SOUTH CHINA SEA TENSIONS ESCALATED AFTER INDIA AND JAPAN MADE A JOINT VOW TO ENSURE BEIJING’S TIGHTENING GRIP ON THE MOST COVETED WATERS IN THE WORLD DOES NOT SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL, AND INTO CONFLICT.
SOUTH CHINA SEA: MILITARY EXERCISES ‘MUST CONTINUE’ SAYS EXPERT
India and Japan’s defence ministers, Rajnath Singh and Nobuo Kishi respectively, issued a warning shot to China that it would “continue exchanging views” on the ongoing situation over the disputed region. Their promise will no doubt concern Beijing, which recently saw the US pass a bill to spend $18.5bn (£13.5bn) on its Pacific Deterrence Initiative to boost its military presence in the South China Sea. With most neighbouring South China Sea nations opposed to Beijing’s claim of sovereignty in the waters, fears of war have been sparked.
And China’s opposition further cemented India and Japan’s vision to collaborate and ensure all countries are given the appropriate rights in the South China Sea.
In a statement from the Japanese Ministry of Defence, Mr Singh and Mr Kishi said the two nations wanted to send “a clear message that they strongly oppose any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by coercion or any activities that escalate tension”.
It also claimed the two ministers “shared the view on highlighting the importance of a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law”.
The pair, who met in December for negotiations, discussed the success of the recently signed Japan-India ASCA, a pact described by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as “establishes a framework such as the settlement procedures for the reciprocal provision of supplies and services between the Self-Defence Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces”.