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Okinawa serves not only as the frontline defense of Japan, but as the hub of American power projection into Southeast Asia. Hostile control of Taiwan would geographically sever the primary base of U. Asian states that have sought closer security ties with the United States, including Indonesia and Vietnam, might reconsider their strategic choices should Taiwan move from being a facilitator to an obstacle to U.

U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress

The freedom of maneuver that U. In short, the operation of the U. Given the centrality of East Asia to global growth, the consequences for the world economy would be crippling. Assuming that China remains controlled by an authoritarian, aggressive regime, Chinese control of Taiwan would enable it to sever the sea lanes that connect Japan to its closest ally on the opposite end of the Pacific Ocean.

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It would also seriously complicate an emergent Indian-Japanese axis of security, investment, and trade that has developed on the basis of free passage through the international waters linking the two Asian powers. Japanese leaders of varying political persuasions have also discovered a consistency in Chinese assertiveness toward both Japan and Taiwan that has consistently diminished Japanese security. Hence Japan and Taiwan are linked in another way: Just as Chinese leaders derive legitimacy from their claims on Taiwan, so they also derive legitimacy by fueling controlled anti-Japanese nationalism amongst the Chinese public.

And just as Japan has beefed up its role and capabilities within the U.

This could include trilateral U. It could also include enhanced intelligence-sharing in the realms of naval, air, and cyber defense in particular. Elements of missile defense, integrated air defense, and early-warning cooperation between the United States and Japan could be quietly extended to include Taiwan, and officer exchanges among the three countries could be expanded. It would be natural for Japan and the United States to assist Taiwan in upgrading its anti-submarine warfare capabilities, and to cooperate on integrated undersea surveillance.

In the fraught debate over the relocation of American forces in Japan, Japanese leaders might elevate considerations related to Taiwan contingencies as they assess the pace and scale of plans to realign the U. Such judgments should relate not only to operational support for U. Tokyo has a compelling interest in shoring up an eroding balance of power across the Taiwan Strait and can no longer outsource this role to the United States given the magnitude of Chinese military modernization and the geographic realities that put Japan on the front line of any conflict between Taiwan and the mainland.

They should consider elevating Tokyo within their councils alongside the current superpower and its rising challenger. Japan will never play the same kind of pivotal role as these states in the international system. Moreover, structural pressures will continue to push Tokyo to move beyond its historically passive role within the U. Moreover, the political debate in Taiwan pitting dpp leaders favoring closer relations with Japan against kmt leaders who privilege outreach to Beijing somewhat misses the point.

Kuomintang leaders have suggested that closer strategic ties with Japan could undercut Taiwanese outreach to the mainland, and therefore that collaboration with Tokyo should be rolled back so as not to displease leaders in Beijing. Given that China appears more inclined to cooperate internationally in the face of strength rather than weakness, the opposite would seem to be the case. One way for Taipei to give itself leverage to engage on more favorable terms with Beijing in ways that sustain peace and deterrence across the Taiwan Strait is by deepening military ties with Japan as that country itself works to maintain its distance from Beijing, sustaining its strategic freedom of maneuver by diversifying security partnerships across Asia.

American leaders of varying political persuasions have understood clearly that strong and stable relations with Beijing are facilitated by a robust U. Taiwan comes nowhere near to approaching the weight of the United States in the international system.

The dynamics of US-China-Southeast Asia relations — United States Studies Centre

Vietnam, for instance, shares a land border with China as well as a history of both deferral and resistance to Chinese suzerainty. Yet Vietnam is working diligently to build closer ties with the United States and India in particular, in the belief that more intimate military and diplomatic relations with key regional players will allow it to engage Beijing without fear of Finlandization. Taiwanese leaders might draw the conclusion that closer diplomatic and military relations with Japan could serve a similar purpose without upending relations with the mainland.

D uring the cold War, the United States favored a hub-and-spokes alliance model in Asia. For nearly half a century, Washington did not seek to multilateralize this arrangement by knitting allies together into a region-wide security club — unlike in Europe, where military ties with key powers were embedded within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nato.

The Rise of China and East Asia: A New Regional Order on the Horizon?

Operationally, Washington has also found quadrilateral groupings to be useful — delivering relief to Indonesia with the Indian, Japanese, and Australian navies following the December tsunami, for instance, or conducting joint exercises with Japan, India, and Australia in the Quadrilateral Partnership arrangement in Washington has also encouraged regional partners to institutionalize security cooperation with each other even when it excludes the United States — on the principle that stronger ties between allies complement their relations with America.

In short, unlike during the Cold War, when it actively discouraged allies from developing independent relationships with each other, Washington now understands that developing new networks of security providers in Asia could make a critical contribution to the provision of regional public goods as American primacy becomes contested. Taiwan is an exceptional case given the unique nature of its identity and historical conflict with mainland China, as well as U.

Nonetheless, the same point applies from an American perspective: to the extent that Taiwan has a wider set of friends and allies that assuage Taiwanese insecurities and offset its isolation, it is easier for Washington to pursue constructive relations with Taipei. From an American perspective, the cross-Strait balance looks sturdier when Taiwan is strengthening relations with Japan and other important powers than when Taiwan is isolated, withdrawn, and unduly dependent on the United States.

The U. Pulling Japan out of its U. China is less likely to rise peacefully in a region of weak states that create a vacuum of power around the mainland and tempt it into external adventurism.

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Such a scenario would empower the camp of militant nationalists in Beijing at the expense of leaders who would pursue more cooperative relations with neighbors. Japan succumbed to the latter temptation in the s — largely because China was so weak. Log in using your social network account. Please enter a valid password. Keep me logged in. Want an ad-free experience? Subscribe to Independent Premium. View offers. Download the new Indpendent Premium app Sharing the full story, not just the headlines Download now.

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Shape Created with Sketch. World news in pictures Show all Vietnam's Pham Hong Anh in action during her single dance final. A woman holds a coloured flag at the Botswana Pride Parade in Gaborone. The parade is the first one organised in Botswana, after the Court ruled on June 11 in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, which had been punishable by a jail term of up to seven years. A child holds a placard during a 'drop dead' flashmob protest against climate change consequences at Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand. Hong Kong is in its sixth month of mass protests, which were originally triggered by a now withdrawn extradition bill, and have since turned into a wider pro-democracy movement.

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Indian paramilitary soldiers detain a Congress party supporter during a protest against the withdrawal of Special Protection Group SPG cover to party president Sonia Gandhi, her children and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delh. The move to lift off the SPG security, an elite force that protects prime ministers and their immediate families, led to sharp reactions from the Congress, which accused the government of personal vendetta. An image taken from a plane window shows Sydney shrouded in smoke from nearby bush fires. Protesters run for cover after riot police fired tear gas towards the bridge they were climbing down to the road below, to escape from Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Dozens escaped the besieged campus by lowering themselves on a rope from a footbridge to a highway. Once on the road they were seen being picked up by waiting motorcyclists. Anti-government protesters draped in Iraqi national flags walk into clouds of smoke from burning tires during a demonstration in the southern city of Basra, Iraq.

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According to local reports, 26 deaths have been reported out of a total of 10, confirmed cases of dengue infection. Dengue fever is reportedly caused by a specific type of mosquito, the Aedes mosquito, that bites only during daytime, especially during sunrise and sunset. An anti-government protester flashes the V-sign for victory in front of burning tyres used to block a main road at the entrance of Tripoli.


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The previous night, street protests erupted across Lebanon after President Michel Aoun defended the role of his allies, the Shiite movement Hezbollah, in Lebanon's government, cutting off several major roads. In his televised address, Aoun proposed a government that includes both technocrats and politicians. An Israeli missile launching from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells.


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They were sent up to intercept rockets launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip. Israel's military killed a commander for Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a strike on his home, prompting retaliatory rocket fire and fears of a severe escalation in violence. A species of deer thought to be extinct, the chevrotain, has been spotted for the first time in 30 years in the wilds of Vietnam.

The deer is around the size of a domestic cat. The royal motorcade of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, under tight security, passes through a street in Tokyo. Thousands of people gathered for the rare open-top car parade featuring the newly enthroned Emperor. Flames from an out of control bushfire from a nearby residential area in Harrington, northeast of Sydney. Australian firefighters warned they were in "uncharted territory" as they struggled to contain dozens of out-of-control bushfires across the east of the country.

Demonstrators shine lasers during a protest against Chile's government in Santiago, the capital. Activists from India's main opposition Congress party shout slogans as they are stopped by police during a protest against what the activists say is economic slowdown in the country, in Guwahati, India. Smoke rises from a fire in downtown Lagos, Nigeria. Firefighters worked hard to try and extinguish a fire at the Balogun market. Thick black smoke and flames shot from the five-story buildings as fire trucks attempted to get access.

Women run down a sand dune as they take part in the desert trek "Rose Trip Maroc" in the erg Chebbi near Merzouga.