January 13, 2017

Japanese PM Abe in Australia Talking Regional Security including South China Sea

Japanese Prime Minister Abe and Australian Prime Minister Turnbull January 13 to 15, 2017 will likely discuss coordinated Japan-Australia patrol and perhaps FONOPs in the South China Sea.

With the help of "S's" comments in the thread at 12/1/17 2:29 PM.  Pete has a few ideas on Japanese Prime Minister Abe January 13 to 15, 2017 visit to Australia. 

Pete's Comments

Prime Minister Abe commences his visit to Australia today-until January 15, 2017. Abe and Australian Prime Minister Turnbull are likely to talk about joint Japanese, Australian and US naval, aircraft, legal and political responses to China's actions/claims in the South China Sea. Japanese and Australian foreign and defence Ministers are likely to discuss the China issue in more detail. 

But for brief Media Releases and an article in the favoured Australian newspaper most details will be kept confidential.

Japan and the US both have a harder line than Australia to China's actions in the South China and also East China Seas. Both countries may see Australian policies to be too conciliatory towards China - Australia being mindful China is Australian No.1 trade partner.

To encourage Australia to have a harder line on Chinese activities it is no coincidence that the Japanese and possibly US Governments were the sources of a Japanese Sankei News article breaking the news of Chinese interruption of Australian patrol activities in the South China Sea. The article most significantly describes a Chinese jetfighter interception of an Australian patrol aircraft in the South China Sea on September 16, 2016. See my analysis of January 12, 2017

The early January 2017 timing of the Sankei article is important as it was published just before Abe's visit to Australia. The article could therefore influence the Japan-Australia discussions in the direction Japan wants.

Abe, Turnbull and their trade ministers are also likely to discuss the financial-economic strategies and implications of any US reversal of its previous intention to join the TPP

Abe will visit Indonesia, from January 15, and then Vietnam.

Pete and S


Anonymous said...

It appears PM Abe is resigned to do the heavy lifting in Asia regardless of the recent tough talks from Tillerson.
In regards to the TPP, it is worthwhile to move ahead without the US. Its charter will need to be revised. Potentially one can even add India and Indonesia. Whenever the US wants to rejoin, then one can negotiate with the US as a block.

Peter Coates said...


Looks like Australia's ABC news article today http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-14/japan-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-visits-australia/8182338 report is in line with what Submarine Matters and you predicted.

ABC's report is very similar to your "PM Abe is resigned to do the heavy lifting" in security and trade relations with China:

ABC says: "Some analysts have suggested Mr Trump might enlist Mr Abe as his "man in Asia" to help him repel the growing influence of China."

As I wrote ABC then wrote:

"Mr Abe has said regional security is the main priority of his trip" and

"Trade Minister Steven Ciobo addressed a meeting of business leaders in Sydney, saying economic links between Australia and Japan would continue to grow stronger, including under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is in jeopardy because of strident criticism from Mr Trump."

I'm sure future TPP and AIIB would/will be enthusiastic about the US being a world citizen (rather than protectionist pariah) by participating. This is noting the Australia's Foreign Affairs document say "Australia was a founding member of the AIIB." etc http://dfat.gov.au/international-relations/international-organisations/multilateral-development-banks/Pages/asian-infrastructure-investment-bank.aspx

Interesting how much Australian Media Releases will say after the Abe-Turnbull talks. I'd say Japanese news agencies (like Sankei) will report much more about Japanese initiatives on regional security than Australian media outlets about any or no Australian initiatives.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

In Jan/14/2017, Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) between Australia and Japan was revised. Though revised ACSA is yet reported, main revision is addion of provision of weapons.

In Dec/22/2016, National Security Council of Japan has diecided “Operational Guideline for Protection USS”. Importantly for Australia, protected objects include not only USS but also RAN warships.


Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for the advice particularly as the arrangements also applie to Japanese protection of Australian RAN ships.

First I've had a look at the Asahi Shimbun News Dec 22, 2016 article http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612220061.html which reports:

"More muscle has been added to controversial [Japanese] national security legislation passed [in 2015] giving the [Japanese military "Self-Defense Forces (SDF)"] additional opportunities to expand their duties overseas by protecting U.S. naval ships [and Australian RAN naval ships].

On Dec. 22, the [Japanese] National Security Council (NSC) approved operating guidelines involving the SDF offering protection to the U.S. [and Australian] military even during peacetime.

Discussing the start of those protective duties, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said at a news conference the same day, "The deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance will be further strengthened, and the peace and safety of Japan will be secured to a greater degree."

The scenario of escorting U.S. [or RAN] naval vessels on patrol against enemy ballistic missile launches is one area considered as being subject to the guidelines.

The guidelines cover duties that would come into play during times of peace, or so-called gray areas that do not directly involve a military attack.

It will be up to the defense minister to decide whether to comply with a request for such protection from the U.S. [or Australian] military when it is engaged in activities related to the defense of Japan conducted in coordination with the SDF.

Among other scenarios envisioned are joint Japan-U.S. military exercises, U.S. [or Australian] Aegis destroyers patrolling against possible ballistic missile launches by North Korea and providing rear-line support during situations that could end up having a major effect on Japan, such as a military attack, if nothing was done.

While the protection would mainly involve the U.S. [or Australian] military, there are no legal limitations to what is covered so there is the possibility the SDF could provide such protection to other military forces, such as Australia's.

The guidelines contain a provision that calls for the NSC to convene a meeting headed by the prime minister when the defense minister receives a request for protection for the first time.

To ensure a degree of transparency, the guidelines also call for the prompt disclosure of any occurrence of a "peculiar event" during the protection duties as well as an annual report by the defense minister to the NSC of the results of protective duties conducted in the previous year."



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Very recently, PM Abe tried to offer missiles to the Phippines, but President Duterte declined the offer.
(Duterte: I rejected Japan missile offer)


Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at 14/1/17 7:56 PM]

Thanks for the tip on revision of the Australia-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA)

Australia's DoD published an informative Media Release https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/minister/marise-payne/media-releases/signing-australia-japan-acquisition-and-cross-servicing

"Signing of the Australia-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement" [of] 14 January 2017

"Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, welcomed the signing of the Australia-Japan Acquisition and Cross‑Servicing Agreement (ACSA) in Sydney today.

The ACSA facilitates closer bilateral defence logistics support and cooperation during activities such as combined exercises, training and peacekeeping operations.

Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan were present at today’s signing ceremony.

“I am delighted that the Acquisition and Cross‑Servicing Agreement was signed during Mr Abe’s visit,” Minister Payne said.

“Australia has a very strong commitment to a broad, deep and growing Special Strategic Partnership with Japan.

“Close security and defence cooperation is one of the pillars of that partnership.

“The ACSA further enhances our militaries’ interoperability and brings our defence logistics cooperation fully into line with Japan’s landmark 2015 Legislation for Peace and Security,” she said.

Minister Payne said Australia and Japan had significantly strengthened their bilateral defence relationship in recent years.

“We have enhanced training and exercises, increased personnel exchanges and deepened cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, peacekeeping and capacity building,” Minister Payne said.

“Our two nations made a commitment today to even closer security and defence cooperation in the years ahead,” she said.

The ACSA will be made publicly available through both nations’ respective ratification processes."



Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 15/1/17 8:04 PM]

President Duterte is petty and rude by telling the world about how he rejected a quiet offer of missiles by Abe. I wonder what the missiles were? SAMs or anti-shipping?

While Duterte is used to being a mobster mayor of provincial Davao he has not learned statesmenlike skills of diplomacy or dignity.

It is not worth it for the US or Japan to donate more to him.

Duterte is running a Donation Auction that China and Russia think they are winning by way of the highest aid/soft loan bids. Once Duterte's cronies have the Chinese and Russian money he will turn on China and Russia with "thanks for nothing".

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

China tries to control the resources of aided coutries as shown in Africa or Venezuela, but Japan tries to contribute development of aided coutires [1]. Though polytical or dilopmatic style of Mr Dutertre is rough, Japan should continue to help the Philippines. The reasons are that Mr Dutertre does not steal aid and that the Philippines need financial support.

Also, Japan has an important role to meadiate the Phlippines and soon coming Trump administration [1] and this role will remind USA importance of Japan.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2017/01/11/japan-pm-visiting-the-philippines-to-squelch-chinese-influence/#50eb46463a83
“Japan does it too. Unlike China, however, Japan doesn't normally try to control the resources or political trends in countries where it sends money.”

“With the Philippine president laying out the red carpet for the Chinese.the Japanese PM probably thinks he should show face in Manila, as a reminder that there's plenty of Japanese investments in the Philippines too,”


Peter Coates said...

Hi Anon [at 16/1/17 5:37 PM]

I think Japan is surprised by events and humiliated by international actors, like Putin and Duterte.

Japan may have a sound economic predictive abilities but seems unable to predict strategic/political matters, like:

- Putin rejecting Abe on Kuril Island matters, and

- wrongly calculating that Duterte would accept an offer of missiles for the Philippines.

It may be that Southeast Asia sees Japan as a "Deputy Sheriff" of the US (as Australia was https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/10/indonesia.australia ) rather than Japan being seen as a mediator.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete [at 17/1/12:51 PM]

Mr Muneo Suzuki [1], influential politician on the Issue of Northen Territory told in TV that the bilateral meeting beween PM Abe and President Putin held in Dec/15/2016 was great success [2] [of course, there are many opposite opinions].

Suzuki, supporter of concept of return of two islands plus something, had met PM Abe several times before the said bilateral meeting and had discussed on the Issue of Northen Territory.

Return of the lost land for nearly 70 year is so difficult to resolve it in one meeting. Correctly, PM Abe said that there was no way other than building of trust between Japan and Russia through such as economic cooperation.

[1] Muneo Suzuki is ex-Member of the House of Representatives, ex Director-General of Hokkaido and Okinawa Development Agency Secretary and currently leader of New Party Daichi. Suzuki was removed from the House because of scandal, but he is still very influencial on the Northen Territory Issue.


Peter Coates said...

For readers who also subscribe to The Diplomat, here is an interesting article of January 18, 2017, by Prashanth Parameswaran, " http://thediplomat.com/2017/01/why-the-new-japan-australia-military-pact-matters/

"Why the New Japan-Australia Military Pact Matters: A closer look at the significance of the signing of a new defense pact...

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 17/1/17 10:51 PM]

Thanks for your comments and references.

I suspect Russia is unwilling to give up the Kuril/Northern Territory islands it occupies because:

- each island forms a obstruction-narrow that partly blocks access of any Russian ships or submarines that are in the Sea of Okhotsk that wish to break out into the Northern Pacific, and

- each island that Russia might return to Japan would allow Japanese military/sensor assets to advance ever closer to Russia's Pacific SSBN Base on the Kamchatka Peninsula

Hence I see no likely progress in Japan-Russia negotiations. Russia would even refuse any Japanese offers to buy the islands back.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

“Submarine Matters” bears comparison with famous papers such as The Australian and The Diplomat. It is an objective fact that “Submarine Matters” provides far deeper technical insight into submarine than the said papers. As an reader I am proud of you.


Peter Coates said...

Thanks for your praise Anonymous.

I really appreciate it.



Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

On the Japan-Australia-US relationship here is an interesting article: "Japan and Oz do the trilateral on Trump".

It is dated 6 Feb 2017, by Graeme Dobell, in ASPI Strategist at