Rising Stakes in the Western Pacific:
Countering China’s Territorial Ambitions
On February 3, 2021, RIPS was able to conduct a public webinar successfully. The webinar was held under the theme of “Rising Stakes in the Western Pacific: Countering China’s Territorial Ambitions” and was a meaningful webinar. Four panelists (from Japan, the Philippines, the U.K., and the U.S.) gave opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion. Over 100 people attended the public webinar.
Dr Matsuda pointed out that China first dispatched its ships to the Senkaku Islands in 2008, but in 2020, the maximum number of ships approaching the islands was 1,150, with the longest stay of 111 days. He said that tensions were rising and argued that China would not make any concessions on national unity, including the Senkaku Islands, for the historical milestones of 2035 and 2049.
Dr Patalano argued that Chinese patrol vessels now routinely stay in the contiguous waters and territorial waters of the Senkaku Islands. Therefore, he said, Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty will be important in the future.
Dr Castro pointed out that China is trying to draw the Philippines to China as it provides a large amount of vaccine for the Covid-19, and the Philippines has a hard time finding a balance between the US and China. President Duterte once revoked the Visiting Forces Agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines, but it has been put on hold several times since June 2020. He noted that Filipino sentiment toward China is poor, while sentiment toward the U.S. and Japan is very good.
Ms Glaser pointed to the importance of the “freedom of navigation” in US foreign policy. She said that the Trump and Biden administrations are committed to supporting the Philippines following the July 2016 Hague Ruling.
All four experts cautioned against the Coast Guard Law that China is enacting in February 2021.
This webinar would be extremely effective in deepening interest in Asia, especially Japan, as it would be distributed to the world.
22:00 Greetings by Masashi Nishihara, President of RIPS (3 minutes)
22:03 Introductory Remarks by the moderator, Dr Minohara (5 minutes)
22:10 Presentations by the four experts (60 minutes, 10 minutes each)
23:10 Discussion among the presenters (40 minutes)
23:28 Closing remarks (RIPS President)