ASEAN members attend a meeting during the ASEAN Japan Defense Ministers Informal Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Wednesday. Photo: AP/Heng Sinith
politics

Japan's defense chief tells ASEAN rules-based order key to Indo-Pacific region

25 Comments

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Wednesday during talks with his ASEAN counterparts that maintaining a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region is important, apparently with China's growing maritime assertiveness in mind.

In pushing for Japan's vision of a "free and open" Indo-Pacific, Kishi called for a regional code of conduct in the South China Sea to be "effective, substantial and consistent with international law," his ministry said in a press release.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Beijing are crafting the code of conduct to defuse tensions in the disputed areas.

The talks in Phnom Penh came as Japan aims to further enhance security relations with the 10-member regional group, at a time when China is extending its military influence in the region.

Southeast Asia is a strategically important region that straddles key sea lanes, including the South China Sea where some of the members have territorial disputes with Beijing.

In Cambodia, new ship-repairing facilities at Ream Naval Base located on the Gulf of Thailand are under construction with Chinese financial support. Cambodia's defense minister has denied the presence of Chinese forces at the base.

Referring to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Kishi told a press conference after the talks that the "unilateral change of the status quo by force" does not only concern Europe and could also happen in the Indo-Pacific in the future.

"We shared such concern with ASEAN nations," Kishi said, adding Japan held specific discussions with them to build reciprocal partnerships with each country.

Kishi also pledged Japan's continued security cooperation with ASEAN including providing defense equipment for the bloc's members based on their needs, the ministry said.

At the first in-person meeting between Japanese and ASEAN defense chiefs since November 2019, they also talked about boosting their cybersecurity capabilities, according to the ministry.

Kishi was quoted by the ministry as expressing concern over the situation in Myanmar, saying there is no improvement since the February 2021 coup put the nation under military rule. He also urged the Myanmar military to immediately halt violence.

The Japan-ASEAN defense talks were held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting in the Cambodian capital.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Kishi was on a two-day visit to Cambodia from Tuesday, when he held separate meetings with his counterparts from Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei and Vietnam. Earlier Wednesday, the Japanese minister met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

At a later press conference, Kishi criticized Chinese and Russian warships recently sailing near Japan for their "show of force," warning against such actions as saber-rattling tactics against his nation.

Kishi said that Japan confirmed five Russian naval vessels have been sailing southward off Hokkaido in the Pacific Ocean and then passing through the Tsushima Strait in southwestern Japan before moving to the Sea of Japan since mid-June.

He described the actions as "almost circling Japan," and said three Chinese navy ships were also following a similar path.

Kishi expressed concern over "nearly 10 Russian and Chinese ships moving around our nation in such a short period of time in similar courses."

He said another six Chinese vessels passed near the southern island prefecture of Okinawa when they moved from the East China Sea toward the Pacific from Tuesday to Wednesday.

"We need to closely monitor the situation," Kishi said, also referring to the entry of 29 Chinese warplanes into the southwestern part of Taiwan's air defense identification zone. The incursion was announced Tuesday by Taiwan's Defense Ministry.

The Japanese minister has condemned Beijing and Moscow over a long-distance joint flight by their strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the Pacific in late May.

© KYODO

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
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Japan is surrounded by water so of course ships will go around the country.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

The worst aspect of the arms buildup and exponential increase in military activities in the region is it's all done with huge amount of ambiguities built in. This can only lead to confusion and miscalculations. But the west is powerless because any grievance expressed is always tempered with risk of economic punishment from China and now Russia.

Can't talk, can't stop outright aggression, can only enter arms race, but even an arms race is futile because of the sheer asymmetric power deficits. This is all before domestic politics such as that of the Japanese communist party who in their recent election undertaking basically gifts Japan to communist China by opposing all measures to protect Japan.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Meanwhile hypocriticaly Japan's military they call a "self defense force" has been joining military exercises with other military's at numerous locations outside of Japanese territory.

No double standards there ?

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Meanwhile Kishi and his JSDF defense academy trains and graduates officers of the Myanmar military for free so they can go back to their country and further kill and repress the people's democratic movement.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

At a later press conference, Kishi criticized Chinese and Russian warships recently sailing near Japan for their "show of force," warning against such actions as saber-rattling tactics against his nation.

So Japan views foreign warships transiting through its EEZ in much the same way China does? As a hostile display that should be avoided, and not an excercise in free navigation through international waters that no nation should criticise? Very interesting.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

No double standards there ?

Other than China, no other countries ever felt Japanese joint excercises, arms built up or overseas deployment is threatening. Japan, and the west do not practice ambuities, its statecraft is impeccable. Even if Japan wanted to threaten, it'd have a hard time making other countries feel insecure. China and NK on the other hand is full of ambiguities and a wave of their hand can only be interpreted as a slap not a hello.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

If they all don't work together to ensure China doesn't bully them. They will each be bullied one at a time.

Even if they don't want to join Japan's idea of a group, they should still all work together for a common defense of their seas, resources, and access.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Japan is not in the Indo-Pacific. Or EU.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

@Sh1mon

Other than China , no other countries ever felt Japanese joint exercises

Japan, and the west do not practice ambiguities

That's not correct !

I suggest you do more research.

And don't forget to include the USA military and yes they are definitely ambiguous.

Iam surprised your not more knowledgeable .

It's statecraft is impeccable

Iam sorry but that's an over inflated bloated and comical untruth.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Thug Fest

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

The fu,you are a smart person,you know most of these Asian regime are undemocratic and have serious human rights issues,just like China

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

That's a nice message for the authoritarian governments in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Did I miss anyone?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Japan's defense chief tells ASEAN rules-based order key to Indo-Pacific region:

Rules-based order? Whose rules?

Japan seems overtly if not overly presumptuous to tell what ASEAN should or should not follow.

Its occupation of S E Asia from Dec 1941 to Aug 1945 is already history. Nobody listens..

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

By 2030 Europeans will have 600 modern fighter jets in the Baltic sea region

Oh the German military hasn't learned it's lesson from ww2 either have they ! ! !

Besides at the rate the new quantum computer controlled AI weapons are evolving their so called modern jets will be obsolete by 2030

Kind of pathetic of Germany to count their chickens before their hatched.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Japan will provide the Gundam mobile suits.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Meanwhile Kishi and his JSDF defense academy trains and graduates officers of the Myanmar military for free 

What’s your point? dozens of Japanese officer cadets attend all US military academies under an exchange student program.

The national Defense Academy University accepts officer cadets from more than a dozen nations, such as Korea, Australia, Mongolia, Thailand, etc, as a goodwill gesture and to increase interoperability.

Japan gives millions of dollars in aid to Myanmar, and sent SDF engineers and security forces for UN PKOs and infrastructure development.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Besides at the rate the new quantum computer controlled AI weapons are evolving their so called modern jets will be obsolete by 2030

AI will never physically occupy battlespace. Ultimately to win a war you need to physically control territory.

Although AI is a great cyber warfare asset, it does Jack-squat to the dude in the bushes with a rifle.

The reason why the NORAD command center still uses floppy disks and plastic code cards is because they are unhackable. You could cripple the entire US communications infrastructure, but they would still be able to launch nukes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Lots of you people should fight your own battle, because American only care about themselves,at the end of the day,I have never heard one American,bring up Ukraine

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

YrralToday  04:52 pm JST

Lots of you people should fight your own battle, because American only care about themselves,at the end of the day,I have never heard one American,bring up Ukraine

I've never heard one Japanese bring up Ukraine either. Except that it's on the TV news 24/7. Maybe you should come to the US before making such statements.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Lots of you people should fight your own battle, because American only care about themselves,at the end of the day,I have never heard one American,bring up Ukraine

This story is about ASEAN, not Europe or the USA. Deflect much?

My next door neighbors were born in Ukraine. They have a Ukrainian flag flying on their front porch, next to a USA flag. Technically, by homeowner's association rules, the Ukrainian flag isn't allowed, but nobody has brought any complaints since they started flying it the day the war started. We talk about what will have to happen for Russia to be pushed back out of Ukraine.

Similarly, we worry about ASEAN nations having their sovereignty chipped away by China. We don't worry about Japan being aggressive (almost to a fault). We also worry that Taiwan isn't sufficiently armed to protect itself from an ambitious neighbor who continuously lies to her own people about important and really stupid things. Covid Zero is a pretty big lie.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ASEAN members attend pointless meetings with the US, EU, Japan, and South Korea for free lunches aka kickbacks for just attending the meetings behind closed doors. All of them are already in bed with China, Russia, and the Global South to loath the USD hegemony.

That's a nice message for the authoritarian governments in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Did I miss anyone?

All of those nations are sugar daddies of LDP elites and Japanese plutocrats. The message is very simple:

"Give me more money (approving ODA projects), daddies! I will transfer more manufacturing and technologies to you from my overlords in the United States."

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

These rules are good for who???.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Rules-based order? Whose rules?

Everyone's rules determined by majority in international forums.

These rules are good for who???.

These rules are to protect everyone. Most people have at least some rules in their homes, can do this, can't do that. Who are those rules good for? The principles are identical.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

BeerDeliveryGuy, to your point first; Japanese visiting military academies in the U.S. are from Japan, a country that had democratic elections not a military junta installed by a coup. To date, at least over 1500 deaths can be attributed to the current military government, including a Japanese national. As to your point about JSDF involved in PKO operations in Myanmar, I'm not familiar with any operations there under the junta, please show me the source. Overseas PKO operations require extensive debate within the Diet and I have not seen anything of the sort since the coup. On the contrary many Japanese companies have been pulling out. The aid for infrastructure was provided during Aun San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government's administration. I also don't see any interoperability necessity between the JSDF and the military of Myanmar. My point is that Japanese tax should not be spent to educate officers who will return to be a part of the repressive regime in Myanmar, a regime that has already killed a Japanese.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@dbsaiya

yes, that is correct. Japan has not provided aid, monetary or physical, since the junta. But for historical and treaty reasons, still accepts officer cadets from Myanmar.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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