With Washington officially backing up Japan’s pursuit of a collective self-defense, a significant change is expected to be come up in the security environment of Northeast Asia. The joint announcement that was made at the Security Consultative Committee in Tokyo on September 3 is predicted to shake the post-war regime in the region, which has continued since the end of WWII, to its root.
The US government has expressed its opinion that Japan needs to be guaranteed with a collective self-defense for a stronger alliance in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, it has been concerned over some misunderstanding on the part of South Korea and potential conflicts with China.
Reasons for the pursuit of a stronger US-Japan alliance despite opposition from Beijing and Seoul include the ongoing financial difficulties of the US and its need to keep China in check. In other words, the Barack Obama administration is trying to cope with the weakening role of the US Armed Forces in Northeast Asia by means of its military alliance with Japan.
At present, the general consensus is that the joint announcement is capable of neutralizing the Peace Constitution of Japan that was enacted after WWII. Under the circumstances, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to accelerate his change in the interpretation of the Peace Constitution for the collective self-defense, which has faced some severe opposition even in his own country.
Earlier than that, senior US Senator John McCain said on August 26 at a press conference in Seoul, “We need to realize that things are now different from when the Peace Constitution was enacted in the past.” The remark was criticized here as a support for Japan’s attempts to revise the Peace Constitution.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said on October 6 that the agreement between Washington and Tokyo to amend the guideline for their defense cooperation could make neighboring countries nervous. The Xinhua News Agency also announced that a closer military cooperation between the US and Japan will put their alliance in danger in the end.
The Korean government has made no official comment about the announcement on the excuse that the details including the scope of activities of the Japanese Self-defense Forces have yet to be made public. This is definitely something unfortunate for Korea in that it is in no position to raise its voice in the field of international politics where critical interests are conflicting.
The Park Geun-hye administration needs to gather wisdom and diplomatic capabilities to set up new diplomatic, economic and military strategies in today’s international political dynamics taking a new shape at a rapid pace in the North East.