Quad meeting in Tokyo, Asian NATO and Taiwan

Quad meeting in Tokyo, Asian NATO and Taiwan

Trump´s anti-Chinese G 11 idea which wanted to split the Eurasia by the formation of an anti-China bloc including Russian, India, South Korea and Australia found mixed reactions and sympathies. While Putin didn´t react to Trump´s offer, India wants to see what Trump can offer against China and Pakistan and also intensifies the cooperation within the Quad. While the Trump- USA offers India an G 11 participation, it also seems to propose more formal military ties. In his article „US seeks formal alliance similar to Nato with India, Japan and Australia, State Department official say „published 1 Sep, 2020 in the South Chjina Morning Post Robert Delaney writes:

„Washington’s goal is to get countries in the Indo-Pacific region to work together as a bulwark against ‘a potential challenge from China’, says the US official

He says the four nations are expected to meet in Delhi sometime this autumn

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/3099642/us-seeks-formal-alliance-similar-nato-india-japan-and-australia-state

Then the meeting was relocated to Japan and the Hindustan Times gave an outlook on the Quad meeting´s agenda::

„China on their radar, India, Japan, US, Australia to hold Quad meet on Oct 6

The four Quad partners have their own reasons for being upset with China’s aggressive posture under paramount leader Xi Jinping under the mask of the deadly coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic

Foreign ministers of the Quad, the informal security forum comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia, are expected to hold a much-awaited meeting in Tokyo on October 6 with the objective of tightening strategic cooperation and advance the goal of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The meeting is expected to be followed by consultations at senior officials’ level in November.

The meeting will discuss collaboration among Quad countries in counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, development finance, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, according to South Block officials. The ministers are also expected to discuss practical collaborations in developing advanced technologies including 5G and 5G-plus telecom standards as well as securing the sea lanes of communications in the Indo-Pacific.

While Beijing is expected to take aim at the four partners for seeking to target China at the meeting, there has been a sea change since the ministers met informally on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, 2019. Quad is expected to take steps towards an institutionalized dialogue at the meeting, where Chinese actions since the rise of global pandemic from Wuhan will come under a magnifying glass.

The Quad ministerial comes at a time when the Donald Trump administration has made a U-turn on US policy towards China, which was guided by the rapprochement policy tailored by Henry Kissinger 50 years ago under the Republican administration of Richard Nixon. The tough, new US policy towards Communist China was defined by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in his Nixon Library address on July 24.

The Indian relationship with China has taken a 180-degree turn since the Chennai summit on October 11-12, 2019, after the People’s Liberation Army’s aggression in eastern Ladakh in May. The armies of the two countries are still locked in a staring match in Ladakh with both sides losing soldiers in the June 15 Galwan Valley flare-up and firing in the air in the first week of September after the Indian Army pre-empted the PLA south of Pangong Tso. This is not all.

Australia’s relationship with China, its largest trading partner, has nosedived with Beijing imposing an 80% tariff on barley, launching an anti-dumping investigation of Australian wine, blocking Australian beef, arresting an Australian journalist and banning two academics from visiting China.

The situation with Japan is no different, with Chinese warmongering over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea forcing Tokyo to increase its defence budget to a record. Tokyo is also upset over new security laws in Hong Kong and pressure put on democratic Taiwan by Beijing.

In short, all the four Quad partners have their own reasons for being upset with China’s aggressive posture under paramount leader Xi Jinping under the mask of the deadly coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The Chinese posture in the Indo-Pacific and the threat it poses to the democratic world will be discussed at the Tokyo ministerial, with all Quadl partners sharing their experiences.

Given that all the Quad partners have a military supply and logistics sharing agreement with each other, the foreign ministers will also take a decision on a four-nation naval exercise under the rubric of Malabar in the Arabian Sea to signal their commitment for free and open navigation in the Indo-Pacific.“

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-japan-us-australia-to-hold-quad-meet-on-oct-6-china-on-their-radar/story-LhL2r3vuaTl3ndBQ0vT6LP.html

China as reaction to Pompeo´s Asia trip and the Quad meeting will likely counter these effort by its own diplomatic visit tour in Asia:

„Sun said Beijing may react to Pompeo’s trips by sending senior officials on similar visits, including Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi. Wang is in talks to visit Japan in October after having travelled to Mongolia in September, and Yang flew to South Korea in August to pave the way for a trip by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In Japan, Pompeo will meet his foreign minister counterparts in the Quad for the first time since the pandemic broke out, with a likely focus on joint efforts to counter Beijing and its claims to most of the

South China Sea

Monika Chansoria, senior fellow at The Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo, said this was reflected by India’s deployment of a warship into the South China Sea in August, in the midst of an ongoing crisis at the disputed China-India border since June.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reportedly has plans to visit Vietnam and Indonesia in October as his first overseas trips in his new role, indicating a focus on Southeast Asia and the South China Sea.

“It could be the beginning of a far more robust approach undertaken throughout the Indo-Pacific by these countries, jointly along with their respective regional partners,” Chansoria said. “The post-Covid-19 world is increasingly going to see an overhauled reassessment of China with wider security implications.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3104104/mike-pompeo-keeps-pressure-china-despite-cutting-short-asia

On the one side China harshly critizises the Quad as an anti-Chinese „exclusive clique“and „Mini-NATO“with a new Cold War mentality:

„Beijing has criticised meeting as an ‘exclusive clique’

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will meet the other foreign ministers of the Australia-India-Japan-United States Quadrilateral or Quad in Tokyo on Tuesday, which is seen as a significant turning point for the grouping, led by growing concerns over China in the region.

Officials aware of the agenda say that cooperation on 5G connectivity, cybersecurity, a supply chain initiative for manufacturing, maritime cooperation and infrastructure and connectivity, as well as distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine are all areas where alternatives to Chinese initiatives will be discussed.

Beijing has already criticised the meeting as an “exclusive clique”, “an anti-China front line” and even a “mini-NATO” led by the U.S.’s “cold war mentality”, making it clear it will watch the outcomes closely, even as its tensions with each of the Quad countries grows.

Malabar exercise

The meeting on Tuesday will begin with a “regional assessment”, including developments in the South and East China Sea, the six-month stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Hong Kong and Taiwan, where China’s aggressive moves have been most marked. The four ministers will also discuss the issue of including Australia in the next edition of the Malabar naval exercises, scheduled to be held in November. However, there is still no clarity on the final decision. Any announcement on Malabar would be made by the Ministry of Defence, a government official said.

Building trade ties is also on the agenda, as Japan is keen to push a plan for a trilateral “Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)” with India and Australia to reduce dependence on Chinese manufacturing, especially as India has refused to be a part of the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

India will also discuss how other Quad countries can help with building “East-West” connectivity from India to ASEAN countries, to counter the “North-South connectivity” from China, as well as joint funding for infrastructure and connectivity projects in the Indo-Pacific region. A U.S. plan for a “Blue Dot Network” to rate infrastructure projects for funding, announced in January, is likely to be discussed as well.

Bilateral meetings

Mr. Jaishankar will also hold bilateral meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Australian and U.S. counterparts Marise Payne and Mike Pompeo separately during his two-day Tokyo visit, where bilateral defence cooperation will be a common theme.

Each of the foreign ministers had made a special effort to attend this meeting, said diplomatic sources, indicating that the Trump administration was particularly keen to hold the meeting before U.S. elections next month so that a common understanding on China, as well as the road map for the future year could be reached.

Secretary of State Mr. Pompeo is travelling despite health concerns over President Donald Trump, who is in hospital with COVID-19. Mr. Pompeo has cancelled trips to Seoul and Ulan Bator scheduled this week, but could reschedule later this month, when he is expected to travel to Delhi for the “2+2” Foreign-Defence Ministers’ meetings.

Ms. Payne, who has only travelled to the U.S. during the pandemic, given Australia’s strict “no exemption” two-week quarantine rule, is making a special effort to attend as well, as is Mr. Jaishankar, whose only other visit has been to Moscow for the SCO (Shangai Cooperation Organisation) summit and to meet with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

Japan’s special push

Japan itself made a special push to host the meeting, which was earlier due to take place in Delhi, as the new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is keen to show his commitment to the Quad process, which was conceived by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

While the Quadrilateral has thus far met at joint secretary levels twice a year since it was revived in 2017, the foreign ministers only met once before on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, and are likely to discuss making talks at this level a more permanent feature.“

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/external-affairs-minister-jaishankar-heads-for-tokyo-for-quad-meeting/article32775986.ece?homepage=true#

On the other side, Chinese commentators like the Global Times claim that the Quad won´t be a success story and that Trump´s and Pompeo´s effort to create a anti-Chinese Asian NATO are doomed to fail due tot he different national interests oft he Quadmembers. In addition to an anti-Chinese G11 with Russia, India, Australia and South Korea, Trump wants to turn the Quad into a kind of anti-Chinese Asian NATO. The Global Times is analyzing the various interests of the Quad members and is rather relaxed.as the Quad not even issued a joint declaration:

„All US’ bark and no bite in Quad meeting

By Shen Yi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/6

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with his counterparts from Australia, India and Japan – so-called Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) countries, in Tokyo on Tuesday, with no joint statement issued after the meeting.

During the group’s first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo said it was critical now for the US’ regional allies in the Indo-Pacific region to counter the Communist Party of China’s “exploitation, coercion and corruption in the South and East China seas, the Mekong, the Himalayas, and the Taiwan Straits.” 

Meanwhile, other Quad members have been cautious. After separate bilateral meetings with Pompeo on the sidelines of the Quad gathering, Australian and Japanese Foreign Ministers Marise Payne and Toshimitsu Motegi did not mention China in their speeches.

Such a result could be argued as predictable, as each of the Quad members is calculating their own separate interests.

The US, which has signed military alliance treaties with Japan and Australia, now wants to rope India in to boost not only the alliance and to gang up on China. However, such a goal is not easy to realize. 

India is unlikely to take the US side. It has been buttering its bread on both sides of major power games ever since the Cold War. India is a country that tends to have higher confidence than its actual strength. Also, New Delhi wishes to become a superpower itself with strong nationalism in its public opinion. Therefore, it has no intent to dance to the US’ tune.

Japan has been pursuing to become a normal state and a major power for a long time. Historically, it has been following greater powers in diplomacy. Yet Japan won’t cling too tightly to Washington and will rather leave some room for adjustment of its policies. Moreover, both of Japan’s goals, be it to become a normal state or seek major power status, need the support of China to be realized.

Take the Taiwan question. Japan is willing to endorse the US posturing verbally. But it has no interest to fight China in a real war for the Taiwan secessionist forces. For Japan, the South China Sea affairs and the Taiwan question are merely about its own southbound shipping lines, and China won’t take any move to obstruct normal maritime navigation in the waters. 

Australia seems to be a loyal follower of the US government. It wants to promote its own global status by promoting the Quad alliance. But how much strength does Australia own with its limited economy and population? Moreover, if Canberra is bent on infuriating China, Australia will only face the dire consequences. 

The US is hoping to formalize the Quad into a NATO-like alliance, or “Asian NATO.” To make it real is very difficult. NATO is a military alliance, and the first question the US will face is whether to encourage Japan to amend its pacifist constitution. Doing so would trigger huge uncertainties, even violent turbulence in the region. By not doing so, how could the US order Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to carry out activities that go beyond Japan’s constitution? 

Australia could only offer little support in terms of military cooperation. India, on the other hand, would only create more challenges rather than help in terms of formalizing a military alliance with any country, as its weapons are created and bought from different countries. If the US wants to count India in its “Asia NATO,” it would need to persuade India to give up its Russia-made weapons and substantially invest to change the standards of Indian firearms to the standards of the US. Substantial amounts of money and work will also be needed to create a modern Indian command system. 

Japan and Australia seem to face lesser obstacles in the above-mentioned technical field. Yet, they are strange bedfellows. White supremacy in Australia is most notable among Western countries. Deep down in Australians’ hearts, they tend to look down on all other races. Would Japan simply bear it?

More importantly, the Quad or “Asian NATO,” the key to formalizing a new alliance depends on the US’ own capacity. However, the weirdness of this issue is that if the US is strong enough, it does not need a new alliance at all. The fact that the US dreams of it only proves its declining ability. To unite its allies, the US would need to offer some interests, yet it has almost nothing to offer now. Common values are not enough to make others take the side of the US. 

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 health crisis, Japan, Australia and India have shown enough support to the US by participating in the Quad meeting. As Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said, China does not seek global dominance. As long as China follows its path, the punches the US throws will hardly hurt China.  

In today’s world, any move to create a military, political and exclusive alliance aimed at countering China, one of the most significant forces in promoting globalization, is a pseudo-proposition that goes against the times. Such a strategy is bound to fail. 

After Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, Japan was not among the first countries to send well wishes, which shows Tokyo wants to keep some distance from the US. If Japan, one of US’ closest allies, has such a mindset, how would other countries think about their ties with Washington? 

The US has been barking aloud before and during the Quad meeting. But will it bite with expected “unity” from the Quad? The answer is no. At least, the result of this Quad meeting is evidence of the US’ relatively declining leadership.

The author is professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1202772.shtml

Another Global Times commentator also claims that US Secratry of State Pompeo´s alliance building efforts during his Asia trip won´t be sucessful:

„Not easy for Pompeo to sway China’s neighbors in building military alliance

By Xin Qiang Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/3

As US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will reportedly start a trip on Sunday to visit Japan, Mongolia and South Korea, US State Department Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Assistant Secretary David Stilwell said on Friday that Pompeo will participate in a ministerial meeting in Tokyo of the Quad group of the US, Japan, Australia and India.

Pompeo plans to visit China’s neighboring countries in Northeast Asia, except Russia and North Korea. Its intention is clear – to solidify China’s neighboring countries in a bid to balance and check China.

Two regions play a vital role for Washington to build a “global anti-China alliance.” The US sees its allies in Europe significant in checking and balancing China in high tech, economy and trade. Then there’s the Indo-Pacific region, especially India, Japan and Australia. A quadrilateral security dialogue, an informal strategic forum between the US and the three countries, has been formed. Furthermore, South Korea is a US ally, while the US has repeatedly wooed Mongolia in recent years. If the two China neighbors could be inclined to the US and engage in more coordination with the US, Washington will better check and balance China. Therefore, the US is devoting more energy and time to rope in these countries.

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said in August that the US seeks to formalize closer defense relations with India, Japan and Australia, similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Biegun claims the US wants to see Vietnam, South Korea and New Zealand participate in an expanded version of the “Quad.” 

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in September reiterated the US’ intention to build a NATO-like alliance in the Indo-Pacific.

Such a plan can be seen as part of the story of the Arabian Nights. The establishment of NATO had its specific conditions. Amid the Cold War, the security of European countries and the US was threatened by the Soviet Union, their common foe, instead of a mere competitor. However, the current situation in the Indo-Pacific is totally different from the Cold War. Regional countries are reluctant to take sides between China and the US. If these countries coordinate with the US in building a NATO-like military alliance in checking and balancing China, their cooperation with China in terms of economy, politics and security will decrease dramatically, which is not in line with their national interests.

It was reported that Pompeo may urge South Korea to join the “Quad” during his visit. South Korea’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense in 2016 triggered strong resistance from China. Seoul would be afraid that its participation in Quad will irritate China again. Even Australia, whose ties with China have sharply deteriorated, and India, whose border tensions with China are ongoing, would be reluctant to join the alliance. If they did so, they would have to bear too many difficulties and risks, such as the sharp decrease in economic exchanges with China. Such an alliance cannot be realized. However, for political purposes, some US politicians still hope to play it as a card to pursue political gains.“

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1202661.shtml

A gamechanger might also be the new political moves by the KMT which are angering the CPC. The proposed KMT bills to resume diplomatic ties with the USA are perceived by Beijing not only as opportunistic, but objectivly promoting Taiwanese independence, attacking the 1 China policy and abolishing the crossstrait 1992 consensus.

„KMT’s latest proposals are of ‘Taiwan independence’ nature: analysts

By Hou Jiaxin and Shan Jie Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/6

Regardless of its intentions, the Kuomintang (KMT)’s latest proposals against the Communist Party of China (CPC), and promoting the Taiwan island’s relationship with the US, will not only tarnish KMT, but also severely harm cross-Straits relations, observers said.

Taiwan’s “Legislative Yuan” on Tuesday passed two proposals from the KMT, which are to “request the US to help confront the CPC,” and “for the Taiwan Island and the US to resume diplomatic ties,” Taiwan local media reported. The KMT also called on the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to “work actively” on these two issues.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, responded on Tuesday by saying that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and both sides of the Taiwan Strait belonging to the same China is an unalterable historical and legal fact.

The root cause of the current complex and severe tensions in the Taiwan Straits is that the DPP authorities have colluded with external forces and continuously adopted provocative actions of “Taiwan independence.”

We firmly oppose any separatist actions that create the so-called “Taiwan independence,” “two Chinas,” or “one China, one Taiwan,” she said.

“These proposals show that the KMT has alienated from its previous stance – it has no method, no thought, no framework and no direction on dealing relationships between the Chinese mainland, Taiwan island and the US government,” Chang Ya-chung, a professor at the National Taiwan University and a member of the pro-reunification Kuomintang (KMT), told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Chang said the KMT central committee might want to “mock the DPP administration” with the proposals, or, to earn some favor from local Taiwan people. “But its proposals not only anger the mainland, but also diminish the KMT.”

Though the proposals seem to have no practical significance, they will ease up the US’ hand to play the “Taiwan cards,” further making Taipei “tag-along” with Washington, Chang said.

“The cross-Straits relationship used to be the advantage of the KMT… The right way for the KMT should be to help resolve the current state of hostility between the mainland and the island, recognize and deepen the 1992 Consensus, and realize peaceful cross-Straits development,” Chang noted.

The KMT, in its proposals, urged the ruling DPP in Taiwan to persuade Washington to consider the Chinese mainland as a “threat”. It even suggested DPP set a goal to resume so-called “diplomatic ties with the US”. The proposals were passed at the “Legislative Yuan” and sent to related departments to study, local media reported.

Zhang Wensheng, a deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, said that the KMT proposals were made to distance itself from the Chinese mainland, and also, to play up its image of “loving Taiwan and protecting Taiwan” so as to compete with the DPP.

“However, the two proposals are of a ‘Taiwan independence’ nature and must be strongly condemned,” Zhang noted.

Whether it is the “resumption of ‘diplomatic relations'”, or the US’ military defense of Taiwan, it is nothing to do with Taiwan, but ultimately a decision by Washington, Zhang noted. Also, it is wishful thinking in the island of Taiwan. 

In fact, the ruling DPP had previously hyped the “resumption of diplomatic relations” as well. On February 13 this year, Taiwan’s “Legislative Yuan” leader Yu Shyi-kun met with William Christensen, Director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, and suggested the “resumption of diplomatic relations.” Christensen did not respond.

Lai Ching-te, former head of Taiwan’s executive branch, in October 2018 said that the proposal of “establishing diplomatic relations with the US” was good and would be communicated to the US. At that time, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, responded:  “Listening to those words, I feel that someone there is day dreaming.”

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1202773.shtml

However, while the Quad is talking more about the South China and East China Sea, the next conflict might arise from Taiwan. The Global Times is now thrashing the Kuomindang, because the KMT wants to introduce two laws, also to consider resuming diplomatic relations with the U.S. Up to now, the KP prefered the KMT, especially under Ma Yingjiu, preferredto DDP, but now labels the KMT as a looser and as being lost for the peaceful reunification causen and openly threatens with teaching Taiwan a lesson.

The more trouble Taiwan creates, the sooner the mainland will teach them a lesson

By Hu Xijin Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/6

The Kuomintang (KMT) group in Taiwan’s “Legislative Yuan” proposed two bills, asking the island’s authorities to request US assistance in resisting the Communist Party of China and to resume diplomatic ties with the US. The move is widely believed to checkmate the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and put the DPP in a difficult position. 

But regardless of the intention behind the move, it is believed that the KMT legislators have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. They have gone downhill and become vulgar. They would do anything to just get rid of their political passivity on the island of Taiwan. They are losers. 

Judging from such a loser mentality of the KMT, it is clear that we must not count on them for future cross-Straits peace and national reunification. On the upside, those politicians’ treachery have helped the Chinese mainland see clearly what is happening on the island. We must no longer hold any more illusions. The only way forward is for the mainland to fully prepare itself for war and to give Taiwan secessionist forces a decisive punishment at any time. As the secessionist forces’ arrogance continues to swell, the historical turning point is getting closer. 

It’s certain that the current status of the island of Taiwan is only a short period in history that will definitely come to an end. The initiative of ending this period while minimizing losses and maximizing gains toward the rise of China in the process is firmly in the hands of the Chinese mainland. The more trouble Taiwan creates, the sooner the mainland will decide to teach Taiwan independence forces a hard lesson. 

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1202774.shtml

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