Accelerating the building of “security quadrilateral"
On August 29, the meeting between US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono took place on Guam Island, the Pentagon announced.
Affirming the strength of the US-Japan alliance, the two ministers discussed many issues related to the free and open Indo-Pacific strategy. The two sides committed to maintaining order as well as stability based on international laws in Bien Dong Sea (internationally known as South China Sea) and the East China Sea. Accordingly, Washington and Tokyo agreed to continue cooperating to enhance the defense capacity with Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) System as well as Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), Thanh Nien (the Youngster) Newspaper reported.
This could be seen as a move to nurture alliance ties in response to China's actions in the region, especially in the Indo-Pacific in general, as well as in Bien Dong Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea) and the East China Sea in particular.
|Australia, Japan, join the U.S. for trilateral naval exercise in the Philippine sea in July 2020 Photo: ABC News|
Commenting on the meeting, Dr. Satoru Nagao said that this was a meaningful move. Mr. Kono has profound understandings of both foreign and defense policies and is a potential candidate for the position of Japanese Prime Minister as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation on August 28. Therefore, the meetings with Minister Kono might help Washington to tighten relations with Tokyo in the coming time, especially with regard to strengthening cooperation of the "security quadrilateral" group including the US, Japan, Australia, and India.
Meanwhile, in an online event held by the Atlantic Council on August 28, US National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien strongly condemned Beijing. He stated that China's "nine-dash line" used to claim most of Bien Dong Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea) is ludicrous.
National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien also revealed that the meeting between him and counterparts from Australia, Japan, and India will take place this October. At the same time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also have the meeting with them. Both two sides will focus on discussing the issues related to China.
During the past time, "security quadrilateral” has been one of the important foundations for the free and open Indo-Pacific strategy which Washington has pursued in response to China's actions. Therefore, consolidating the cooperation of "security quadrilateral" plays an important role in the aforementioned strategy.
Important Base In Southern Pacific
Not only consolidating the cooperation of "security quadrilateral", but United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also paid a "historic visit" to Palau in August.
Dr. Satoru Nagao (Hudson Research Institute, USA) said that the visit of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to Palau was of great significance because of its position in the South Pacific.
|Defense Secretary Mark Esper met Palau's President Thomas Remengesau (L) on August 27, 2020, in Koror, Palau for a U.S. Defense Secretary's first-ever visit to the country. Photo: Military Times|
“Recently, that China has expanded the attack capacity of air and missile makes the US bases in Japan or the Philippines fall into its attack ranges. China has also expanded naval operations in the eastern waters of the Philippines. Hence, it is necessary for Washington to reinforce the support bases. In particular, bases in Hawaii, Guam, and Palau islands play important roles as safe logistics from the continental United States to the Philippines”, Dr. Nagao analyzed.
In addition, China has recently put pressure on Palau. Previously, China heavily invested in the island and China tourists considerably occupied the number of foreign ones to Palau. However, Palau is one of the 15 countries bearing the official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Unable to change the relationship between Palau and Taiwan, China cut off both investment and tourism with the former.
According to Dr. Satoru Nagao, “the US needs to strengthen relations with and supports Palau" as it is considered as an important base of the US in the South Pacific.
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