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17th June 2023 (8 Topics)

U.S., Japan, Philippines agree to strengthen security ties

Context

According to recent information, the United States, Japan, and the Philippines held their first joint talks and agreed to strengthen their defense cooperation as growing tensions escalate against China and North Korea in the Indo-Pacific region.

About the development:

  • Details:
    • For economic and Navigational security: Japan, the Philippines, and the US have discussed the "turbulent regional security environment and collectively work to enhance peace and stability” in areas including freedom of navigation and economic security.
    • Strategic importance of Taiwan Strait: The importance of enhancing three-way cooperation, building on alliances between Japan and the U.S. and between the Philippines and the U.S. to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, especially in the Taiwan Strait was highlighted.
  • Other points of discussion:
    • Strengthen naval forces: They also mentioned the importance of joint naval exercises in Indo-Pacific waters.
    • To deepen military cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief: Japan and the Philippines also agreed to have their militaries cooperate in disaster relief operations in the Philippines, seen as a step toward a pact allowing their forces to visit and train on each other's soil.

Why do Japan and US want to strengthen ties against China?

  • Japan’s interest:
    • Self-defense-only policy: Under the new strategy, Japan began security assistance for the militaries of developing nations, primarily in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Japan is planning to provide Japanese-made non-lethal equipment such as radar, antennas, small patrol boats, and improvements to infrastructure such as ports for development in the region and its partners.
  • US’s interest:
    • The United States has no claims to the waters of Indo-pacific but says freedom of navigation and over flight and the peaceful resolution of disputes in the key international waterway is in its national interest.
    • Also, its emerging tensions with China on the Taiwan issue have also led the US to come closer to Japan.
    • USA is also trying to develop relations with South Korea in the region.

The Taiwan issue:

  • Location:
    • Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and is the largest land mass between Japan and the Philippines at the junction of the East and South China Sea in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
  • A Resource-rich country:
    • Further, its contract manufacturers together accounted for more than 60% of total global semiconductor revenue in 2021.
    • Currently, only 13 countries recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country.
  • USA’s treaty with Taiwan:
    • The United States does not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is bound by US law (Taiwan Relations Act, 1979) to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
    • It is by far the largest arms dealer for Taiwan and follows a ‘strategic ambiguity’ policy.

What has been the Stand of India on the Taiwan Issue?

  • India-Taiwan Ties:
    • As a part of India's Act East Foreign Policy, India has sought to cultivate extensive ties with Taiwan in trade and investment as well as developing cooperation in science & technology, environmental issues, and people-to-people exchange.
    • For instance, the India-Taipei Association (ITA) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) in New Delhi.
  • Stand of India:
    • Since 1949, India has accepted the One China policy that accepts Taiwan and Tibet as part of China.
    • However, India uses the policy to make a diplomatic point, i.e., if India believes in the “One China” policy, China should also believe in a “One India” policy.
    • Even though India has stopped mentioning its adherence to the ‘One China policy’ in joint statements and official documents since 2010, its engagement with Taiwan is still restricted due to the framework of ties with China.

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