Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : NA Page No. : 3
[Global Military Report] A Vice Foreign Minister level discussion took place between Australia, Japan and India in Tokyo on February 26. According to Kyodo News reports, all three countries expressed “serious concern” at “China’s increasing militarisation” in the South China Sea and subsequently agreed to jointly strengthen maritime security cooperation. According to Kyodo News Agency, following the consultation, Akitaka Saiki, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary, conveyed that Japan, India, and Australia exchanged views on China’s stance in the South China Sea, East China Sea and the Indian Ocean. He stated that “the international community needs to unite to ensure the rapid development of rules and regulations on freedom of navigation. Japan’s NHK television said that the three countries considered “China’s activities in the South China Sea to be behaviour attempting a uniateral change in status quo that was the cause of regional instability ” –something that merited “serious concern”.

The Japanese government has on numerous occasions publicly expressed its concern about China in the South China Sea. In a recently issued Defense White Paper, Australia also stated that it is “particularly concerned“ with the unprecedented pace and scale of the man-made reclamation of an island. As for India, not too long ago there was information that indicated possibility of its conducting a joint “South China Sea drill” with the U.S. though that was finally denied by India.  Why are these three countries frequently involving themselves in the South China Sea issue?

Zhao Xiaozhuo, Director, Sino US Defense Relations Research Center, China Academy of Military Sciences, addressed that question in an interview to the Global Times, explaining that these three countries consider the South China Sea region to be very important and that this trend is not something that had emerged over the last two years only. He said that that the South China Sea is an important maritime transportation channel. All of Japan’s trade with India, the Middle East and Africa has to pass through this channel. Australia believes that it is a Pacific and Indian Ocean country, with the South China Sea as the link between the two. Speaking of India, Zhao Xiaozhuo added that India has a “Look East” policy, and it increasingly considers East Asia to be an important area for its development. Moreover, China’s “string of pearls” containment theory, concocted by American scholars, has also provoked India, causing it to strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia and in the South China Sea.


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