This is an active week for both diplomacy and the military in East Asia. For the first time in several years, Tokyo will host a meeting of foreign ministers from South Korea, China and Japan. And as those talks go on, so will regional military exercises. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
South Korea and the United States are holding military exercises this week and next….an annual drill involving 25,000 Americans and 50,000 South Koreans. China’s state news agency Xinhua says the event could “jeopardize peace and stability in Northeast Asia.” Chinese naval vessels are conducting their own exercises this week—in waters between southern China and northern Vietnam—the Gulf of Tonkin.
Next month, China will hold military exercises with Russia in the South China Sea, a move criticized by the United States. Relations between China and South Korea have been further soured by South Korea’s adoption of a US anti-missile system—the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.
Tensions between China and Japan have flared since a number of Chinese ships have recently come close to a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan has filed 30 protests about incursions by Chinese ships since early August. Despite the disagreements, the foreign ministers of China, South Korea and Japan are holding two days of talks this week in Tokyo. North Korea is on the agenda. Another focus: preparations for a potential top-level meeting…involving the leaders of all three nations later this year.