnight. It requires some technique and practice, making commercial services a second-best option.
So what? So why don’t we leverage our ‘new type of alliance‘ with Japan, our Defence relations with other Asian nations (Australia, Vietnam, etc.) and organize a joint re-supply plan for such events? A re-supply ship sailing from Yokohama would be there sooner, and after all that experience in the Indian Ocean (last time Mr. Abe was in power), interoperability should be no problem. Time to use that ‘hotline‘?
Here is an interesting article written by James Brady on Open Asia about European attitudes towards the Japan/China contest over those islands:
Subtle but supportive: Reading Europe’s response to Japan’s Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute with China
James recons that:
“in the court of public opinion (at least, as far as it is reflected in the mainstream media), sympathy seems to lie largely with Japan”
What is interesting is that this is coming less from any legal or normative position on the dispute itself, and much more from a comparison of the domestic treatment of the issue in China and Japan. The violence seen in the public response in China has generated sympathy for Japan.
Japan’s Ambassador to the UK Keiichi Hayashi and UK Foreign Minister William Hague, 4 July 2013
The recent signing of defence cooperation agreements between the UK and Japan is stirring memories of old alliances.
“By mentioning the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, I am not seeking merely to dwell on past glories. Surely we had the tragedy of another war which we fought against each other and have always to squarely face. However, we are now nurturing a new partnership in the defence and security areas, which perhaps we can call a new type of alliance” Japan’s ambassador to the UK Keiichi Hayashi, 23 July 2013. (link here)
A new Anglo-Japan Alliance? Certainly there are echoes -
“The focus of international competition is moving steadily towards the Pacific Ocean and… Japan is obliged… to play an ever increasingly [sic] part in the peaceful development of that portion of the globe [cheers]. I sincerely hope … that these friendly feelings and mutual sympathies which have existed between us in the past shall be daily more strongly cemented in the future [cheers].” Ito Hirobumi, London, 3 January 1902
Conscious of the need to avoid too much Anglo-Japan bias on this blog, I will begin posting more on the emergence of ‘a new type of alliance‘, at a sibling blog devoted to this question: Anglo-Japan Alliance
NATO and Japan explore opportunities to cooperate on emerging security challenges – “such as cyber defence, counter-terrorism and non-proliferation. Opportunities for collaborating on responses to such challenges through science and innovation were a particular focus of the visit” (link)
The Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu in French military uniform, c.1867.
This blog has paid close attention to the UK-Japan ‘strategic partnership’ (here, here, here), not least because it is starting to look like the most salient feature of Europe-Asia interaction on security. In the recent Chatham House conference (opening their five-year UK-Japan Global Seminar), British MP Hugo Swire called Japan Britain’s ‘closest partner in Asia’. His counterpart at the Conference, Hiroaki Fujii, had earlier called the UK Continue reading
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’?
The 21st Japan-EU (European Union) Summit will be held in Tokyo on Monday, March 25. What can we expect?
Past performance does not offer much cause for optimism. In 1991 both sides signed the Japan-EU Joint Declaration, which was followed in 2001 with a 10 year Action Plan. Now after more than 20 years since the Declaration not much action has followed. Even the action plan itself expired in 2011.
However, there may be reasons to hope for this relationship to pick up. Japan has Continue reading