NATO’s advice to Japan: “Become a Pro-active Contributor to Peace”


NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) address a joint news conference at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels May 6, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) address a joint news conference at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels May 6, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

In Reuter’s report “Japan, worried about China, strengthens ties with NATO”, Abe hinted in his speech to 28 ambassadors to NATO that Japan’s disputes with China over the Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkakus in Japan) is similar to the situation in Ukraine.

However, his efforts to win NATO support were made in vain as he got the advice from NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to “become a pro-active contributor to peace”, hinting that you had better avoid starting a war with China.

There is a report titled “Why Japan’s smaller military could hold its own against China” at chinadailmail.com that stresses Japanese military’s “significant qualitative advantage”. It makes me worry that Japan may start a war with China due to China’s provocation in sending coast guard ships and aircrafts to the disputed waters and establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. War is especially imminent as Japan may gradually lose its advantage due to the rapid growth of China’s military strength. I have the impression that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to NATO aimed at seeking NATO support for its war.

However, NATO ignored his comparison of Ukraine to the disputed islands and gave the advice to maintain peace. Being isolated in his pursue for war with China, there is little chance that Abe will start a war with China in spite of Japanese military’s “significant qualitative advantage”.

The following is the full text of Reuter’s report.

Japan, worried about China, strengthens ties with NATO

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, concerned about China’s rising military spending and disputes with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea, signed a new partnership agreement with NATO on Tuesday.

The accord, signed by Abe and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during Abe’s visit to NATO’s Brussels headquarters, will deepen Japan’s cooperation with the Western military alliance in areas such as counter-piracy, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

After addressing ambassadors from the 28 NATO nations, Abe drew a parallel between the situation in Ukraine, where Russia has occupied and annexed Crimea, and Asia, in an apparent allusion to a standoff between Beijing and Tokyo over tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

“We will not tolerate any change of status quo through intimidation or coercion or force. This is not only applicable to Europe or Ukraine. This is applicable to East Asia and it is applicable to the whole world,” Abe said at a joint press conference with Rasmussen.

Abe urged Russia and Ukraine’s political parties to recognize the legitimacy of Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election, which the West sees as crucial to help stabilize Ukraine after weeks of worsening violence that Western officials accuse Russia of helping to stir up.

“At the same time, in order to resolve this problem, we have to have dialogue with Russia,” Abe said.

NATO has said it will not get involved militarily in Ukraine but it has reinforced security in eastern European members of NATO that are worried by Russia’s renewed assertiveness.

In addition to steps it has already taken to deploy more planes, ships and troops to eastern Europe, NATO would “not hesitate to take further steps if necessary to ensure effective defense and protection of our allies,” Rasmussen said.

BOLSTERING SUPPORT

Abe, who made his first visit to NATO headquarters in 2007, has long been interested in strengthening Japan’s relations with the U.S.-dominated Western alliance.

Analysts say Japan’s aim is to increase diplomatic support over its security concerns, particularly China’s military buildup and North Korean missile launches and nuclear tests.

“Japan does not actually expect NATO to play a direct military role in the Asia-Pacific region, but it does expect allies to share perceptions and approaches,” Michito Tsuruoka, a senior research fellow at Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies, wrote in a paper for the NATO Defense College last year.

Tension between Japan and China spiked last year when Beijing announced an air-defense zone over a wide area including the disputed islands.

Abe told NATO ambassadors he believed Japan should play a more active role in defending the freedom of overflight and navigation.

With its operations in Afghanistan coming to an end and Russia flexing its muscle, NATO is now expected to refocus on its core mission of defending its territory, a trend that may not be welcome to Japan and other partners outside NATO’s area.

Abe’s priority has been to revive a long-sluggish economy, but he has also pledged to strengthen Japan’s military and boost its security profile to meet what he says is a threat from China’s rapid military buildup.

Abe also aims to lift Japan’s ban on collective self-defense, which means helping an ally under attack, to bolster security ties with the United States.

Rasmussen said NATO welcomed Japan’s steps “to become a pro-active contributor to peace”.

“We share interests in countering piracy, countering terrorism. We share interests in disarmament,” he said.

Source: Reuters “Japan, worried about China, strengthens ties with NATO”

Related posts:

  • China Gives Order to Commence War with Japan ‘if It Is Appropriate to Fight’ dated February 23, 2014
  • Sino-Japanese War a Reality: Japan to Force down Chinese Fighter, Arrest Its Pilot dated February 1, 2014
  • Japanese PM Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping Both Want a War. Can It Be Avoided? dated January 25, 2014
  • China Does Not Budge in its Brink of War Policy on Air Defense Identification Zone dated December 5, 2013
  • Signals of Beijing’s Determination to Fight for Diaoyu Islands dated November 26, 2013
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