A new structure for Asia? – DW – 09/04/2024

A new structure for Asia?  – DW – 09/04/2024

USA President, Joe BidenJapanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will meet on Thursday (11.4.2024) in Washington to strengthen economic and defense relations between the three countries.

The authorities confirm that the summit is not directed against a specific country, but the fact is that it is being held amid an escalation of escalation. Tensions over the South China Seaspecifically in the disputed area of ​​Second Thomas Shoal, which is located in waters claimed by both of them China Like the Philippines.

In recent months, the Chinese Coast Guard has repeatedly encountered resupply missions from the Philippine outpost in this enclave. The Chinese ships responded by using water cannons and executing them Risky maneuvers to block Philippine ships.

Japan, for its part, also faced Raids in waters near SenkakuIt is a chain of uninhabited islands under Japanese control in the East China Sea. Tokyo accused China of installing buoys near this area.

At this week's summit, Washington, Tokyo and Manila can formulate an independent security system, with less emphasis on American leadership, which is what the strategy in this area will depend on with its partners, the Philippines and Manila. Japan.

“This trilateral track represents the growing desire in Manila and Tokyo, and even in Washington, to move beyond traditional models to further integrate cooperative efforts based on shared goals,” Don McLean Gill, a Washington-based geopolitical analyst, told DW. .

Manila and Tokyo are getting closer

Tokyo recently made efforts to intensify security cooperation with Manila, and discussed a military agreement that allows the deployment of forces from the two countries in the Philippines to conduct training and maneuvers.

Georgi Engelbrecht, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, describes Japan as the “silent hero” in Asia.

“It may have started with the escalation in the Senkaku dispute, and continued later with the Abe administration (former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo), but it culminated in this awareness of the Indo-Pacific, where the United States is looking to the Southeast as a region that can and will be supported in many ways, with the goal of Emphasize more some of the ideals that you share with this part of the world,” Engelbrecht told DW.

For the analyst, the trilateral summit is not a surprise and shows the convergence of strong relations between Japan, the Philippines and the emerging US alliance.

The Philippines is still lagging behind

After the tripartite summit… United State It could be placed at the top of the triangle, where Japan and the Philippines cooperate closely at the base, Carlisle Thayer, emeritus professor of politics at the University of New South Wales, tells DW.

On the other hand, Japan's help could change the equation in the dispute between China and the Philippines.

However, experts note that although the summit is a meeting of equal and like-minded nations, the Philippines lags far behind Japan and the United States in economic development and military capabilities.

“What will happen is that the defense ministers (will work to improve) what defense cooperation will look like, but they will really work on the economic side, because investment will create more job opportunities for Filipinos. A strong economy,” he added. “The aid will help any government stay in power over the years, making it less attractive for China to contribute those millions if Japan and the United States up the ante,” Thayer says.

Elections can ruin plans

However, experts warn that a single summit will not resolve tensions in the South China Sea.

“The big question is how long this situation will last or whether it will last in the long term,” says Gil, noting that presidential systems like the Philippines and the United States are vulnerable to changes in foreign policy, depending on who takes office.

in US elections are scheduled for later this year The Philippines could have a new president in 2028, which could end Marcos' campaign to strengthen alliances with the European Union, Australia, Japan and the United States itself.


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