With China on mind, India, Japan, South Korea hold trilateral

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    After a India-US-Japan trilateral, this is the second concrete trialteral meeting India is conducting in East Asia. There were rumours about a India-US-Australia trilateral but it has not happened yet.

    With China on mind, India, Japan, South Korea hold trilateral - NY Daily News

    New Delhi, June 29 — With China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, India, Japan and South Korea - Asia's three leading democracies - Friday held their first trilateral meeting here and pitched for freedom of seas and expanding their multifaceted cooperation.

    The three sides discussed a host of regional and global issues to cement their trilateral cooperation cutting across diverse areas, including maritime cooperation, security, terrorism, and trade and investment.

    The trilateral dialogue seeks to address the three major themes - the evolving Asian security architecture, non-traditional security issues and prospects and challenges for this process.

    The India-Japan-South Korea trilateral seeks to reinforce the India-Japan-US trilateral dialogue that also focuses on expanding strategic and maritime cooperation.

    They identified the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Korea National Diplomatic Academy, and Tokyo Foundation as the three partnering institutions to carry forward the trilateral dialogue.

    "Being leading democracies of the world, we share a common commitment to democratic values, open society, human rights and the rule of law," Sanjay Singh, Secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry, said while underlining a congruence of strategic interests of the three leading economies of the region.

    "We seek a peaceful and secure Asia free from the threats of terrorism, proliferation, piracy and conflict between states," he said.

    Although China was not mentioned explicitly, it was very much the elephant in the room, with discussions focusing on maritime cooperation and freedom of navigation in international sea lanes of communication.

    "There is common commitment to maintaining freedom of the seas, combating terrorism and promoting inclusive economic growth. India, Japan and ROK depend heavily on the Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs) for their energy security," Singh said.

    "These are also the mainstay for trade and connectivity amongst our countries and other countries in the region. India has a valued geostrategic location straddling the SLOCs," he said.

    In this context, the three sides noted that like the Indian Ocean Rim, South China Sea has tremendous potential for cooperation, but is "is witnessing competing claims".

    "Our common objective is to see that the seas and oceans become regions of cooperation instead of competition, particularly as our energy security and trade depends on them," Singh said.

    Underlining the need for maritime cooperation, the sides discussed ways to expand trilateral cooperation to deal the conventional risks associated with nuclear power and confront the risks of nuclear and missile proliferation in our neighbourhoods.

    "Deepening cooperation amongst our defence and security establishments will promote our mutual security," said Singh.

    Beijing has yet to react to the India-Japan-South Korea trilateral, but it has been uneasy about leading democracies of the region getting together in what it sees as an exercise in encirclement of a rising China.
  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Just a recap on the India-US-Japan trilateral last year

    Inside the first ever U.S.-Japan-India trilateral meeting | The Cable

    While Washington grappled with the consequences of Kim Jong Il's death, the United States, Japan, and India held the first meeting of what is shaping up to be a robust trilateral dialogue -- but all sides have been quick to say that it's not aimed at isolating China.

    The four-hour meeting was held at the State Department on Dec. 19, and the U.S. delegation was led by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Bob Blake. Other U.S. officials in attendance included State Department Policy Planning Director Jake Sullivan, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and Pacific Affairs Peter Lavoy, and NSC Senior Director for Strategic Planning Derek Chollet.

    The Japanese contingent was led by Koji Tsuruoka, deputy vice minister for foreign policy, who was visiting Washington with Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba. The Indians flew in two officials, Joint Secretary for the Americas Jawed Ashraf and Joint Secretary for East Asia Gautam Bambawale.

    Two State Department officials described the meeting for The Cable. "What I really loved about it was that it just seemed like a very natural conversation among friends," one of the officials said. "The amazing thing about our governments is that we really have shared values. That's the foundation of it all. That's the glue that binds us together."

    The officials defined those shared values as democracy, human rights, rule of law, transparency, open markets, freedom of navigation, and an interest in international development work. "There wasn't a moment of dissonance in the whole thing," the official said. "The challenge now is to figure out what specifically we can focus on."

    This was the first trilateral meeting between the three countries; the main objective of which was to set the foundation for future talks, discuss what issues would be on the agenda going forward, and set the goal of meeting again in Tokyo next year.

    Topics that were discussed inside the meeting included Afghanistan, where Japan and India are large donors, the recent East Asia Summit, Central Asia, and Burma.

    "We talked about how we can work together within all these Asian organizations to advance our shared values ... and what can do to help improve the workings of all these various fora," the State Department official said. "We agreed that we need to focus our collective efforts in Afghanistan to make sure all the values we share in Afghanistan are upheld and observed."

    The U.S.-Japan-India trilateral dialogue is just the latest of the "mini-laterals" that the United States has undertaken recently. These groupings, which are smaller than often cumbersome multilateral groups, are becoming a preferred way for the United States to build consensus around policies with friends and allies.

    There is another trilateral strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, and Australia that has been ongoing for five years, and now has half a dozen working groups. The United States and India have had a bilateral dialogue about East Asia for over two years now, led by Campbell and Blake. That dialogue has held four official meetings.

    The State Department official said the United States is interested in setting up some "mini-lateral" structures that include China. U.S. policymakers also want to start a U.S.-India-China trilateral dialogue, the official said, but the Chinese won't sign on.

    "Our Indian friends are happy to do it, we're willing to do it, but our Chinese friends are a little wary," the official said. The Japanese have also put forth the idea of a U.S.-Japan-China trilateral dialogue.

    The State Department wants to be clear that this week's meetings were not about China. In fact, they said that the rise of China and how to deal with it wasn't discussed at the Dec. 19 trilateral meetings.

    "We did talk about China, but it was in the context of other things," the official said. "We were actually looking for things we could do jointly with China."

    Experts said that even if the trilateral dialogue wasn't about China, the fact that all three countries are cooperating in the effort to deal with China's rise looms over the discussions.

    "The growing cooperation with India and Japan is driven by China's rise, there's no doubt about that. That doesn't mean it's directly aimed at China," said Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). "They are all trying to respond to China's rise but not antagonizing China. From China's perspective, any cooperation is encirclement."

    The initial Chinese reaction to the meeting was cautious. "U.S., Japan and India are countries with great influence in the Asia-Pacific region. We hope the trilateral meeting will be conducive to regional peace and stability," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters.

    Countries like India are interested in deepening their ties with China as well as the United States, but joining U.S.-brokered diplomatic architectures allows India to approach its engagement with China from a position of greater strength, said Cronin.

    He also said that the effort was part of the U.S. goal of increased burden sharing with India, to offset the financial cost of maintaining the U.S. presence in East Asia.

    "The U.S. is not looking to spend a fortune, it's looking to be a facilitator," he said. "It brings India into East Asia and Japan into the Indian Ocean and it does that at a very low cost to the United States."

    The State Department officials acknowledged that part of the driving force behind encouraging India to take on more responsibility was to shift some of the financial responsibility to countries whose economies are on the rise.

    "The Indian government, for the first time in a long time, has money. It's a country that can greatly complement U.S. efforts in the region.... This theme of them being a net provider of security takes on more significance when all of a sudden they finally have the resources to expand their role," the official said.

    "The whole world has been a free-rider on the United States for so long, if the Indians can help with that in an era when we face budgetary constraints, the more the better," the official said. "The U.S. has had the luxury in the past of going it alone, but it certainly makes sense to do it with your friends."

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