Beijing's policy in the Indo-Pacific is winning Washington more allies

Japan and NATO agree to enhance cooperation in confronting Russia and China

China is preoccupied with achieving near-term tactical gains in each of its territorial disputes.


The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, pledged to further strengthen cooperation between the two sides, during a meeting held yesterday, in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, according to a joint statement, at a time when China's policy in the Indian Ocean has led to And quiet gain Washington more allies.

After the meeting, Stoltenberg tweeted that Japan is a "strong partner for peace."

He added, "Together we can deal with common challenges, including Russia's war (against Ukraine) and China's repressive actions, and we will do so."

“The world is passing through a historic juncture in the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II,” the joint statement said, referring to NATO and Japan as “reliable and neutral partners” who embrace common values.

The statement added that the war in Ukraine "has broken the peace and shaken the foundations of the rules-based international order."

It has also seriously changed the security environment in the Euro-Atlantic region, and beyond.

The two sides stressed: "The balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region has shifted rapidly," and said that "changing the status quo unilaterally, using force or through repression, is unacceptable in any part of the world."

"We recognize the close link between security in the European and Atlantic regions, and the Indian and Pacific oceans, and stress the need for continued strengthening of cooperation between Japan and NATO," the statement said.

In this context, Foreign Affairs magazine published a political analysis on alliances in the Indo-Pacific region, in which it indicated that Japan issued, in December 2022, the first national security strategy in nearly 10 years, as this strategy calls on Tokyo to strengthen the US-Japanese alliance. "In all fields".

She noted that Japan is not alone. Over the past half-decade, nearly all of the United States' allies across the Indo-Pacific have deepened their partnerships with Washington and formed new alliances with each other.

On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for the United States to withdraw from the Indian and Pacific oceans, and his government supported China's long tradition of expressing hostility towards Washington's alliances, which form the basis of the American presence in the region.

Many analysts have argued that Beijing has a disciplined and coherent strategy to drive a wedge between the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific.

But Beijing's efforts to dismantle US alliances are incoherent and undisciplined, strengthening rather than weakening US alliances in the region, and producing a revitalized US-led coalition poised to constrain Beijing for years to come.

Beijing's ambition to isolate Washington from its Asian allies has been greatly derailed. Instead of staying focused on its long-term strategic goals, China has become preoccupied with achieving near-term tactical gains in both its territorial disputes with its neighbors and its quest for the respect of other countries.

These motives resulted in major strategic errors, and China's pursuit of regional advantage anywhere only served to undermine its efforts to weaken US alliances in the South China Sea.

In the relationship with the Philippines, Beijing publicly reaffirmed its authority to administer the disputed areas, and one of its naval vessels threatened a Philippine ship, thus wasting in 2020 a golden opportunity to dismantle a central element in the alliance between the United States and the Philippines.

The same unproductive tendency to prioritize regional interests over strategic goals can be seen in China's relationship with Japan.

Over the past decade, China has established a semi-permanent paramilitary presence around the disputed Senkaku Islands, which the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands, and in doing so, Beijing has fueled Japan's suspicion of China and pushed Tokyo closer and closer to Washington.

China's quest for regional advantage also helped give rise to a new type of proto-alliance, by pushing non-aligned India into the Quadripartite Security Dialogue, a loose alliance that also includes Australia, Japan and the United States.

"Beijing squandered its leverage with Seoul after a North Korean nuclear test in January 2016. The test forced Seoul to begin discussions with Washington about deploying the THAAD system, prompting Beijing to begin threatening Seoul and eventually embark on an all-out campaign of economic punishment," the analysis said.

The Chinese government's punitive method also generated more negative reactions in Australia.

Ten years ago, Canberra was struggling to balance China, its largest trading partner and important source of investment, and the United States, its main security partner.

But China's relationship with Australia began to unravel after journalists published a series of stories exposing the disturbing extent of Chinese interference in Australian society and politics.

And when Canberra passed anti-interference legislation in 2018, Chinese sanctions followed.

Although Beijing may finally be waking up to the massive damage done by its diplomacy, China's apparent need to punish those who violate its policy is unlikely to disappear, even if this trend undermines Beijing's long-term strategic aspirations.

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