Without exaggeration, tectonic changes are taking place in the Far East: Against the backdrop of the confrontation of North Korea with Japan, Japan with China, China with the USA, the United States and Russia, new surprising alliances are emerging. Each of the players in the region has its own goals, and recently Beijing and Tokyo have been the most active: they frantically search for allies in the coming battle with each other. Russia in this conflict was between two fires - both China and Japan would like to enlist its support, and they are trying to attract Moscow to their side.
The second life of Japanese militarism
Against the background of the diplomatic revolution in the Far East, the recent speech by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks significant. A senior official of the Land of the Rising Sun stated the need to oppose Chinese expansion in the Pacific. According to Shinzo Abe, Japan is ready to support any state that shares the same principle. The Prime Minister believes that Russia can also be such a country.
Abe is known in his homeland as a militarist, lover of drastic measures. The Japanese ambiguously assess his role in domestic politics: in the first period of his reign, Shinzo Abe was forced to resign due to a series of corruption scandals and economic failures. After that, a ministerial leap-up began in the country, due to which the Liberal Democratic Party headed by Abe plunged into a long crisis and lost the trust of voters.
Replacing several leaders, the LDPYa was reborn. Moreover, Shinzo Abe played an important role in her recovery: oddly enough, but he, who plunged the party into the chaos of internecine confrontation, saved him with his charismatic behavior.
And the behavior of the Prime Minister deserves a separate comment. The fact is that Abe visits the Yasukuni temple and worships the souls of warriors who fought on the side of militarist Japan during the Second World War. This causes irritation both inside the Land of the Rising Sun and in neighboring Asian countries, where revisionism stories considered unacceptable. In China and South Korea, Shinzo Abe is perceived in the same way as Yarosh - in Russia: attempts to rewrite the past must be strictly stopped, especially when it comes to the rehabilitation of fascism.
Because of this, China painfully perceives the conflict with Japan. Attempts by Abe to militarize the country lead to the fact that in Beijing the confrontation with Tokyo is viewed as an echo of the Japanese-Chinese war of 1937-1945.
Shinzo Abe supports the revival of the militaristic spirit of Japan, not only in words but also in deeds. He is actively lobbying for military reform, which will allow the country's Self-Defense Forces to turn into a full-fledged army, ready to carry out tasks in any corner of the world. The Prime Minister has already ensured that the Self-Defense Forces have the authority to strike at the enemy’s external bases and come to the aid of the allies. If earlier Japan, in accordance with the constitution, had the right only to defend itself on its own territory, now the Japanese army is gradually transforming into offensive force.
And Japan has someone to fight beyond its borders. Tokyo officially supports Vietnam and the Philippines in their territorial disputes with China. We are talking about the separation of islands in the South China Sea, including the fate of the Spratly Islands. Japan provided the Philippines with its patrol vessels so that Manila could control the waters near the archipelago. Thus, with the support of Abin in the Far East, a new coalition is being created, directed against the Middle Kingdom.
True, Japan, in order to create an anti-Chinese military alliance, needs to reconcile sworn enemies, because the Philippines and Vietnam also compete with each other for the possession of the Spratly Islands. It is unclear how Japan will cut this Gordian knot, but it can be assumed that the Philippines will get the archipelago, and in return, Vietnam will gain control over part of the special economic zone disputed by China. This is evidenced, for example, by a sharp statement by Shinzo Abe, in which he spoke in favor of providing military assistance to Vietnam, since China recently began oil production in a disputed area of the sea.
Abe also said in an interview that the situation in the South China Sea is reminiscent of the tense atmosphere that prevailed in Europe on the eve of the First World War. The prime minister compared China with the German Empire, and Japan with Great Britain.
At the same time, the forces of the conflicting parties are quite comparable. Although the population of China is over 1,35 billion people, its army has predominantly obsolete models weapons. The population of Japan reaches 130 millions of people, but huge funds are invested in its Self-Defense Forces, and, moreover, Tokyo has absolute technological superiority over Beijing. Also, 92 million Vietnam, 96 million Philippines, 23 million Taiwan, 48 million Republic of Korea may join Japan’s war against China. However, even in the best case, the anti-Chinese group will be four times less than the population in China.
A "hot" conflict between Vietnam and China is already underway. The ships of both states collide bloodless on the border of territorial waters, while Chinese riots began in Vietnamese cities. China and Vietnam already fought in 1979, and then the Celestial Empire lost: her Tanks passed through enemy territory several tens of kilometers and got stuck in the jungle. The entire offensive potential of the PLA was leveled by a complex mountain landscape and dense vegetation. A month after the start of the war, Beijing realized that there was no point in continuing the conflict, and backtracked.
Taking into account the historical experience, it is safe to say that Vietnam has a chance to cope with the Chinese army if China does not use nuclear weapons. In addition, Japan, as assured by its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will not stand aside, and will help the enemy of his enemy. In addition, we should expect unofficial support from Washington, which will certainly take advantage of the war to weaken China, although it will not send its troops into the open.
The contours of the anti-Chinese coalition
In addition to Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and other states of the Far East, Japan wants to enlist the help of Russia. Although Shinzo Abe took a tough stance on the ownership of the Spratly Archipelago, he is not so categorical when it comes to the issue of the Kuril Islands. One might think that militarist Abe is ready for concessions, but this is not so: any government that refuses claims to the Kuril archipelago will automatically lose popularity in the eyes of voters and go to the dustbin of history. Therefore, concessions from the Prime Minister of Japan should not be expected, although he will certainly soften the dialogue with Moscow and, unlike his Western colleagues, will not impose restrictions on Russia.
Japan needs Russia in order to conduct a dialogue with China. Tokyo understands that it is impossible to draw Moscow to the side of the anti-Chinese alliance, but the Kremlin will at least help in maintaining a dialogue with Beijing. Russia can take advantage of this to promote its own interests in the Far East according to the principle “service for service”.
Russia's actions are beneficial to Japan. In Asia, it is necessary to preserve the balance of power based on a system of balances and checks. It is impossible for someone in the Far East to become stronger than their neighbors, be it China, Japan or the United States. Russia is already under strong pressure from the European direction; What will happen if the “second front” opens in the Asia-Pacific region? To ensure that the military-political consolidation of Asian countries did not take place, it is important that the conflict between them becomes endless, turning into a kind of cold war.