Japan faces ‘nightmare scenario’ as Russia, China could upset US-led order

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A new Japanese security report says so. China And Russia They have a shared ambition to create a global order skewed in their favor, reflecting one of Tokyo’s greatest fears – that the two powers would effectively become military allies.
The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), a think tank affiliated with JapanLast week, the Ministry of Defense released the China Security Report 2024, “The Competition between the United States and the United States China-Russia It will increase rapidly in the international order in the next decade or so.
He noted that while Beijing and Moscow have had a more complicated relationship in the past, those ideological and political differences have been pushed aside to enable the Chinese president. Xi Jinping And the president of Russia Vladimir Putin to mobilize at least some of their power to challenge the status quo.

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Garen Mulloy, a professor of international relations at Daito Bunka University and a specialist in military affairs, said the NIDS report echoed a number of recent white papers and studies in Japan in recent years, but is significant because “it’s much clearer. China and Russia are not good in the modern world. As for the features “.

Much of the report focuses on efforts by Moscow and Beijing to undermine and ultimately upset the current world order, Mulloy said, a more concerted approach than in the past to changing the existing rules-based system. He said.

According to the report, the two leaders had a “shared strategic goal based on the fundamental values ​​of freedom and democracy” to create a parallel international order.

Chinese coast guards take photos and videos of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels during the transport of the PCG to the disputed South China Sea for the BRP Sierra Madre ship. Photo: Bloomberg
He also stated that Xi is showing her willingness to challenge the existing system by unilaterally claiming the territory in China. South China Sea And making similar claims elsewhere, at least in opposition Taiwan. At the same time, Putin is pushing forward with War in UkraineRussian naval and air units were operating close to the Japanese territory, according to NIDS.

Of greatest concern to Tokyo, the report revealed that Chinese and Russian warships and aircraft had conducted joint exercises in the Sea of ​​Japan and had completed joint patrols of major Japanese islands earlier this year.

“Japan cannot allow China and Russia to create an undemocratic international system that tolerates forceful unilateral changes to the status quo,” the NIDS study warned. “Japan must further strengthen the necessary defense capabilities to thwart attempts to change the status quo by relying on force.”

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The key factor for the country’s future security is “K united statesIt wants to maintain the existing order and has strong defense capabilities, including nuclear.
The report recommended that Japan strengthen “economic and people-to-people exchanges” with the countries. Southeast Asia and using diplomacy with emerging and developing countries in the Pacific and Indo-Pacific region to “expand common interests” – that is, to preserve the current international order.

“Japan calls for more proactive and neutral measures to protect its national interests and maintain peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” the paper said.

Academician Mulloy said Tokyo was “surprised” by the increased coordination and cooperation between the two countries’ militaries in exercises near Japan, although this was only part of the “nightmare scenario” for Japan.

“This alliance that is emerging is not the absolute worst situation that Japan finds itself in, but it is part of it,” he said. “The worst case scenario is that this alliance grows and America withdraws its forces from the Indo-Pacific region.”

Despite the report’s bleak outlook, Mulloy pointed to a couple of positives in the current regional geopolitical situation, pointing instead to the fact that Russia and China cannot currently be considered a formal security alliance and the obstacles that stand in the way of that outcome.

Ukrainian soldiers of the 56th Brigade fired mortars at Russian forces in the Bakhmut region. Photo: dpa

Similarly, Russia’s war in Ukraine and its deep economic problems at home make Moscow a very small partner in the relationship, Mulloy said. As China contemplates “displacing many elements of the liberal international order and then replacing them with structures less constrained by international law and order, Russia is unlikely to make such changes.” It does not have a systematic architecture.

“It is clear that Russia is more compatible with China than with Russia, because Moscow has very few options and much less power,” he said.

In addition, the foreign ministers of Japan, China and South Korea We met. Sunday in Busan, the first in-person meeting for the three officials in recent years. While there is no immediate breakthrough on issues affecting bilateral and trilateral relations, the three sides agreed to intensify their efforts to organize a summit of their leaders soon.

“It was positive that Japan and China were able to find some common ground,” Mulloy said. “Japan can cut ties with Russia and reduce trade because it has no effect here. But not having trade relations with China will have a much worse effect on Japan.”

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