A series of summit meetings with the ASEAN = Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan, the United States, China, etc. will start on the 26th, and will discuss the situation in Myanmar, which has deepened turmoil since the coup d'etat, and the problems of the South China Sea, where China is strengthening its marine expansion. Opinions are expected to be exchanged.

The series of meetings will be held online for a three-day schedule.



This time, ASEAN took unusual steps to avoid inviting the top of the army in power in the coup d'etat for the member state of Myanmar, while the Myanmar army was instead invited by a senior foreign ministry official. It also suggests that he may be absent from the meeting because he cannot attend.



At the summit meeting of ASEAN member countries held on the 26th of the first day, discussions will be held on the situation in Myanmar to seek a peaceful solution, such as dispatching a special envoy to mediate dialogue between the military and pro-democracy forces.



Regarding the issue of the South China Sea, where China is intensifying its expansion into the ocean, opinions are confirmed on the progress of rule-making to prevent conflicts, and on the response to the United States' movement to create a siege network for China. It is expected to be exchanged.



The three-day schedule will hold individual summit meetings between ASEAN and other countries such as Japan, the United States, and China, and on the 27th, the East Asia Summit will be attended by 18 countries including Australia, India, and Russia. Is scheduled.



In a wide range of discussions on issues such as security and trade, it is expected that the United States and China will compete with each other with the aim of expanding their influence on the region and incorporating ASEAN countries.

China's recent movements over the South China Sea

China claims interests in almost the entire South China Sea and is also vying for sovereignty with the countries that are members of ASEAN.



In addition to building a runway, radar equipment, and a building that appears to be a barracks on the artificial island that was created, it is becoming a military base, and there is friction with other countries and regions over marine resources such as oil and natural gas and fishery resources. Is continuing.



In a recent case, in March, about 220 Chinese fishing vessels gathered and anchored in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, and some were demanded by the Philippine government to withdraw to China repeatedly. After that, I stayed in the sea for about two months.



In response to this, the Philippine Foreign Minister expressed anger and posted on SNS such as "China, disappear", and as a result, China has been criticized and forced to apologize.



Also in Malaysia, in May, a Malaysian Air Force fighter plane was scrambled for invading the territory of the South China Sea off the coast of Borneo with 16 Chinese military aircraft.



In October, it was revealed that a Chinese research vessel had invaded Malaysia's exclusive economic zone off the island of Borneo and protested by calling a Chinese ambassador stationed in the country for its activities. increase.

Movement of Western ships to restrain China in the South China Sea

In the South China Sea, Western ships are deploying one after another, and they continue to restrain China, which claims almost all interests in the South China Sea and promotes military bases such as artificial islands.



The United States continued its "freedom of navigation" operation to navigate U.S. Navy vessels in the waters of the South China Sea, where China claims sovereignty, and in September it also sailed destroyers, and in April, A carrier strike group centered on the aircraft carrier "Theodore Roosevelt" entered the South China Sea and conducted training.



In addition, along with the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the aircraft carrier "Ronald Reagan" that had been deployed in the surrounding area was moved and temporarily deployed in the waters of the South China Sea from September.



The United Kingdom, in step with the United States, sailed a group of strike groups centered on the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier "Queen Elizabeth" over several days in the waters of the South China Sea in July and October.



In February, France also patrolled an offensive nuclear submarine in the South China Sea, and in May, a landing ship and a frigate trained with an Australian frigate while sailing in the South China Sea.



In addition, Germany plans to sail the frigate "Bayern" from northwestern Germany to the Indo-Pacific region in August, and to pass through the South China Sea in December.



China is nervous about the movement of these Western ships, and has restrained the West by announcing that the Chinese Navy has conducted military training in the South China Sea.



While there are voices among ASEAN countries that the gathering of ships from all over the world in the South China Sea is a message that the South China Sea does not belong to China, it is said that actions that overstimulate China should be refrained from. There are also concerns about heightened tensions.

China has an overwhelming presence in the ASEAN economy

In ASEAN, China has an overwhelming economic presence as it expands trade and investment with other countries.



China is ASEAN's largest trading partner, and according to the JETRO = Japan External Trade Organization, the total amount of trade with China over the last year was more than $ 520 billion.



This has more than doubled compared to 10 years ago and has grown to account for 19% of total ASEAN trade.



In addition to being geographically close, trade is expanding due to the FTA = free trade agreement.



By country, the ratio of trade with China to the total is ▼ Myanmar 31%, ▼ Laos 28%, ▼ Cambodia 26%, and many countries depend on China for most of their trade.



China is also accelerating investment in ASEAN countries.



In Thailand, the amount of direct investment from China, such as factory expansion, was 55.7 billion baht in the last year, or about 190 billion yen in Japanese yen, nearly doubling from five years ago.



The amount of China's direct investment in Thailand has expanded to a scale approaching that of Japan, which is the top.



Furthermore, China has decided to participate in RCEP = Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership centered on East Asia, in which ASEAN countries participate, and it is expected that economic ties with ASEAN will further deepen.

Intensification of "tug of war" between the United States and China on the stage of ASEAN

In the United States and China, where the conflict is deepening, each country dispatches government executives to ASEAN member countries one after another, and the "tug of war" between the United States and China on the stage of ASEAN is becoming active.



From the United States, in July, Defense Secretary Austin visited Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines, and in August, Vice President Harris also visited Singapore and Vietnam.



The United States, which is becoming more cautious about China's intensification of military activities in the South China Sea, seems to be aiming to restrain China by showing a stance of strengthening cooperation with ASEAN member countries.



In response, from China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore in September.



Foreign Minister Wang met with the top of the Communist Party in Vietnam to emphasize the strong relationship between the two countries, and confirmed that the relationship will be strengthened in Cambodia, which will chair ASEAN next year.



China seems to be aiming to counter the move by the United States to increase its involvement in the region.



While there are expectations among ASEAN member countries that the US intervention will be a restraint on China, which is strengthening its advance into the ocean, ▼ good relations with China due to economic ties There is also a desire to maintain this, and there is growing concern that the conflict between the two major powers will deepen.

Myanmar Situation Expert "ASEAN Should Increase Pressure on Military"

At this summit, ASEAN decided not to invite the top of the army, saying that the army did not support the acceptance of the ASEAN special envoy that mediates the dialogue between the Myanmar army and the pro-democracy forces.



Since ASEAN has a principle of non-intervention in domestic affairs and unanimous consent, it has been difficult to take measures to stop violence in Myanmar, and impatience has spread among member countries.



Regarding this decision, Lizar Sukuma, a former Indonesian diplomat and now a senior researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Indonesia, said, "This is to restore the trust of ASEAN and draw cooperation from the Myanmar military. This is the first measure for ASEAN, which is equivalent to some kind of sanctions. "



On top of that, "If the response of the Myanmar military is still insufficient, we should consider freezing the qualifications as an ASEAN member country and recognizing the National Unity Government of Myanmar, which is made up of democratic political leaders, as a representative of Myanmar. ASEAN should increase pressure as long as the Myanmar military continues to be uncooperative.



In addition, Mr. Sukuma said that the United States and Australia are accelerating security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and China is repelling, "ASEAN will not use this region as a place of competition for the United States and China. , It is necessary to find a common position on the importance of ASEAN autonomy. "

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