The South China Sea region is under more tension as Japan, US, China and the Philippines have started making moves to secure their bids. Japan will work with the US to beef up military forces while the Philippines continue to deepen ties with China which many see as direct betrayal to the country’s alliance with the United States. Who will win in the South China Sea dispute?
Japan and US Prepare for Attack
Japan plans on stepping up its activities in the South China Sea region with the help of the United States. According to Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, Japan and US will be engaged in joint training patrols that cover bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies.
According to the official, the increased efforts are part of Japan’s initiative and concern to deter Chinese dominance and aggression in the South China Sea region. Inada spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, emphasizing that Japan also hares the same conerns that US have in terms of China’s territorial bid.
“In this context, I strongly support the U.S. Navy’s freedom-of-navigation operations, which go a long way to upholding the rules-based international maritime order,” Reuters quoted the official.
“Japan, for its part, will increase its engagement in the South China Sea through, for example, Maritime Self-Defense Force joint training cruises with the U.S. Navy and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies,” she said.
Philippines Betrays US for China?
While Japan and United States seem to be growing closer because of China, the opposite may be happening between the Philippines and the United States. Relations between the Philippines and the US have started dwindling as President Rodrigo Duterte pursues further talks and possibly deeper ties with China. Nonetheless, officials believe that talking the matter with China could bring possible good results.
“The next step to my mind should be now to undertake this on an official basis a special envoy with respect to the areas of concern that relate to what we should promote as in our relationship to China,” The Diplomat quoted Philippines’ foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.
“[T]hat area of the disputed territory in the South China Sea is a small portion of our relationship. We would like to continue engaging everyone including China our neighbors in pursuing other interests that include trade, investment, infrastructure development, cultural exchanges, people-to-people contact,” he said.