March 29, 2017

Peter Jennings' Australia-Japan Strategic Cooperation Commentary

China is not the only country that claims and builds on islands, reefs and shoals in the South China Sea. Above is a map of the Spratly Islands, South China Sea. What looks like the US Stars and Stripes is, in fact, Malaysia's flag. The red flag with large star, dead center, is Vietnam's. Flat Island and Commodore Reef etc are claimed by the Philippines.
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Peter Jennings, the Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has written a thought provoking commentary, of March 29, 2017. The commentary (at https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/tokyo-canberra-time-recast-defence-ties/ ) is an “edited extract of a speech he delivered to the Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo [on March 28, 2017]”

His main themes are: challenges to the global order generally; especially in the Asia-Pacific, and the need for greater Australia-Japan strategic cooperation.

Some parts I disagree with but I agree with most.

I disagree on:

-  countries “quite explicitly challenging the rules-based order, specifically:
   :  “Russia invaded and annexed the Crimea in 2012 it broke a European norm”.  I think Russia has
      had a naval base/enclave in Crimea since 1783. The change of status/government in Ukraine 
      upset a strategically stabilising Russian influence. Russia used its power to retain the enclave.
      Significantly this Russian resistance is no worse than the US maintaining its enclave/naval base
      at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba even though the legitimate government of Cuba has opposed the
      base for decades. Equally the government of Spain has opposed  the British enclave/base of 
      Gibraltar since 1727. Britain secured Gibraltar by force of arms in 1704.
   :  Iran has forces in neighbouring countries that may be even more legitimate than the concept of 
      great powers and middle powers far from that region injecting their naval, ground and air forces
      into the oil rich countries near Iran (especially Iraq and Syria).
   :  Israel is a constant disturbance to regional stability eg. in the Syrian (Golan Heights) territory and
      Jerusalem". See United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 adopted on 23 December 2016.
      Israel's anti-rules based ownership of nuclear weapons gives Israel a feeling of immunity when it 
      is bombing targets in Syria and invading Lebanon. Israel's illegal ownership of nuclear weapons
      is also a major motivation for Iran to build a nuclear arsenal.
   :  China considers some South China Sea islands its own just as other countries (Vietnam, 
      Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei etc) in the region consider other South China Sea islands their own       and build structures on them (sea map above).

The most extreme challenger to the international order is North Korea but that goes unmentioned
  
I agree on:

-  Need to build closer military and strategic Australia and Japanese partnership for regional stability.
-  that ASEAN is not a strategic alliance hence fragmented and ineffective in holding China back
-  that Japan has much to be worried about China’s rapid military expansion in military capability. 
-  but even more so Japan should worry about North Korea’s rising nuclear military capability
-  useful common ground for Australia-Japan that includes:
   :  the uses and maintenance of F-35A, “Joint Strike Fighter”
   :  anti-submarine warfare,
   :  ballistic and cruise missile defences,
   :  maritime and air combat capability (eg. Aegis destroyers, maritime patrol aircraft, large
      reconnaissance UAVs etc)
      UAVs etc)
   :  space cooperation
   :  cyber offensive, defensive capability and cooperation.
   :  closer interoperability in all military functions with US and Japan
   :  special forces capabilities for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency

With mention of “high-end military operations” - could this include submarine operations from Australia in the South China Sea and/or even into the East China Sea?

"S" advises that Julie Bishop, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Marise Payne, Australian Minister for Defence, will met their Japanese counterparts at the Australia-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial (2+2) Consultations in Tokyo in April 2017.

I agree with Peter Jennings' suggestion when President Trump visits Japan later in 2017 Australian Prime Minister Turnbull (and his advisers) could be invited to participate in trilateral talks with Abe and Trump. China should be confident of its own position not to try to scuttle a trilateral arangement  with more Chinese Demarches of the type that scuttled the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in June 2007.

Peter Coates

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Still believing in the US umbrella under President Trump? An Australia-Japan alliance is a viable hedging strategy given the uncertainties. I would open to a technological cooperation with EU as well. Japan is starting to do more of that, like the partnership on Meteor AAM with a Japanese AESA seeker or a future 6th gen fighter. Facing great powers, small nations need as many friends as they can get. I agree that ASEAN unanimous decision process makes it a lame sitting duck not to be counted on.
KQN

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence will met their Japanese counterparts at the Australia-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial (2+2) Consultations in Tokyo in April 2017. Development of nuclear weapon by NK, security in the Pacific Area and corporation with Trump administration will be discussed.

Currently, PM Abe and Defense Minister Inada are under criticism thanks to Abe's wife’s political scandal and Inada's poor performance, respectively. Is health issue of Defense Minister Payne fixed?

Regards
S

Anonymous said...


Hi Pete

Securities in the Pacific Area and Europe should be considered separatedly. Issues on Crimea and Ukrainee should be fixed by Europe and Russia. Europe is Europe and Asia is Asia. Democratic Asian countries including Japan and Australia supported Europe against Russia, but, did France or Germany ever hesitate to sell weapons or weapon- related goods to China?

In Asia Pcific region, Russia could be important mediater between Pro-US countires and China. Russia has vested interests in the Arctic Ocean and the Northen Pacific, must protect its boarder from population pressure of China, and maintain Vladivostok against China. Russia belongs to bule team who maintains the staus quo, and does not belong to red team who radically changes the status quo.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN

I agree a closer Japan-Australia relationship:

- can strengthen both countries' defences, and

- is a hedge against US unpredictability (under Trump).

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at 30/3/17 12:33 AM]

Thanks for the 2 + 2 information. I have added it to the article text.

Re: "Is health issue of Defense Minister Payne fixed?" Reports of her health may be more informally spread rumour than fact. Rumour probably because the mostly male Australian DoD and armed services resent having a woman as Defence Minister.

There has been very little official news. Last news I've seen was on December 18, 2016 http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/get-a-mirror-marise-payne-fires-up-at-colleagues-for-fat-slurs/news-story/8777a9706759e499530a49c6247c747d :

"DEFENCE Minister Marise Payne has bounced back to health with all guns blazing, blasting rumours she was scared of going on television because she was worried about being too fat.

“What I think is the sort of people who engage in that sort of behaviour should probably really look in the mirror,’’ Senator Payne told The Sunday Telegraph in her first interview since going on sick leave after a severe abdominal infection which required surgery...."

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at 30/3/17 9:37 AM]

True that security in the Asia-Pacific and Europe is largely separate. Although more US soldiers + sailors + naval vessels being deployed in Europe (eg. in the Baltic States) is at the expense of numbers deployed to the Asia-Pacic.

Russia has very few naval bases that are free of ice, making Crimea all the more important to Russia. Yes' I'm sure Australia and probably Japan joined the trade+financial embargo against Russia over Crimea.

Russia is indeed a third force in the Asia-Pacific which may, or does. contribute to stability. With Trump's closeness to Russia there is scope of using Russia as a West vs China mediator. Russia might even be persuaded to oppose China, strategically + politically - although not economically as Russian oil/gas to China are important to them.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Also interesting are the views on Abe and Japan's defence policies in a ASPI Strategist interview of US academic/consultant Brad Glosserman on March 30, 2017 see https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/strategist-six-brad-glosserman/

"4. [QUESTION] After Japan’s bruising experience in its bid to sell submarines to Australia, do you think Tokyo still considers Canberra to be a serious security partner, and if so, what might Japan want us to do together?"

[GLOSSERMAN'S RESPONSE] "First of all, I think Japan was a little more divided about the utility, value and the wisdom of the potential submarine deal than was the Abe administration. Subsequently you heard lots of reporting from the defence industry about being somewhat uncomfortable with the prospect, so let’s be careful when we talk about how great a disappointment it was. But I think as Abe surveys the region he absolutely sees Australia as one of his best partners. You share values, interests, security architectures and security structures.

What Japan wants from Australia is continued support for Japan’s new role and outward orientation, and diplomatic support for the rule of law, norm setting, economic engagement, multilateralism, capacity building—all of which Australia already does. The difference now is that Tokyo will look to Canberra (just as Canberra should look to Tokyo and others) to entangle the US, to keep it engaged in the region in ways that might counter some of the more isolationist tendencies of the new administration."

Ztev Konrad said...

I think the 'norm' in Europe was definitely broken by the Nato invasion and occupation of Kosovo.

"NATO described the conditions in Kosovo as posing a risk to regional stability. As such, NATO and certain governments asserted they had a legitimate interest in developments in Kosovo, due to their impact on the stability of the whole region which, they claimed, is a legitimate concern of the Organisation."

Its quite bizzare their reasoning about not breaking the UN charter by attacking a UN member , FRY.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimacy_of_the_NATO_bombing_of_Yugoslavia

MHalblaub said...

Dear Ztev Konrad,
I had in mind a huge number of refugees from all parts of former Yugoslavia entering NATO member states. So this was not a internal Yugoslavian problem. The Yugoslavian attack on Kosovo would have started another big wave of refugees.
Sorry, but that was not acceptable to deport the Albanians from Kosovo to other European states. This was the point were the "norm" was broken and had do be fixed.


The war was not according to the letters of the UN treaty but to keep peace within this region. You should think of what happened in Sarajevo, Dubrovnik and other parts of former Yugoslavia right before.
Just because Russia like its pet Slobodan Milošević so much and didn't vote against him.

Did any NATO member occupied a part of the former Yugoslavian Republic like Russia did with Crimea?

Regards,
MHalblaub

Ztev Konrad said...

Im not saying what FRY did was right, but we cant talk about 'norms' when Nato doesnt follow them either. US didnt follow any norms with its invasions of Iraq either, nor was the military situation in Libya according to the rules.
Dont you think for Russia the situation is of greater significance for them because of the millions of Russians in the eastern Ukriane and Crimea. I wouldnt doubt for a second only 1000 Uk, US or French citizens would change the situation complexity for those countries involvment in another country.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Just now, NK successfully launched SLBM.

Regards