SPEAKING in Japan alongside Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera on Saturday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel pledged the US’ ‘complete and absolute commitment to the security of Japan’. As proof, the US is to send two ballistic missile defence destroyers to the Sea of Japan.
These are to join the five US warships already stationed there.
In February, Hagel announced the expansion of US missile defence capabilities in Asia, with an additional radar planned in Japan that could track any missile launched from North Korea.
This measure built on Obama’s declaration that the Asia Pacific Region was the main theatre of operations for the US armed forces. Hagel commented on China’s territorial disputes with other East Asian nations, over a number of small uninhabited islands, and tried to draw a parallel with Russia’s actions Crimea, which is heavily populated and has rejoined Russia.
Relations between China and Japan are currently under huge strain over a territorial row involving islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China.
However, the really big issue is Taiwan. It is the last part of China to remain under the control of the imperialist powers after the Kuomintang were driven off the mainland in 1949 when the Chinese People’s Republic was declared by Mao. It is very heavily populated. Hagel is really telling China, don’t even dare to think about following the Crimean example in what was Formosa.
China is also involved in other disputes over small islands in the South China Sea, a region in which the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan all have claims. Despite the US slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese in the last decade of the Vietnamese war of liberation, the US is trying to depict itself as the champion of Vietnam and other ‘small nations’ against the Chinese ‘colossus’.
Hagel said of the fears of the imperalists after the loss of the Crimea to Russia: ‘I think we’re seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today with what the Russians have done with Ukraine.
‘We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand. You cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation, whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.’
Clearly, only the USA is allowed to have such perspectives. However, the Russian and Chinese leaderships do not propose to use military means to swallow up any nation, against its will, and force it into unity.
Hagel is now due in China where he intends to deliver this lecture face to face. In Japan, he admitted that China was now a ‘great power’, adding: ‘With this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how you employ that military power.’
He continued that he will talk to the Chinese about having respect for their neighbours, and said: ‘Coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict. All nations, all people deserve respect, no matter how large or how small.’ Again, the US is not renowned for carrying out this policy.
The announcement of the deployments of additional destroyers to Japan came as tensions with North Korea rose again as Pyongyang prepared for more missile tests in the face of US manoeuvres in South Korea.
Standing alongside Japan’s Defence Minister Onodera at the defence ministry, Hagel said they had discussed the threat posed by Pyongyang.
On Friday, North Korea accused the US of being ‘hell-bent on regime change’ and warned that any manoeuvres with that intention will be viewed as a ‘red line’ that will result in countermeasures.
Hagel is on a 10-day trip across the Asia Pacific, and has just spent three days in Hawaii speaking to Asian leaders before visiting Japan. Now he is off to China to try to lay down the law to the Chinese.
In fact, China has every right to seek to reunify China by taking back Taiwan, while North Korea has every right to fight for the reunification of the Korean people and peninsula.
The working people of the world must support China and North Korea in this anti-imperialist struggle.