• Japan, India Australia, worried about China

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    TOKYO: Senior officials of Japan, Australia and India agreed Friday on the importance of maintaining the rule of law in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), sharing “strong concerns” about tensions in the region amid China’s rising maritime assertiveness.

    “We shared strong concerns about moves to unilaterally change the status quo that would lead to destabilization in the region,” Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki told reporters after talks with his Australian and Indian counterparts in Tokyo.

    The three-way meeting comes as China’s deployment of an advanced surface-to-air missile system has stoked concerns the country is pursuing militarization in the South China Sea, adding to tensions already heightened by Beijing’s massive and fast-paced reclamation works in the sea.

    China is also boosting its presence in the Indian Ocean, which provides essential maritime traffic access for the transportation of oil, gas and other resources from the Arabian Sea.

    “We also shared the need to establish a new rule in the region to secure the rule of law and the freedom of navigation,” Saiki said.

    Saiki was referring to the ongoing discussions between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to conclude the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, a legally binding document that could be used to resolve deadlocks, disputes and tensions in the sea.

    Peter Varghese, secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar took part in the three-way meeting, the second of its kind following a meeting in India last June.

    The diplomats also discussed their responses to North Korea, following its nuclear test last month and long-range rocket launch earlier this month.

    Given the likelihood that the UN Security Council may soon adopt a fresh resolution that would expand sanctions on North Korea, the three officials also agreed to steadily implement the sanctions to prevent North Korea from further promoting its nuclear development, Saiki said.

    The trilateral framework is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to promote a “security diamond” strategy connecting Japan, Australia, India and the US state of Hawaii to safeguard maritime interests stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific.

    Abe introduced the concept in December 2012 to counter Beijing’s military buildup and perceived attempts to change the status quo in the South China and East China seas.

    Ahead of the three-way talks, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a press conference, “The trilateral cooperation covering the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean contributes to the peace and stability of the region.” “Japan seeks to further strengthen trilateral ties,” he added.

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    2 Comments

    1. opinionated na pinoy on

      This is the end result when the Philippine Senate did not allow or did not renew the U.S. Bases Agreement. If the U.S. Bases were still in the Philippines, China would have never attempted to do what it had done, to militarize the South China Sea. The U.S. Bases in the Philippines have acted as the equilibrium of power in Southeast Asia and China would not dare to challenge or stop U.S. military operations in the whole Southeast Asia, and they know that it would not be a good idea.

      China’s neighboring countries are too small and too weak militarily that they cannot and will not engage in any type of military actions. So what china is doing now? They are doing everything and anything they wish to do, either legally or whatever it may be, and nobody can stop them because they are too big to be confronted. American bases in the country did not threated the sovereignty of the Philippines and the Filipino people. The presence of U.S Bases in the Philippines should have mitigated theses Chinese actions, the militarization of the south china sea.

      What amazes me most is that, most Senators voted for the oust of American Bases were U.S. visa holders. Well, except for Enrile, his U.S. visa was cancelled in 1986 when U.S. government declared him as a terrorist.

    2. Good that Japan, Australia and India are there as allies against the aggression of China. I would like to see Indian patrol boats close by. A strong American President could impose sanctions to Chinese imports to the USA.This could be enough to stop them.But our current President Obama won’t do much, and it looks like Hillary Clinton will most likely be elected President by the Hispanic and Afro-American voters. I expect if she is elected, there will be little help and too late just like the American Embassy in Libia being overrun, under her watch.