USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier
By Wang Xuelin and Liu Kehan
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius recently announced that the country will send two warships to the Asia-Pacific region from 2024. Analysts pointed out that for a country that had been less concerned about extraterritorial affairs, its shift in attitude and involvement in Asia-Pacific affairs are largely to cater to the so-called "Indo-Pacific strategy" of the US. Lately, the US has been creating and hyping up regional tensions by peddling the so-called "Indo-Pacific strategy" to its allies and wooing them to conduct joint exercises and accelerate bloc confrontation. Such moves will not only undermine the stability and peaceful development of this region, but might also trigger a regional arms race.
At the first military staff talks between NATO and the ROK in February of 2023, Germany proposed to strengthen sharing of the defense building achievements with the ROK and other partners. It also planned to promote the conclusion of the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) and Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) with Japan under the framework of NATO, in tandem with institutionalizing and normalizing defense activities such as joint fighter training. Germany's re-announcement of its warship deployment plan this time signifies that it will be deeply involved in Asia-Pacific affairs in the future.
Under the instigation of the US, many NATO countries have intervened in the Asia-Pacific region. The UK, Italy, Romania and other countries proclaimed to dispatch troops, ships and aircraft to visit Japan and the ROK under the defense cooperation framework. The UK also plans to pre-stock ammunition and fuels in Australia within the framework of the AUKUS. These will undoubtedly intensify the complex situation of this region.
The US has made every effort to propel the so-called Indo-Pacific version of NATO and other strategies, with the purpose of maintaining the hegemonic system under its dominance and consolidating the allies camp. Meanwhile, the US vigorously inveigles its regional allies to alternately launch a series of large-scale military exercises in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas, as an important means of stirring up the situation in these regions.
In early June, the navies of the US, Japan, Australia and Canada held a joint exercise called "NOBLE WOLF" between the Philippine Sea and the waters southwest of Japan, which kicked off the Large-scale Global Exercise 23 (LSGE 23) organized by the US Navy this year. It is reported that the US and its allies will also hold more than 10 exercises including the "Pacific Crown" under the framework of LSGE 23. In addition to the navies of Japan, Australia and Canada, France, New Zealand, the UK and the Netherlands also plan to dispatch troops to participate.
Coincidentally, the US and its allies are also stepping up land training. From May 25 to June 15, the US and ROK held large live-fire drills at Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon of ROK, with the exercise length and force deployment scale recorded as the highest in history. The US and Japan also held the "Resilient Shield" exercise mainly focusing on air defense and anti-missile operations. During the exercise, the two countries had decided on the setting of such events for the next five years, which were expanded to integrated and routine military exercises covering anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, cyber warfare and other subjects, with NATO and its regional allies involved. In addition, the Philippine Coast Guard held a joint maritime exercise with its US and Japanese counterparts off the waters near Bataan from June 1 to June 7, which was the first of its kind among the three maritime law enforcement agencies.
While pushing its allies to hold frequent joint military exercises, the US also seeks to increase its military presence in the Asia-Pacific for the hegemonic purpose. Both the "Ronald Reagan" and "Nimitz" carrier strike groups of the US Navy are gathered in the Philippine Sea at present. The US Air Force temporarily stationed E-4B and E-6 Airborne Command Post in Singapore and Guam in the name of joint training and special support, while sending more F-22 and F-35 fighter jets to Japan by employing the opportunity of fighter jet replacement. Data shows that at least 110 F-22 and F-35 fighter jets are hoarded in this area by the US, Japan and the ROK.
Analysts pointed out that the US draws its NATO allies into the Asia-Pacific on the one hand, and reinforces the military alliance with Japan and the ROK on the other hand, coercing regional countries to take sides in various excuses and sparing no effort to build a small clique in this region. Such acts of sowing discord and division only for the sake of its own hegemonic goal and private interests will seriously undermine the security, stability and prosperous development of the Asia-Pacific region.