Russia, China set to counter US-led ‘Asia Pivot’ in the Pacific

The Russians unveiled their new doctrine last Sunday on board the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, and in the presence of President Vladimir Putin.

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:21 pm IST

Published - July 31, 2015 05:03 pm IST - BEIJING

Russia has released a new naval doctrine that singles out China as its core partner in the Pacific, signaling Moscow and Beijing’s push towards countering the Japan backed “Asia Pivot” of the United States.

The Russians unveiled their new doctrine last Sunday on board the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, and in the presence of President Vladimir Putin.

Regarding the Pacific, the amended naval doctrine, which will be valid till 2020, underscored that friendly ties with China in the Pacific were one of the cornerstones of Moscow’s new policy. "Cooperating with China and other countries in the region is a crucial part of carrying out the nation's maritime policy," Russia's maritime strategy stressed.

Moscow and Beijing appear to have responded strongly to Japan’s budding post-war doctrinal shift, which will allow Tokyo to deploy its armed forces overseas even without an imminent threat to Japanese

territory or citizens. Opponents say that the two security bills being debated in Parliament could draw Tokyo into U.S.-led conflicts around the globe. Specifically, the legislations can cement Washington’s “Asia Pivot” doctrine which envisages that 60 per cent of the total US armed forces would be deployed under the Pacific Command, with China as its focal point.

A scathing Xinhua commentary had earlier this month slammed the billsas manifesting Japan’s return to its militarist past.

On Thursday, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman, Yang Yujun reinforced the attack by trashing Japan’s demand that China halt construction of oil drilling platforms in the East China Sea. "Japan's recent and

frequent finger-pointing is to create and play up the 'China Threat,' so as to find excuses for passing controversial security bills," observed Mr. Yang. The Defence Ministry also pointed out that the oil platforms, of which the Japanese had released pictures, were being legitimately established within China’s territorial waters.

In parallel, the Russo-Japanese ties are also now under increasing strain. Earlier this month, Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu announced that troops on Kuril islands, disputed by Japan, will be rearmed. On their part the Japanese have raised an alarm about a Russian military build-up in the east of the country, including on the Kuril Islands.

The clearest signal that the Russians and the Chinese were factoring the reinforcement of the U.S.-Japan military alliance in the Pacific came on July 7 when it was announced that Moscow and Beijing will

conduct joint military exercises in the Sea of Japan. The Russian Navy’s Pacific fleet will deploy 20 warships as well as aircraft and helicopters, in the August drill, which is a follow up of a similar exercise that the two countries had held in the Mediterranean Sea two months ago.

At the heart of the tensions in the Pacific are the South China Sea maritime disputes, which have pitted China against Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. The Chinese have been incensed by the seven hour surveillance mission that was personally undertaken in the South China by Admiral Scott Swift — the U.S. Pacific fleet commander. earlier this month. On Thursday, the Chinese Defence Ministry went ballistic by accusing the U.S. of militarising the South China Sea. "China is extremely concerned at the United States' pushing of the militarisation of the South China Sea region," Mr. Yang observed.

China has added punch to its rhetoric with the deployment last Tuesday of more than 100 Chinese naval vessels and dozens of military aircraft during military manoeuvres in the South China Sea.

Aligning Moscow’s perception with the Chinese, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov observed in May that the U.S. was the main de-stabilising factor in the Asia-Pacific.

"We are concerned by US policies in the region, especially since every day it becomes increasingly focused on a systemic containment of Russia and China," Russia Today quoted him as saying.

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