China News Service, Beijing, February 6th (Zhang Naiyue) In the past few days, officials from the United States and NATO have gathered to visit the Asia-Pacific region.

First, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited South Korea and Japan, followed by US Secretary of Defense Austin flying to South Korea and the Philippines.

  Why did they choose to visit Asia Pacific at this time?

What impact will it have on the surrounding area? invited

Teng Jianqun, director of the American Institute of the China Institute of International Studies, Liu Weidong, a researcher at the American Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Wang Sheng, a scholar and professor at Jilin University

, to conduct an in-depth interpretation of the Asian tour of US and NATO officials and the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region .

Take the "Doomsday Plane"

US Secretary of Defense's Asian tour highlights four major intentions

  On the afternoon of January 30 local time, an "E-4B" air command plane known as the "Doomsday Plane" arrived at Osan Air Force Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

Paul LaCamera, Commander of the U.S. Army in South Korea, and others are already waiting at the scene to pick up the plane.

  It was U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin who came.

On January 30, 2023 local time, US Secretary of Defense Austin walked down the stairs of the plane after arriving at Osan Air Force Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

  During Austin's visit to South Korea, he met with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sub and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yue, and discussed a series of "important matters":

  Expansion of 2023 U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises

  ·Strengthen the US-ROK alliance

  Strive for an early US-Japan-ROK security meeting to strengthen trilateral cooperation

  Emphasize the US's "extended deterrence" commitment to South Korea

  Declare to "strengthen efforts to contain North Korea's nuclear and missile threats"

On February 2, 2023 local time, US Secretary of Defense Austin (right) and Philippine President Marcos at the Malacañang Palace in Manila, Philippines.

  After leaving South Korea, he rushed to the Philippines non-stop, met with the country's President Marcos, and announced that the United States and the Philippines had reached a number of agreements:

  Expand the scope of the "Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement" signed by the two countries in 2014

  U.S. troops gain access to four more Philippine military bases

  Reiterate the strength and importance of the US-Philippines alliance

  Guaranteed U.S. military support

  It is not difficult to find that the key words "alliance", "extended deterrence" and "nuclear" were not only mentioned by Austin to South Korea, but also emphasized by Austin.

  Experts believe that Austin's trip to Asia highlights the following intentions:

First, the United States wants to create trouble in the Asia-Pacific region.

  Teng Jianqun, director of the American Institute of the China Institute of International Studies, told reporters from that the "Doomsday Plane" is the command plane that commands and controls the US Trinity nuclear strike force. deterrent attempt.

  "Because of its own geopolitical needs, the United States must continue to create some gimmicks and incidents if it wants to maintain its hegemony in the Western Pacific," Teng Jianqun said.

  In addition, provoking trouble in Europe has allowed the United States to strengthen its control over Europe on the security and economic levels.

The tried and tested United States is now turning to Asia.

Second, the United States is obsessed with the strategic competition system among major powers.

  Teng Jianqun said that since the current US government came to power, it has emphasized the formation of cliques around China, and the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait is its focus.

Data map: US President Biden.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Chen Mengtong

  In addition to South Korea, the Philippines is also a country that the United States will focus on. The United States hopes to strengthen cooperation with these two countries, so as to form a front to "contain China" in the Western Pacific region.

  In particular, Teng Jianqun believes that the United States wants to strengthen its military control over the Philippines.

The United States made the Philippines open as many as four military bases to the U.S. military in order to obtain military support, which is very important for the U.S. deployment in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

Third, use the bait of "extended deterrence" to build alliances.

  In his signed article "Alliance is Ready" published by Yonhap News Agency, Austin specifically emphasized that the United States' commitment to provide extended deterrence to South Korea is "like iron armor."

  Teng Jianqun believes that the promise of extended deterrence is the best bait for the United States to build an alliance.

  Wang Sheng, a scholar and Yingcai professor at Jilin University, also pointed out that although the United States and South Korea keep mentioning the so-called "nuclear and missile threats" from North Korea, it is "Xiang Zhuang's sword dancing with the intention of Pei Gong."

Strengthening the implementation of the US's ability to implement extended deterrence, discussing the timely deployment of strategic weapons by the US to South Korea, and urging the normal operation of the "THAAD" system are the (top) agendas of this trip.

Fourth, build a line of defense to strengthen the containment of the "first island chain".

  At the beginning of 2023, South Korean President Yoon Seok-yue made remarks on the nuclear issue that ran counter to the position of the United States.

Liu Weidong, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, analyzed that South Korea’s position on the North Korean nuclear issue has always been subtly different from that of the United States. South Korea and North Korea are neighboring countries, and their attitudes cannot be as tough as the United States.

Austin's trip is precisely to reassure South Korea.

Data map: South Korean President Yin Xiyue.

  In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the U.S. and South Korean defense ministers stated that they will expand the joint military exercises in 2023, strengthen the U.S.-South Korea alliance and trilateral cooperation between South Korea, the United States and Japan.

This shows that the United States is trying to build a defense line in the region to strengthen the so-called "first island chain" and weaken China's ability to break through the island chain.

  Liu Weidong believes that in terms of security, the United States will become more hostile to China and confront China in the future.

NATO's "Asia-Pacificization"

Entering the actual deployment stage?

  It is worth noting that the time of Austin's Asian tour coincides with the visit of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to South Korea and Japan from January 29 to February 1.

  Unlike the United States, which "let go of its dark chess", in South Korea, Stoltenberg talked about the "China challenge", saying that although China is not an "adversary" of NATO, China is becoming more and more important on NATO's agenda.

He pointed out that "we should engage with China on arms control, climate change and other issues", but "China poses a challenge to our values, interests and security".

On January 31, 2023 local time, NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg (left) shook hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo.

  Wang Sheng pointed out that the NATO Secretary-General's visit to Asia is "a step in promoting NATO's Asia-Pacificization".

South Korea and Japan are excellent "bridgeheads". If they can be fully brought under their command, the US military's operations in the Asia-Pacific region will have sufficient support.

  In June 2022, NATO invited South Korea and Japan to participate in its summit for the first time, and successively listed the two countries as full members of the NATO Cyber ​​Defense Center. NATO's goal of "Asia-Pacificization" is very clear.

  Liu Weidong believes that the NATO Secretary-General's visit to Asia itself shows that NATO's Asia-Pacificization has entered a substantive stage of deployment.

  He said that in the past it was mainly the US, Japan, and South Korea, but now US NATO allies Britain, France, Germany, and some medium-sized countries like Poland have also begun to pay more and more attention to security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Due to the guidance of the United States, on the one hand, due to some misunderstandings of China by (these countries).”

  Liu Weidong pointed out that the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region itself, including the situation in the South China Sea, is relatively complicated, and there are also historical and territorial disputes between China, South Korea and Japan.

In such an environment, if other forces outside the region intervene, the situation will become more complicated, and it will have a negative impact on the peace environment of security and economic development in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Poison not cure"

Many countries reject US NATO

  Faced with the actions of the United States and NATO, South Korean non-governmental organizations held a protest rally in Seoul, calling for the abolition of the United States' "extended deterrence" policy such as the "nuclear umbrella".

On January 31, 2023 local time, in Seoul, South Korea, protesters held a slogan "Stop the US-South Korea joint military exercise" at a rally outside the Ministry of National Defense.

  The Hankyoreh Daily pointed out in a commentary that the so-called "nuclear sharing" does not share the ownership or use of nuclear weapons, but "the political burden and operational danger brought about by nuclear weapons."

The "nuclear bait" brought by NATO is definitely "poison rather than a cure" for South Korea, which pursues a safe and stable external environment.

  In the Philippines, many people took to the streets of the capital Manila to protest the visit of US Secretary of Defense Austin to the country, opposing the US military presence, and calling for the expulsion of the US military from the Philippines.

They emphasized that the Philippines does not need to deploy additional US troops and facilities.

On February 2, 2023 local time, in Manila, the Philippines, demonstrators chanted slogans to protest the visit of US Secretary of Defense Austin.

  The Korean Central News Agency also published a commentary article, questioning whether Stoltenberg's trip was intended to "incite the establishment of an 'Asian version of NATO'".

The article stated that after NATO turned Ukraine into a "proxy battlefield", Stoltenberg traveled from Europe, which is tens of thousands of miles away, to the Asia-Pacific region, which is not part of NATO's combat area. "This is worrying in itself."

  Faced with NATO's follow-up of the United States to exaggerate the "China threat" and accelerate the pace of Asia-Pacific transformation, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that on the one hand, NATO claims to be a regional and defensive alliance. Continue to strengthen military security ties with Asia-Pacific countries and exaggerate the "China threat". Relevant movements should arouse the high vigilance of regional countries.

  The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also emphasized that the Asia-Pacific is not a battlefield for geopolitical competition, and the Cold War mentality and confrontation between camps are not welcome.