It is such a shame,
Japan and Australia sign landmark defence pact
Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:10AM GMT
By Isabel Reynolds
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and Australia signed a groundbreaking defence pact on Tuesday that the leaders of both countries stressed was not aimed at reining in China, but the road ahead for a two-way trade deal looked rougher.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister John Howard signed off on the agreement, Japan's first such pact with a country other than the United States, after talks in Tokyo.
"The signing of the joint declaration on security and cooperation is a further milestone in the march of a relationship that really began in earnest 50 years ago," Howard told a joint news conference.
Stressing the agreement did not diminish ties of either country with the their key security ally the United States, Howard said: "It should not be seen as being antagonistic to anybody in the region.
"It certainly is not. China should not see this declaration in an antagonistic light."
Some Australians still have bitter feelings about Japan because of World War Two.
"We all have an obligation to recall the past but also to look to the future.... That is the spirit I have brought to the relationship of Japan and Australia," Howard said.
A Japanese official said later that Howard had raised the issue of Abe's recent comments denying the Japanese government directly forced women to become wartime sex slaves for Japanese soldiers, but said the Australian leader had welcomed Abe's latest remarks expressing sympathy for the women and standing by a 1993 apology for their suffering.
Japan has in recent years pushed the limits of its U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution, and Abe wants to rewrite the document to clarify the legal status of its military and facilitate a bigger global security role.
The four-part defence agreement sets priorities for security cooperation in such areas as counter-terrorism, maritime security, border protection and disaster relief.
It also sets out shared regional concerns.
The agreement comes after North Korea shook the region with nuclear and missile tests last year and China shot down one of its own satellites in January, sparking increased concern over Beijing's rising military might.
Abe, who earlier said the deal was not aimed at reining in China, stressed it would help stabilise the Asia-Pacific region.
"The strengthening of our relations, particularly in the field of security, will contribute to stability and security not only for Japan and Australia but also for the region and the world," Abe told the news conference.
China on Tuesday reiterated that it did not pose a threat to the region and said more should be done to boost trust in Asia.
"We hope what they've said is true," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference, referring to Japanese and Australian assurances.
"In the meantime, we are not going to invade or pose a threat to anybody. We have nothing to be afraid of. We have nothing to hide," he added.
Australia has said the pact may lead to intelligence sharing and the participation of Japanese troops in exercises on Australian soil, although both countries have pointed out that it will not be a mutual defence treaty like the one Tokyo has with Washington.
The two countries already have a history of military cooperation. Howard hosted a ceremony at his Tokyo hotel on Tuesday to thank a group of uniformed Japanese troops representing those who served with the Australian forces on a reconstruction mission in southern Iraq.
As the United States' most loyal allies in the Asia-Pacific, both countries sent troops to Iraq, while the three countries have already tightened their ties through regular dialogue.
Japan withdrew its ground forces last year, leaving air force personnel based in Kuwait who are still transporting supplies to the U.S.-led coalition.
Tokyo and Canberra are also to start talks on a free trade agreement next month, but the talks look set to be sticky given the potential impact on Japan's politically powerful farm sector.
The trade deal would "have major merits in that it will ensure a stable supply to Japan of resources, energy and food," Abe said. "But we both have to be mindful of sensitivities. For Japan, we must attach importance to agriculture."
Japan is already the biggest buyer of Australian exports, and two-way trade in goods and services between the countries was worth about 4.07 trillion yen ($34.7 billion) in the 2005/06 business year. Australia mainly exports coal, natural gas and beef and buys Japanese motor vehicles and machinery.
(Additional reporting by Linda Sieg and Teruaki Ueno in Tokyo, and James Grubel in Canberra)
It is such a shame,
Well it is about time Japan make a defense pact with someone in the region.
Those who can't change become extinct.
Except few in the region thinks Australia is really in Asia.
Most of Asia is nervous about Japanese expansion due to its WW2 history. Japan has trouble getting allies in Asia, so it seeks elsewhere.
"Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.
The majority of Australians aren't that keen either on Japanese military expansion either.
Thats why the pact only covers the easy stuff:
Counter-terrorism - The North Korean missle range took a few people here by surprise.
Disaster Relief - We spend a heap on this and are simply looking to spread the cost.
Maritime Security/Boarder Protection - Essentially the same issue, the Howard government has got good political mileage in the past in being 'tough' on refugees (asylum seekers as they are called here now).
We'd be happy with the Iraq type situation continuing, Japan doesw the engineering, we do the security.
There's joint training in there as well, most likely in Australia although I'd imagine the RAN and possibly RAAF might head up there to exercise with their JSDF counterparts. To me it makes perfect sense, since Japan is our largest trading partner, it wouldn't be very smart for us to let anything nasty happen to them.
As for China and the SKs, I think they're being excessively paranoid, Korea knows that Australia sees them as a valued Ally, and China certainly has nothing to fear from the fairly meager combat power of the ADF. More to the point, the ROKN is setting about developing a blue-water capability, and the entire PLA is spending huge amounts of money on modernization, all of this being regardless of what Japan does, so I don't think they have too much of a right to be pointing fingers at others and shouting "Arms Race!"
Bah! Joint training.
We'll do joint training with anyone who wants to, even iffy Indonesian SF. Perhaps China should be on that list. Some sort of low level pact wouldn't be a bad idea either. Japan may be a big trading partner at atm, but I can see China over-taking in the near future.
Don't know if Ray will be too pleasedEditorial: India option adds to containment fever
* March 15, 2007
An enlarged alliance of democracies still makes sense
ALTHOUGH it has not progressed far past the conceptual stage, news that Japan and the US are keen to expand their trilateral security arrangements with Australia to include India gives a good indication as to the orientation of geopolitics in the new century. The idea, reported exclusively in The Australian today, is said to have the backing not only of the Japanese Government but also of US Vice-President Dick Cheney, and indicates not just the growing importance of India but the increasing concerns about a militarised China and its ambitions. And it makes it all the more difficult to pretend that the growing web of alliances between Australia, the US and Asian nations is not about keeping China in a military box. After all, despite Beijing's assurances that the world need not worry about its capabilities, China's habit of tweaking the West, for example by testing satellite-destroying weapons, is cause for concern. Yet this concern is balanced by the fact that China is constrained from any aggressive action that might cut it off from world markets and resources, and upset its expanding yet fragile economy.
In this discussion, it is important to avoid black-and-white thinking. Strong security ties with Japan and India are not mutually exclusive of good relations with China. All three nations are important markets for our resources. And as John Howard continues to build ties around the region, Kevin Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat to China, should watch that in opposing closer ties to Japan and ruling out any containment of Beijing, he does not lose foreign policy credibility to the Government. But there is no doubt that should our trilateral security arrangements be expanded to include India, it will be interpreted by Beijing as a threat. Meanwhile ties between the Prime Minister and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, culminating in last year's Lombok Pact, have the effect of appearing to project power northwards to contain Beijing.
Beyond the China question, Australia and India share affinities from which mutual security arrangements could naturally flow. India has in the six decades since its independence made a remarkable transformation from a moribund, bureaucratic and socialist state vaguely in the orbit of the Soviet Union to a vigorous nation with a booming consumer economy and an 8 per cent growth rate. It is the world's largest functioning democracy. And geostrategically, it makes sense to bolster India, not just because of concerns about China but also due to the increasingly authoritarian position of Russia and the nations of the Central Asian steppes. At the same time, Australia and the West share common ground with the Chinese that extends beyond mere commerce, including on the issue of Islamic fundamentalism. Since the September 11 attacks, China has taken a stronger line against militant Islam, due in part to the 8 million Uighurs of Xinjiang province. This Muslim minority has long been a thorn in Beijing's side, and in recent years has staged domestic terror attacks and reportedly forged links to al-Qa'ida. While China might not like the idea of being contained by increasing numbers of security arrangements between its neighbours, it is ultimately in the best interest of all concerned for China to become as responsible a global citizen as it is an economic player. As China's political engagement with the West matures, the security arrangements it worries about today will in future become even less relevant.
Socialism is simply the Collective denial of responsibility.
Heh, India is just trying to maintain good relations with every country. All these dreams of an "alliance" between the US and/or Australia, Japan and India are quite misplaced. I mean, c'mon, India was the founder of the Non Aligned Movement.
We seek our own, independent position in the world, and according to long-standing Indian foreign policy, we prefer to have a multipolar world dominated by a few major players like the EU, China, India, and the US.
It's easy to be Non Aligned when you have a population of 1 billion+
True, but that's not the only factor.
It might appear a little strange for people from other countries, but Indians see it as their manifest destiny to be a great power, due to the strength of their ancient civilization and unique culture. Many knowledgeable Indians think that the only other country comparable to theirs and worthy of admiration is China (neglecting the fact that it is currently communist), because only that country is a similarly ancient, large Eastern civilization that has stood the test of time.
EDIT: Hence, subservience to any foreign power, however friendly, is out of the question.
Last edited by gamercube; 15 Mar 07, at 06:53.
China is Communist? thuggish & authoritarian to be sure, but I very much doubt Chairman Mao would recognise his baby.
I noticed this in the 'Australian' article:
"And as John Howard continues to build ties around the region, Kevin Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat to China, should watch that in opposing closer ties to Japan and ruling out any containment of Beijing, he does not lose foreign policy credibility to the Government. But there is no doubt that should our trilateral security arrangements be expanded to include India, it will be interpreted by Beijing as a threat."
No great surprise to see the Oz lay into Rudd, a case of 'his master's voice' (it is Murdoch owned). I actually read a piece by Rudd on ties with Japan, and the difference between he & Howard is largely a form of words. With his diplomat's eye, Rudd is keen to maintain the balance between closer ties with Japan & growing Chinese power. As for ruling out containment of China, I think Rudd is once again making sure to avoid a form of words guarateed to upset Beijing. I don't think he would be any less prepared to meet genuine Chinese aggression than the incumbent.
If anything, I would argue that with his background in diplomacy & a competent foreign minister (the incumbent is a disgrace) he is better positioned to balance all the competeing interests in Australia's security future.
Howard's obsequious toadying to America makes it difficult to convince Beijing (and some others) that we are anything but the 'deputy sherrif' Howard longs for us to be. Rudd will maintain good relations with the US, but with a more independent stance that will make dealing with the disparate nations of our region easier.
I look forward to 2008 or 2009 when Prime Minister Rudd negotiates new security understandings with India & China.
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