Over the past week even as USA stepped up its engagement with China, the Biden administration and its key partners in the Indo-Pacific region-initiated measures to counter China’s military ambitions. India and the US at their 2 + 2 Ministerial explored new ways to expand their strategic partnership to safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of the challenge from an assertive China. Indonesia and the United States are set to deepen their bilateral relationship across several fronts during President Jokowi’s visit to Washington this week. Tokyo committed to strengthening its security relationship with the Philippines during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent Manila visit. This included the first-ever transfer of defense aid under Japan’s new Official Security Assistance framework. The Philippines’ coast guard said it would maintain its regular supply missions to troops stationed on a disputed atoll in the South China Sea even though it expects more Chinese vessels to be sent to the area. Meanwhile, Japan’s State Minister of Finance Kenji Kanda has submitted his resignation further weakening Kishida’s position. China & Iran are coordinating closely to deescalate war in Gaza.
Hindustan Times | 10th November 2023
India and the US on Friday (November 10) explored new ways to expand their strategic partnership to safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of the challenge from an assertive China, even as the two sides unveiled plans to jointly develop and manufacture an armoured infantry vehicle. The fifth annual 2+2 ministerial dialogue, co-chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar and their American counterparts Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken, encompassed issues ranging from the defence industry partnership to counter-terrorism and cutting-edge technologies in sectors such as semiconductors and critical minerals.
South China Morning Post | 13th November 2023
With the Indo-Pacific becoming a hotbed of contention, recent events have raised the possibility of a flashpoint developing into a military conflict between the US and China. The collisions between Chinese and Filipino vessels over the past weeks are of particular concern as America and the Philippines have a Mutual Defence Treaty that mandates the US to take military action to defend a Philippines under attack. But this is not the only area with potential for escalation. There have also been many examples of US and Chinese military aircraft in close and dangerous proximity. However, in the past few months, there has been a dramatic increase in high-level diplomatic dialogue between the two sides.
The Strait Times | 13th November 2023
Indonesia and the United States are set to deepen their bilateral relationship across several fronts when US President Joe Biden hosts his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo at a bilateral meeting at the White House on Monday (November 12) afternoon, senior administration officials told reporters on Sunday (November 13). “We’ll be taking our partnership to a truly new level, announcing a comprehensive strategic partnership… in many ways to build upon our deep engagement in South-east Asia and the fact that we’re doing new and consequential things with many of that region’s leaders,” said one of the two officials who briefed the media.
USNI News | 9th November 2023
Tokyo committed to strengthening its security relationship with the Philippines during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent Manila visit. While in Manila, Kishida inked several agreements with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., including the first-ever transfer of defense aid under Japan’s new Official Security Assistance (OSA) framework. This aid program aims to transfer non-lethal equipment, such as patrol boats and radar systems, to the armed forces of “like-minded countries.” Through the first OSA program, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will receive $4 million worth of coastal surveillance radars for the Philippine Navy, unlike previous Japanese assistance that gave radars to the Philippine Coast Guard.
Reuters | 11th November 2023
The Philippines’ coast guard said on Saturday (Nov 11) it would maintain its regular supply missions to troops stationed on a disputed atoll in the South China Sea even though it expects more Chinese vessels to be sent to the area. The Philippines regularly sends supplies to a handful of troops living aboard an aging warship that was deliberately run aground on the Second Thomas Shoal in 1999 to assert Manila’s sovereignty claims over the atoll.
Japan Times | 13th November 2023
Japan’s State Minister of Finance Kenji Kanda submitted his resignation Monday (Nov 13) after admitting last week that his firm had failed to pay fixed asset taxes on its land and property. Both were seized by tax authorities on four occasions between 2013 and last year after his company fell into arrears. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida apologized Monday (November 13) evening for appointing a deputy minister who had to resign soon after taking office in September.
South China Morning Post | 13th November 2023
China’s head of West Asian and North African affairs visited Iran over the weekend in a bid to boost ties and discuss the Israel-Gaza war. Tehran said it hoped to “strengthen communication and coordination” with China to de-escalate the war in Gaza as Wang Di, director general for the region at the Chinese foreign ministry, met Iranian diplomatic officials on Saturday, according to the ministry. It was the first visit by a Beijing official to the country since the war began last month. Wang reiterated Beijing’s stance on the war, saying there was an “urgent need for ceasefire” as the conflict had caused “large-scale civilian casualties”.