NATO enlargement is also reflected in Asia


Finland and Sweden will participate in the NATO summit in Madrid starting a week later. Australia, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand, none of which are NATO countries, are attending the same meeting. The countries are also expected to hold their own four-country meeting in Madrid.

All four countries have condemned Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, participated in sanctions against Russia and supported Ukraine in various ways. Japan has a sea border with Russia and the border dispute between the countries has worsened during the spring. Russia’s historic support for North Korea, on the other hand, is an eternal security concern for South Korea.

However, Russia is not the only common concern. China’s influence in the Asian navy has increased, and it has made significant strides in recent years in terms of both its territorial requirements and its military technology.

This spring, for example, China has signed a cooperation agreement with Solomon Islands. Under the agreement, it can set up a military base there. Both Australia and New Zealand have criticized the agreement.

Concerned about China

The divisions between Australia and China are being eroded by the inflammation of relations that began with the trade dispute and the coronavirus debate, which continued after Australia bought submarines from the United States with British support.

Japan has an active territorial dispute with China, while relations with South Korea became inflamed when a US missile defense system was introduced to South Korea in place of North Korea.

China is already considered to be such a big security threat in the region that South Korea and Japan, which have traditionally been in freezing terms, are actively coming to the same table.

It is hardly a coincidence that at the same meeting, NATO’s new strategic concept, with a strong emphasis on China, was adopted. The concept was last updated at the 2010 meeting. According to public statements, China is now seen as a systematic threat.

Finland in the debate

China is fully aware of the situation. The country’s foreign policy rhetoric can be expected to intensify as the real impact of coronary virus action on the country’s economic slowdown diminishes as the Communist Party’s autumn general meeting approaches.

Authoritarian states tend to look for threats from the outside as their own domestic political situation becomes more difficult.

As Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO applications progress hopefully as quickly as possible, Finland will become an even more important part of the world political debate.

While NATO issues and the public debate are understandably focused on the European and US perspective, Asia will continue to monitor Western discussions and reactions more closely.

In the future, it is good for Finnish political decision-makers to have a more accurate understanding of the foreign policy lines and mutual relations of the economic powers in the east of Russia. Not to mention the names used by the different island groupings in each country and the latest twists and turns in the Taiwan question.

The author is Kauppalehti’s correspondent in Hong Kong.

By Editor

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