China fears AUKUS becoming JAUKUS

10 mins

Japan and the UK reportedly plan to sign a defence pact this month to boost collaboration wi...

Mane Defence Team

By Mane Defence Team

Japan and the UK reportedly plan to sign a defence pact this month to boost collaboration with the US on the "Indo-Pacific Strategy" against China. Chinese observers fear this could be a first step towards adding Japan to the Australia-UK-US security pact AUKUS.

While NATO is realistically unlikely to expand eastwards to China, forming a larger military alliance around China based on AUKUS would align with the US’s needs.

The UK and Japan are planning to sign a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), according to anonymous sources quoted in the Financial Times.

Japanese media outlet NHK reported that Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and British PM Rishi Sunak agreed in a phone call to push forward work to sign the RAA, which would set ground rules for joint exercises between the Japanese and British military and cut red tape around troop movements between the two countries.

Japan has already signed a similar deal with Australia, forging deeper defensive alliances in preparation for a possible “Taiwan emergency," said the FT. China’s take on the move was that Japan and Australia were acting as pawns of the US and threatening regional peace and security.

With the US seemingly wanting the UK to act as its agent in Europe and Japan to play a similar role in the Asia-Pacific region, it appears to be pushing the two countries into closer military cooperation, which could pave the way for Japan to join AUKUS, according to Chinese military expert Song Zhongping.

However, Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, dismissed the pact as "loud thunder and little rain," with little real collaboration possible between two nations that are so far apart.

Top White House officials visited London in April for talks about the role of the UK in any potential conflict over Taiwan. Final agreement on this and collaboration on fighter jets will depend on the UK political situation, according to the FT’s sources.

Meanwhile, Japan is separately considering a similar pact with the Philippines, which would be much more impactful, according to ex-Pentagon official Christopher Johnstone.

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