Japan deploys carrier to Indo-Pacifica as China tensions rise
Japan will deploy its helicopter-carrying destroyer Izumo in the Indo-Pacific from June 13 as part of a self-defence exercise to counter China’s rising regional assertiveness. Izumo is currently being upgraded as a de-facto aircraft carrier.
The Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) deployment – which also includes the destroyers Takanami and Kirisame, a submarine, and a P-1 maritime patrol aircraft – will run through October 28.
The fleet will make port calls at 12 countries and regions, including Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu in the South Pacific, as well as fellow Quad members the United States, India and Australia. This will be the first port of call in Vanuatu by MSDF units.
The deployment is part of Tokyo’s efforts to deter China’s attempts to expand its influence in the region.
Beijing last week signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands, in what is seen as a bid to vie with Washington for hegemony in the region. Japan, the United States, and Australia are among countries that have become increasingly wary of China’s moves.
Japan is seeking to promote trust with countries in the Indo-Pacific through joint exercises.
“It’s extremely unusual for MSDF vessels to tour intensively around Pacific-island nations,” a senior Japanese Defence Ministry official said.
A foreign affairs team in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party held its first meeting on Pacific-island nations on Wednesday. The team plans to compile a proposal this autumn, calling for the government to expand security cooperation with these island nations.
The Japan News
Asia News Network
Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).