- As two mountains of steel made their way to the Asia-Pacific waters, they made waves to foreign shores. Having been deployed underwater for three months before making scheduled calls, the two of the US Navy’s cruise missile submarines, the USS Michigan and the USS North Carolina, are serving as a peacemaking force in the disputed waters in the East China Sea, South China Sea and the Philippine Sea.According to the London-based Jane’s Defence Review, the United States plans to move up to 60% of its naval power to the Far East in 6 years to maintain the regional power of balance as China is set for expand its maritime power in the region.
Security in the Asia-Pacific became the focus of global concern, particularly following the increasing tension between China and some of its neighbors like Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and India. Given territorial disputes have spiked across the region and China is viewed as partially menacing its neighbors. The United States has announced a pivot to Asia, but defense budget cuts and challenges elsewhere in the world like ISIS may undermine Barack Obama’s promises to the US’s allies.
Paralleled with the shift in the US’s foreign policies, Japan’s prime minister Shinzō Abe is looking to expand the role that his country’s military plays in ensuring regional peace. The retired admiral Kaneda Hideaki called on both the U.S.A. and Japan to create a mechanism to take in Taiwan as they discuss the revision of Japan-US Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
This event is drumming up for support to check the burgeoning Chinese hegemony, but also for the negotiation on trade pacts across Taiwan Strait. The disparity is also reflected in social attitudes and the ambivalent feelings held by many Taiwanese. Various opinion polls indicate that people here welcome the business opportunities fostered by the ties with China, but also fear a string tag of political and cultural assimilation.
I hope that we can find an answer from the impending Scottish independence referendum.
Photo Credits: U.S. navy and Reuters