China, North Korea denounce Japan’s involvement with AUKUS

Beijing says it firmly opposes foreign military alliances targeting it and stoking bloc confrontation.
RFA staff
China, North Korea denounce Japan’s involvement with AUKUS U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak deliver remarks on the Australia-United Kingdom-U.S. (AUKUS) partnership, after a trilateral meeting, at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, Calif., March 13, 2023.
Leah Millis/Reuters

China has expressed “grave concern” about the possibility of Japan joining the AUKUS security pact, saying it would undermine peace and stability in the region and the world.

On Thursday, a Chinese defense ministry spokesman said Beijing was open to normal military cooperation between countries but “we firmly oppose relevant countries cobbling together exclusive groupings.” 

North Korea, meanwhile, said the United States has made “reckless moves” to involve Japan to “frantically expand its alliance sphere without limits.”

Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. formed the AUKUS defense and security partnership in 2021 to stand up to China’s growing power in the region. 

China has repeatedly criticized AUKUS as stoking “bloc-to-bloc confrontation.”

The United States also has sought to step up partnerships with allies in Asia, including Japan and the Philippines, in the face of China’s military build-up and its growing territorial assertiveness.

Japan has yet to explicitly announce its participation in AUKUS but a joint statement released after U.S. President Joe Biden met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida this month said that the AUKUS partners “are considering cooperation with Japan” in certain projects.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a state visit at the White House in Washington, April 10, 2024. [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]
Chinese defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a press briefing in Beijing that the Asia-Pacific was “not a wrestling ground for geopolitical competition.”

“Japan needs to draw lessons from history, both speak and act prudently on military and security issues,” Wu said, warning some “other countries” to avoid fueling confrontation, too.

North Korea also criticized the plan, saying that “the danger of Japan’s participation in AUKUS is making the whole international community tense.”

“It is the sinister intention of the U.S. to make Japan ... obsessed by nationalism, a crew member of a confrontation ship called AUKUS and put it at the outpost line of the anti-China pressure and push the nuclear minefield in the Asia-Pacific region closer to China,” analyst Kang Jin Song said in an editorial published by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.

Japan’s involvement

“Recognizing Japan’s strengths and its close bilateral defense partnerships with all three countries, we are considering cooperation with Japan on AUKUS Pillar II advanced capability projects,” AUKUS defense ministers said in a joint statement.

The first main program, or Pillar I, of the trilateral partnership, is “the sharing of nuclear-powered submarines between the U.S., U.K, and Australia,” said Stephen Nagy, a professor of politics and international studies at the International Christian University in Tokyo.

“Japan will not join Pillar I but it could join Pillar II, which is the cooperation in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, cyber, hypersonics and more,” he said.

Japan’s participation would enhance its technology and coordination with AUKUS members as well as its security but “ensure that emerging technology domination will be by like-minded countries that respect the rule of law,” Nagy said.

Tokyo is one of Washington’s most trusted partners in the Indo-Pacific. There are 54,000 American troops in Japan and the U.S.’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier strike group is based in Yokosuka. 

Japan is increasing military spending to deal with challenges and taking a regional leadership role, moving away from its post-war pacifist defense strategy.

Radio Free Asia is a news service affiliated with BenarNews.


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