Starting today (14), the U.S., Japan, France and Australia conducted their first joint maritime exercises in the East China Sea, which Japanese media and scholars see as a response to the increasingly aggressive hegemony of the Chinese Communist Party. Japan’s defense minister said he is further deepening defense cooperation ties with allies that share a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Recently, the Chinese Communist Party has stepped up its activities near the Japanese-controlled Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands, and recently passed the Maritime Police Law, which gives the Communist Party’s maritime police the power to use weapons, causing a high degree of alarm among neighboring countries.
Four countries Indo-Pacific joint military exercises
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) released images of the “ARC21”, an outlying island defense training exercise involving the U.S., Japanese, French, Australian and other navies, showing warships from multiple countries sailing in formation in the East China Sea.
The images show that the Japanese helicopter frigate “Ise” as the center of the naval forces of various countries are sailing in formation, there are also U.S. “fish eagle” transport aircraft flying overhead.
Radio Free Asia reports that the Japanese Army Self-Defense Force has also started military training with the French Army and U.S. Marines in Kirishima, which straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, since the 14th.
The exercise, code-named “ARC21”, will last for a week, including air, land and sea, and will be carried out at the Sagura site in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, and at the Kirishima exercise site, which straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures.
Previously, the U.S., Japan and France in Japan’s mainland Kyushu for the first time on land outlying island defense training military exercises have begun on the 11th, will continue until the 17th.
Scholars: Deterring the increasingly aggressive Chinese Communist Party
The move sends a clear signal to the Chinese Communist Party. Kyodo News reported that the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s move to release images of the East China Sea formation sailing is aimed at demonstrating the unity of the countries and “strongly deterring China (CCP), which is in tension over the Senkaku Islands (known as Diaoyu Islands in China) and the situation in Taiwan.
Takashi Kawakami, a professor at Japan’s Takushoku University, said, “There is no doubt that this military exercise is a deterrent to China’s (CCP) increasingly aggressive behavior in the region.”
First-ever participation by the French Army
The United States and Japan have been partners in joint military exercises for decades, but for the first time, the French Army has offered to participate in the Japanese exercise. Japan and the U.S. also adjusted the schedule to coincide with the French Army’s training fleet, the Jeanne d’Arc, calling on Japan.
France’s sudden participation in Japan’s military exercises, without a treaty with Japan, is an unprecedented military move for the Chinese Communist Party. France “is the only European country with a permanent military presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Paris sees the Indian and Pacific Oceans as a contiguous economic zone, from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to French Polynesia around the South Pacific, all of which is French sovereign territory. If the Chinese Communist Party moves across the East and South China Seas into the Pacific, it will next affect French overseas possessions.
Pierre Vandier, chief of staff of the French Navy, said, “This is to show our presence in the region and to send a message to China [the Chinese Communist Party] about Franco-Japanese cooperation.”
Japan’s defense minister: further deepen defense cooperation ties
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said, “The Maritime Self-Defense Force will join the French, U.S. and Australian navies from May 11 to May 17, and ships and aircraft from the four countries will conduct ship-to-ship drills in the East China Sea. In addition, the Air Self-Defense Force’s F2 fighter jets will also participate in the air defense exercise.”
Nobuo Kishi said the objective of the land and naval landing training, alley warfare training, and air defense and anti-submarine warfare training is to improve tactical skills related to island defense, etc., and to further deepen defense cooperation ties with allies that share the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
He believes that the Indo-Pacific strategy is an inclusive framework for cooperation among countries, and that the inclusion of European countries can bring peace and stability to the region.