China – US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel reflected on Beijing’s increasingly antagonistic actions against its neighbors on Wednesday.
He believes China should not be shocked that the US and its allies are working together to strengthen military ties.
“You look at India, you look at the Philippines, you look at Australia, you look at the United States, Canada, or Japan,” Emanuel started.
“They (China) have had in just the last three months a military or some type of confrontation with every country. And then they’re shocked that countries are taking their down steps for deterrence to protect themselves.”
“What do they think they were going to do?”
Several aggressive military activities sanctioned by China, according to Rahm Emanuel, include:
- Attacks against India along the Himalayan border
- Chinese coast guard ships directing lasers at Philippine ships by the South China Sea
- Firing missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone
- The People’s Liberation Army ships and planes harassing US, Canadian, and Australian aircraft
When confronted with all of the allegations, China denied being the instigator in the purported activities, blaming the US of being the primary source of rising tensions.
China’s new Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, cautioned on Tuesday that conflict and confrontation with the US are certain unless Washington changes its direction.
“The US claims it seeks to compete with China but does not seek conflict,” said Qin Gang.
“But in reality, the so-called ‘competition’ by the US is all-around containment and suppression, a zero-sum game of life and death.”
“Containment and suppression will not make America great, and the US will not stop the rejuvenation of China.”
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Japan and South Korea prepare
Rahm Emanuel reacted on Wednesday, stating that military surges in the Indo-Pacific region are not acts of containment.
Instead, they serve as a deterrent to further Chinese invasion.
“They’ve come together to realize that (Chinese aggression) can’t continue as is,” he said.
“So every country is taking steps, both within an alliance (and) also within their own self-interest of creating a comprehensive coalition of deterrence. That’s what’s going on.”
The US envoy also lauded Japan’s initiatives to more than double its defense expenditure and take the lead in the region.
He mentioned joint patrols in the South China Sea with the Philippines, as well as a pact with South Korea.
The accord agreed this week with South Korea settled problems that dated back to World War II and were based on Japan’s colonial power in Korea.
Emanuel lauded Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for putting the future ahead of history and making unpopular decisions in Tokyo and Seoul, respectively.
“I do think that both leaders showed a braveness and a boldness to look to the 21st century and make the most of that rather than being tied by 20th century,” he said.
“To me, the test of leadership is to be idealistic enough to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And then tough enough to get it done.”
Allies on both sides
Rahm Emanuel mentioned a number of nations with whom Japan is expanding connections, including:
- The Philippines
- South Korea
- The United Kingdom
During the same period, China was collaborating with the following countries:
- North Korea
“There’s a phrase in America,” Emanuel added. “You’re known by the company you keep.”
He emphasized how the Biden administration had maintained allies and partners united over the preceding 18 months.
Emanuel also mentioned international treaties such as the Quad and the AUKUS.
The Quad is an informal partnership formed by the United States, Japan, Australia, and India.
Meanwhile, the AUKUS is a treaty between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom that covers nuclear-powered submarines as well as other economic, political, and military actions.
“I think that given our allies confidence, like Japan, to increase the defense budget, to be more active on the diplomatic arena and stage,” Emanuel added.
He credited Tokyo for persuading eight of ten ASEAN countries to vote against Russian action at the United Nations General Assembly on March 3.
Nations all around the world will talk to Japan, South Korea, or the United States for one reason, according to Rahm Emanuel: “the gravitational pull of freedom.”
“A rules-based system that upholds respect both for the individual and in trying to uphold freedom has its own, I don’t know how else to say it, but seductive gravitational pull,” he said.
Image source: The Times of Israel