Japan and Australia have reached an agreement on the two defense agreements, but they are close to the door In the Reciprocal Access Agreement, Japan and Australia reached an agreement on a broad framework.
Morrison said that “a special big step has been taken today.” Yoshihide Suga also said that this agreement emphasizes that “it will firmly support Japan and Australia to contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Once signed, this agreement will be the first similar agreement since Japan signed the “Status of Forces Agreement in Japan” in 1960.
Moreover, this is generally considered to have the meaning of pointing at China.
Both Morrison and Yoshihide Suga were a little overjoyed at this gain.
Morrison said to Suga Yoshihide affectionately: “I want to call you’yoshi’ (righteous) now. Please call me’Scott’.”
“Scott” is the abbreviation of “Scott Morrison”, and is also a nickname for his close people.
Mr. Suga, with a shy smile, silently accepted Mr. Mo’s suggestion.
Japan and Australia are really special for “special strategic partners”.
How important this Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) is to Japan and Australia can be seen from several indicators.
First, the negotiation of this agreement has gone through 6 years of long-distance race.
The agreement between the two countries, logically speaking, the differences should be much smaller than the agreement signed by 15 countries like RCEP, but it has been discussed for 6 years, and there must be unknown difficulties.
Even in April last year, the two countries reported that they would not sign the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (the original name of the agreement).
The differences are not small, the process is difficult, and you can get a glimpse of the sensitivity.
Second, the agreement requires parliamentary approval to take effect.
General agreements can be signed between governments, and those that require parliamentary approval must be sufficiently significant in content that will have a profound impact.
Third, when the Western media talked about it, they compared it with the “Status of Garrison Agreement” signed by the United States and Japan 60 years ago. The “Status of Garrison Agreement” is an important foundation of the US-Japan military alliance.
In fact, as early as 2018, when Japan and the United States reported on the progress of the negotiation of the agreement, they mentioned that it wanted to clarify the “positioning of quasi-allies” of Japan and Australia.
Public opinion in Japan and Australia is also closely watching this signing.
The Australian media referred to this meeting as a “historical meeting.” It is very high.
Japanese media quoted analysts as saying that the burden on the United States is already too heavy and it is helpful for other countries in this region to play a more active role in military activities and operations.
In these remarks, Japan’s ambitions can be clearly seen.
This ambition doesn’t stop there. Japan had only the United States as an ally before, but now it has two.
Japan and Australia belong to the “US, Japan, India, Australia” group of four. Some people think that Japan-Australia relations were a shortcoming before, but now they have been made up.
In addition, Japan may have two more careful thoughts.
It stands to reason that the security interests of Japan and Australia are very distant. Japan is concerned about the East China Sea and Australia is concerned about the South China Sea. However, after this alliance, Japan’s perspective has also expanded to the south.
Japan has always wanted to join the “Five Eyes Alliance”. Although it has not been able to do so in the short term, Japan has greatly improved its relations with Australia, which is equivalent to entering the “Alliance”. At least in this direction, we must always pay attention.
Australia has the same ambition.
It started with Japan and formed a north-south response. The hot spots in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, and ASEAN, can all serve as reasons for the deepening of exchanges between the two countries. In addition to the increasingly uncertain US, the two countries To conclude a certain certainty.
This obviously puts pressure on China.
It must be said that Japan and Australia have made a bad example. They interpreted the “threat” of China’s rise from the region, and acted in response to the request of the United States to create the first bilateral military in the Asia-Pacific region besides the United States. The prototype of the alliance.
Let us look at it from a military perspective.
In 1960, the United States and Japan signed the “Status of Armed Forces Agreement”, allowing U.S. warships, fighter jets, and thousands of troops to be deployed within Japan and surrounding areas. This is an important component of the U.S.-Japan military alliance that Washington calls “the cornerstone of regional security.” section.
Then, if Japan and Australia sign similar agreements, mutual visits and deployments between the Australian military and the Japanese Self-Defense Force can be realized. This will undoubtedly allow Tokyo and Canberra to establish closer ties in terms of military security, and they will be able to coordinate as important military operations are carried out.
As a result, possible scenarios include Japanese and Australian troops conducting military exercises around disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Not long ago, the Australian navy joined the lineup of Indian, Japanese, and American warships to jointly conduct the annual Malabar military exercise in the Indian Ocean, which strengthened the “four-nation” mechanism.
In addition, when the United States is overwhelmed, the Japan-Australia military linkage will help the two countries play a more active role in military activities and operations in the region.
From the perspective of actual combat capabilities, the Japanese Self-Defense Force is already a modern army in the true sense, with F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters, a helicopter carrier with a displacement of 30,000 tons, and F-35B vertical short-range takeoff and landing fighters. , Can become a real aircraft carrier.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force also has very advanced conventionally powered submarines. Although Australia finally chose to introduce the technology of the French conventionally powered version of the “Barracuda” class attack submarine in 2016 to produce 12 submarines, Australia has always been very interested in Japan’s “air-independent” (AIP) submarines.
In fact, as a military power in the South Pacific, Australia has always wanted to intervene in security issues in Northeast Asia and beyond.
In 2007, Australia and Japan signed the “Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation”, which opened the curtain of warming relations.
In 2010, Australia and Japan signed the “Replenishment and Service Mutual Agreement between the Japanese Self-Defense Force and the Australian Defense Force.” This agreement came into effect in January 2013 and is of particular significance to Japan, because it is the second such agreement signed by Japan after the United States, and Australia has also become the first country outside the United States to sign such an agreement with Japan.
In 2012, the two parties signed an information sharing agreement to share some confidential information.
Since July 2014, Australia has officially recognized Japan as a “special strategic partner”, while Japan has informally referred to Australia as a “quasi-ally.” Former Australian Prime Minister Abbott even declared that Australia is a “firm ally” of Japan. In this year, the two sides also signed the “Agreement on Defense, Science, and Technology,” with the purpose of facilitating cooperation in defense technology between the two countries.
In 2016, in a joint exercise, Japanese submarines showed up in Sydney for the first time since they invaded Sydney Harbour in 1942, which showed that the two sides had a deeper intention of mutual military visits.
And behind the continuous approach of Japan and Australia militarily, the main thrust of course comes from the United States.
The United States has always hoped that Japan and Australia, its two “right assistants” in the Asia-Pacific, can unite militarily, so that a more stable “US-Japan-Australia triangle” can be formed in terms of military security.
After the warm-up of the “return to the Asia-Pacific” strategy during the Obama era and the vigorous promotion of the current “Indo-Pacific strategy”, the US-Japan-Australia military triangle has become the cornerstone of a “mini-Asian NATO”. Now, with India, The military color under the “Group of Four” is getting stronger.
As mentioned above, Japan and Australia’s move has the meaning of pointing at China. However, their combination has inherent obstacles that are difficult to overcome in the short term.
One is the difficulty of geographic integration.
Japan, Australia and China are not adjacent to each other on land, and traditionally do not belong to the same geographic plate, and they are geographically far apart. Both of them have their own unique influence in the sub-regional plates of East Asia and South Pacific, and joint checks and balances are not easy.
They do have more or less geographic contradictions with China, but their focus is not the same.
When Australia looks at China, it is more out of differences in values.
Japan’s considerations are more complicated. It wants to unite with other countries to beat China to improve its position in the game with China, but it is unwilling to face China as an enemy.
It is not easy for them to take joint action against China.
Second, there are obvious limitations in strength.
Australia’s GDP is less than US$1.5 trillion, which is similar to our Guangdong Province, and its military technology is not very advanced. Moreover, Australia and Indonesia are wary of each other, which restricts Australia’s expansion in Southeast Asia.
As for Japan. The rules of action of the Japanese Self-Defense Force are clearly not conducive to the establishment of closer defense relations between Japan and Australia. In addition, Russia is wary of Japan, and China and Russia’s joint anti-missile early warning and joint patrol in the West Pacific reflect Russia’s dissatisfaction with Japan to some extent.
Third, they directly echo the US “Indo-Pacific strategy”, and the “Indo-Pacific strategy” is not realistic.
The competition between China and the United States is largely a game of sea power. Unlike land power, sea power is usually an inclusive power rather than a completely exclusive power. It is more manifested as a relative influence and comparative advantage in a certain sea area. It is a negotiated power.
The United States completely ignores China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and reasonable position in the region, which is not strategically realistic.
In any case, the signing of the “Reciprocal Access Agreement” between Japan and Australia this time is obviously aimed at China, and it has indeed further promoted the atmosphere of confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region and provided new leverage for the United States to divide Asia.
We want to tell Japan and Australia that just because China has developed, they have had strategic doubts about us and have begun their old-fashioned military alliance performances. This has obvious potential strategic risks.
Because Japan and Australia will be instrumented by the United States to a certain extent, and everyone knows that the strategic risk of tool damage is definitely higher than the user of the tool.
Really can’t make it.
But no matter what Japan and Australia do, the best way for us to break the alliance system is to rely on soft power.
One is to pay attention to the relationship between China and the United States.
Japan and Australia approached the background of Sino-US game. Although it is difficult for us to avoid the strategic game relationship between a hegemonic power and a neighboring emerging power, we can exert our own influence on the intensity and method of the game.
The second is to pay attention to the relationship between China and regional countries.
We are willing to work with regional countries to establish a free, open, and tolerant regional order. We must not only say, but also do, so that regional countries can see and trust.
In this way, even if Japan and Australia are “allied” again, and other countries do not follow up, they will not be able to make a big storm.