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Australian, Russian Professors Warn New Japan-Australia Defense Pact Brings the Region Closer to War

Aug. 13, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) was signed in January 2022 in order to strengthen “deterrence” against China, according to a document released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense, “DEFENSE of JAPAN 2023.” The RAA went into effect on Aug. 13, 2023.

The defense document has an introduction by Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu, who writes:

“China is rapidly enhancing its military capability qualitatively and quantitatively, including nuclear and missile forces, while continuing and amplifying its unilateral changes to the status quo by force and such attempts in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.... China’s current external stance, military activities, and other activities have become a matter of serious concern for Japan and the international community, and present an unprecedented and the greatest strategic challenge.”

Professor Joseph Siracusa, at Curtin University in Perth, Australia told Sputnik Sunday, Aug. 13:

“The agreement looks forward to deepening defense cooperation, intelligence sharing, economic security cooperation, climate and energy security. But it’s not designed to replace the Japanese-American mutual military alliance or the Australian ‘ANZUS’ treaty—this sort of supplementary—they call them here ‘minilateralisms’—but it is just bilateral agreements that reinforce the deepening ties....”

“What America is trying to do is get everybody in this part of the world to choose between Beijing and Washington,” said Siracusa. “When it comes to Tokyo and Canberra there’s no discussion. There’s going to be no discussion. If there were a war Monday morning, [they’d] both be in—that’s the end of the discussion....

“It’s literally a devolution of sovereignty to a doctrine or some other place. You know, Australia is literally one step away from joining NATO. They could become a member of NATO tomorrow, but God knows what NATO’s doing in this part of the world. It suggests profound changes,”

concluded Siracusa.

Professor Siracusa is the Dean of Global Futures at Curtin University, and a political commentator. Some of his recent postings include,

“Biden ‘Never Even Tried’ To Prevent the Most Avoidable War in History”; “Existential Threat Posed to our lives by Nuclear Weapons Is as Real Now as It Was When Oppenheimer Built the Bomb,” and “Joe Biden Is Making a ‘Deadly Mistake’ by Shrugging Off Putin’s Threat To Break the Nuclear Stalemate That Has Prevailed Since Hiroshima.”

His warnings were echoed by Igor Istomin, lead research fellow at the Center for Advanced American Studies, at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO):

“Historically, the United States has built its policy in the region on the basis of the so-called wheel and spoke concept. It meant that the United States was a center around which bilateral alliances were built: a separate alliance with Japan, a separate alliance with South Korea, a separate alliance with Australia and New Zealand, and a number of others.”

Istomin also remarked,

“And now it is clear that as China rises, the U.S. does not have enough resources and therefore it is encouraging the development of ties between these ‘spokes’ in the wheel. These countries also understand that the United States will not be able to help them all and not to the extent they would like in the event of a conflict, so they build these agreements,”

Sputnik reported,

“Meanwhile, Japan and Australia have become the front-runners of the U.S.-centric network in the Asia-Pacific, according to Istomin. He has drawn attention to the fact that over the recent years Tokyo and Canberra have concluded a plethora of agreements in the economic sphere—including a trilateral format with the United States, as a way to counter and block Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative—as well as cooperation treaties in the field of infrastructure. In particular, Japan and Australia declared programs for third countries in order to engage them into their fold. According to Istomin, all these would be supplemented by military-technical cooperation.”

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