politics

Southeast Asian military officers board Japanese ship for South China Sea tour

15 Comments
By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo

Southeast Asian military officers have embarked on a four-day tour of the South China Sea on the Japanese navy's Izumo helicopter carrier in the latest sign Japan is stepping up efforts to counter growing Chinese influence.

The officers from the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) joined the Japanese ship in Singapore on Monday, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said in an outline of the plan.

Other ASEAN military representatives will attend a separate three-day event from Tuesday in Japan, to observe Self Defense Forces (SDF) military disaster relief drills, the ministry said.

"It is the first time we have done this," a ministry official said at a press briefing in Tokyo.

The events show a hitherto unseen degree of coordination between Japan's military services and civilian defense officials to bolster foreign ties.

It also marks a concerted push into military diplomacy by Japan's hawkish prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

Japan is worried that China is cementing its control in the South China Sea with the construction of island bases, arms sales and development aid. Some $5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes through the strategic waterway each year, much of it sailing to and from Japanese ports.

As Japan looks for a greater regional security role as part of its alliance with the United States, Abe's administration believes Japan is better placed than the United States to woo Southeast Asian nations away from Chinese influence.

Japan can help bolster countries' capabilities in disaster relief and is able to emphasise its status as a fellow Asian nation, two Japanese government officials told Reuters, asking not to be identified because they are not authorised to talk to the media.

A 2014 military coup in Thailand means that the U.S. government has limited engagement with the regime there, while U.S. relations with the Philippines have been strained since President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year, seeking to reduce what he sees as dependence on the United States.

Another plank of Japan's emerging military diplomacy is military-industrial cooperation. Abe in 2014 ended a decades old weapons export ban, allowing Japan to offer arms technology as a lure for closer military ties.

Japan last week held a military technology seminar with representatives of Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

© Thomson Reuters 2017.

©2017 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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Another plank of Japan's emerging military diplomacy is military-industrial cooperation. Abe in 2014 ended a decades old weapons export ban, allowing Japan to offer arms technology as a lure for closer military ties.

Does not even wait the constitution to be amended.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I wish Japan would stop stirring up trouble in SE Asia. There's enough trouble everywhere.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Pukey2Today10:03 am JST

I wish Japan would stop stirring up trouble in SE Asia. There's enough trouble everywhere.

The entire world wishes China would stop their military and territorial expansion. Stop building and militarizing artificial islands and retract the ridiculous 9-dash line. Learn to be a good neighbor instead of an aggressive self centered dictatorship.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Is that a brown envelope in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is good news for the Philippines!

PM Abe should jump on the opportunity to send troops and the latest tanks and war planes to help Philippine troops fighting ISIS-Ranao in Marawi.

The Philippine Marines is suffering massive casualties and Japan should not wait for an invitation and send 'volunteer ' troops to Marawi to help pulverize the terrorists occupying the city.

Moreover , PM Shinzo should position the Izumo in the Sulo Sea to intercept ISIS fighters from Malaysia and Indonesia wanting to fight in Mindanao.

As they say, action speaks louder than words.

Massive military assistance to the Philippine by Japan in this time of crisis would be welcomed by every nation including the USA and China.

Go , go , go Abe! Go , go, go Japan!

Time to show Manila that Japan is a more reliable ally than Washington!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Pukey2

I wish Japan would stop stirring up trouble in SE Asia

Since when disaster relief drills qualify as "stirring up trouble"? Japan has every right to do what it does now.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan should take very friendly position in South China Sea, from historical point of view, based on past experiences and forward looking interests. To antagonize China in Chinese claimed Sea is disasters for Japan.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

If Japan really want to help Asians in disaster relief, Japan should drill on the moon. Japan has the techniques and money to do that. In case something happens, Japan can help send millions Asians to the moon. If Abe could do that, he would win Nobel prize.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

China has more money than Japan.

Let China drill on the moon.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

mulanToday12:11 am JST Japan should take very friendly position in South China Sea, from historical point of view, based on past experiences and forward looking interests. To antagonize China in Chinese claimed Sea is disasters for Japan.

Actually Japan is taking a very friendly position in the South China Sea from a historical point of view, only it's towards the several Asian nations that are being bullied by a militant China. If China wants to make ridiculous and illegal claims for vast tracts of territory at the expense of other nations, it better get used to being antagonized.

mulanToday12:15 am JSTIf Japan really want to help Asians in disaster relief, Japan should drill on the moon. Japan has the techniques and money to do that. In case something happens, Japan can help send millions Asians to the moon. If Abe could do that, he would win Nobel prize.

If China really wants to help Asians at all, withdraw from the South China Sea, retract the 9-daash line, respect international law and become a good citizen of the world. And stop polluting the planet like it is it's own bathroom. At least when Japanese win a Nobel Prize they aren't prohibited by their government from going to receive it. China needs to learn.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Which international forbids China to claim 11 dot line in South China Sea in 1945? None. Many nations claimed open water much earlier than China did in 1945. PH claimed international water of three Seas in 1889, including part of South China Sea. If every one can do that, why can't China? Chinese claim is legal and follow precedent and is part of customary international law.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

PM Abe should seize the thunder and send Japan's best fighting men and women to aid Philippine troops eradicate the ISIS-Ranao now deeply entrenched in Marawi.

Shinzo should also provide the poorly equipped PH military with modern and brand new tanks , attack helicopters and assault rifles unlike the antiquated second hand, VN and even Korean War era rejects sold by the USA .

With the modern state of the art weaponry replacing the antique Washington hand -me -downs , it'll be a safe bet to say that ISIS would be leaving Mindanao in a jiffy or else face total extermination!

Abe would then make Tokyo stand tall again by showing the whole world that Japan is a more trustworthy ally than America!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mulanToday02:13 am JSTWhich international forbids China to claim 11 dot line in South China Sea in 1945? None. Many nations claimed open water much earlier than China did in 1945. PH claimed international water of three Seas in 1889, including part of South China Sea. If every one can do that, why can't China? Chinese claim is legal and follow precedent and is part of customary international law.

No country is asserting it's claims through construction of artificial islands and militarizing them to the huge extent that China is doing. Any claims by "China" up to 1949 belong to the Republic of China, now Taiwan. Not to the totalitarian dictatorship in Beijing. The PCA has ruled that China's claims are not legal. Learn to be a responsible citizen of the world and accept it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

China claimed first, then made the construction. Do you know why China did the construction? Because China is doing the best to avoid wars. The Chinese territories are now occupied by PH and Vietnam. China is asking them to withdraw. But before they make the right decision to withdraw from the Chinese territory, China can only spend billions to make artificial Island which is allowed by all international laws and a standard practise by Japan since long time ago. No one is more militarized than Japan, just check how many war heads in the nation!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

mulanJune 21 08:53 am JSTChina claimed first, then made the construction. Do you know why China did the construction? Because China is doing the best to avoid wars. Yes, to expand their complete control over the South China Sea, which you believe have been indisputable and inherent Chinese territory since ancient times.

No one is more militarized than Japan, just check how many war heads in the nation!

LOL. China is the most militarized nation in Asia.

http://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-comparison-detail.asp?form=form&country1=japan&country2=china&Submit=COMPARE

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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