Opinion / Wang Hui

Trilateral alliance only shores up tensions

By Wang Hui (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-26 07:31

As the world chews over the significance of the Group of 20 leaders' summit held in Brisbane, Australia on Nov 15 and 16, it may also want to take some time to reflect on the Australia-Japan-United States trilateral leaders' meeting held on the sidelines.

The trilateral meeting, the first since 2007, caught considerable media attention despite taking place outside the razzmatazz of the G20 summit's official and non-official programs, providing evidence of the implications the meeting might have on global and regional peace and security.

According to a US State Department news release, the three countries vowed, among a long list of endeavors, to deepen their military ties for the sake of promoting stability in the Asia-Pacific region. They also reaffirmed the global reach of their cooperation and the value of comprehensive US engagement in the region. Although they stopped short of mentioning an "alliance" or "military alliance", these solemn pledges can be interpreted as nothing but the strong political will, as well as a strategic arrangement, to strengthen their trilateral alliance.

The US forged military alliances with Japan and Australia after World War II. In the Cold War era, Japan and Australia were regarded as two "anchors" in the US global strategic deployment to confront the Soviet Union. As the US has begun implementing its "pivot to Asia" policy in recent years, Washington has forged new partners in security cooperation as well as consolidated its relations with old allies in the region.

With such a backdrop, the US has paid a lot of attention to its ties with Japan and Australia, which is in sharp contrast to its frigid attitude toward its old allies in Europe. Hence, the Brisbane trilateral meeting marks an important step the US has taken to drive home the message that it intends to project its power in the Asia-Pacific region and intends to do so through working with its regional allies, Japan and Australia in particular.

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