※’Alji RG’ is an online series of the JoongAng Ilbo international team that contains the meaning of’Real Global news that has been carefully and wisely contained’.
In 1902, the two island nations joined hands. The British Empire, which commanded the world based on its powerful naval power as a leader in the industrial revolution, and Japan, who dreamed of becoming an empire like Britain, formed an alliance. It is the Anglo-Japanese Alliance that shook the game in Northeast Asia in the 20th century and had a decisive influence on the fate of the Korean Peninsula.
However, the recent movements of these two countries are unusual. Some say that the appearance of the United States in close contact with the United States seems to recreate the situation 120 years ago.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the hegemonic power of England joined hands with Japan because they were wary of Russian expansion. The recent close contact is also taking place in the process of strengthening the solidarity between the alliances in order to prevent China’s collapse by the hegemonic power of the United States.
Unusual long-term dispatch of British carriers to the coast of Japan
The US-Japan alliance has been the constant of Northeast Asian geopolitics since World War II. In addition, it is noteworthy that even Britain, which had previously liquidated its alliance with Japan, is turning to Japan more and more. Before the Brexit decision in 2015, the UK referred to Japan as the closest security partner in Asia, and has been steadily following it.
At the beginning of last month, the UK and Japan held a ‘2+2 meeting’ of foreign ministers and defense ministers, and decided to conduct joint training with the US, the UK, and Japan in the Indo-Pacific this year. For this training, the UK decided to send the latest aircraft carrier built in 2017 and the largest ship in the Royal Navy (length 280 m, full load tonnage 65,000 tons),’Queen Elizabeth’, to the shores of Japan for a long time.
It is unusual for British aircraft carriers to perform long-term missions offshore in Northeast Asia. This is because aircraft carriers from countries other than the United States and neighboring countries have not stayed in this area for a long time. Prof. Jeon Hye-won of the National Institute of Foreign Affairs said, “One of the reasons why Britain, whose four sides are the sea, has no choice but to stick to Japan when looking to Asia, is the fact that Japan’s geopolitical position, that is, its ease of anchoring and support when sending carriers for a long time, “There is.”
China’s’Anglospear’ to be held in check, in close contact with Japan
What’s interesting is that this is happening with the so-called’Anglosphere’ resurrection movement. Anglosphere refers to a region that speaks English and shares similar cultural values. Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. They are also the countries that make up the so-called’Five Eyes’ that share confidential information.
What brings them together is the rise of China. In a way, it seems natural for the hegemonic US to hold back China, which dreams of emerging hegemony. In addition, the UK is also turning to Asia after Brexit (withdrawal from the European Union), taking the lead in public containment. This year, the BBC took the lead in exposing Xinjiang’s suppression of ethnic minorities in Uighur, and despite the opposition from China, the door to immigration was wide open to Hong Kongers. Australia is also challenging. The country that eats and lives by exporting raw materials is struggling with China, which is a big hand, at the expense of the loss. Canada also launched sanctions against China last year over Hong Kong and Huawei issues. This tight solidarity contrasts with Germany and France, which are the same Western countries, but have reserved attitudes in matters involving China.
However, as the Anglosphere countries promised, they are in close contact with Japan. This is because it is a country that can establish a confrontation with China in Northeast Asia. It reminds me of the situation that Japan was already preparing for war with Russia 120 years ago when Britain was looking for a horse to keep Russia in check. Kim Han-kwon, a professor at the National Academy of Foreign Affairs, said, “The power that has been actively confronting China will also be a factor that gives the United States and the United Kingdom a sense of confidence in building anti-China front lines.”
US think tank “Six Eyes, including Japan, should be built”
The solidarity between them may first appear as an’information alliance’. This is because there are voices saying that Japan should be involved in’Five Eyes’.
Last December, the US Institute for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a report suggesting that it is time for Washington and Tokyo to make serious efforts to build’Six Eyes’ including Japan. The so-called’Fifth Armitage-Age Report’ was prepared by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage (Bush Administration) and renowned international politician Joseph Nai, Chair Professor at Harvard University. The last four Armitage-Ai reports are evaluated for contributing to the strengthening of the US-Japan alliance. CSIS also released the report, commenting the editors, “The Solution: Japan is ready to become an official member of Five Eyes.
In a way, it is an atmosphere that cannot rule out the possibility of Japan officially participating in an Anglo-Saxon-based national gathering, which can be viewed as a’kinship alliance’. Even if Six Eyes is not officially formulated, the fact that these stories come out reflects the recent atmosphere in the region. The Global Times, a Chinese state-run media, also predicted that “Japan is strong in wanting to join Five Eyes, but its weak ability is an obstacle.”
Even if they are not Six Eyes, there are many ways they can combine. The’Quad’ launched by the United States (the four nations of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia) is a representative topic. While Japan is in fact serving as the quad’s secretariat, the UK is also interested in participating in the quad. In addition, the UK is also proposing a D10 (democratic 10 countries) consultative body that adds Korea, Australia and India to the G7 (US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan).
The second great game, a chance to’rearm’ in Japan?
In the early 20th century, Japan was able to quickly join the ranks of great powers thanks to all-round British support. Britain played the’Great Game’ over Russian and Eurasian supremacy throughout the 19th century. With numerous colonial officials and the lack of resources to control the southward Russia due to the Boer War, Britain struck Russia with Japan as a partner in Northeast Asia. In this process, Japan is advancing on the path of an empire, such as strengthening its military power and colonizing Joseon.
There are many observations that the 21st century Anglosphere-Japan’s close contact with China to keep China in check could give Japan the justification for re-arrangement. After the Pacific War, Japan, which became a country that could not be warned, has been making every effort to become a’ordinary country’. Sheila Smith, a senior researcher at the American Diplomatic Association, in his book “Rearmment of Japan,” gave the prospect that “the rise of China” and “weakening the role of the US police state” would lead to the birth of Japan, which is powerful not only economically but also militaryly.
Last month, according to CNN, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces performed a total of 25 missions last year to defend US ships and aircraft. This is a whopping 78% increase from the previous year (No. 14). In response, CNN commented, “There is an increasing movement in unity between the two most powerful armies in Asia.”
On the 4th, the US State Department said, “The US-Japan alliance is stronger than ever.” According to Japan’s NHK, the talks seem to have also discussed holding the 2+2 talks, which are diplomatic and defense ministers’ talks between the United States and Japan.
US Secretary of State Tony Blincoln and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to visit Japan on the 15th. During their visit to Japan, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi met at the same time to discuss issues in the Indo-Pacific region. It is also expected to visit Korea.
Blincoln, who referred to the Chinese check as “the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century,” in his first State Department speech, seems to be conceiving a’Great Game’, perhaps like Britain 120 years ago. It is noteworthy what role he will request from Japan and Korea in’The Second Great Game’.
Reporter Jeong Eun-hye [email protected]