This year, G7 Leaders’ Summit is planned to be held in Hiroshima, Japan. As the chair of the G7, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the G7 members France, Italy, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States between 9-13 January 2023. During these meetings, Japanese Prime Minister made efforts to focus the G7 countries on the security issues of the Indo-Pacific and the “Chinese threat”.
From this point of view, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM) presents the views it received from Dr. Avinandan Choudhury, Associate Fellow at National Maritime Foundation, in order to evaluate Kishida’s European tour and the attitudes of the G7 countries towards China.
- Do you think that Japan’s G7 presidency will deepen the West’s struggle against China this year?
Japan being the only Asian member of the G7, its presidency will help in providing greater salience to the issues of Indo-Pacific and bring about a coalescence amongst the member countries in responding to the emerging challenges in the region. Given the economic nature of the G7, more coordination and collaboration may be witnessed in securing supply chains, investment in semiconductor industry, cooperation in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and biotechnology. These collaborations will invariably influence the systemic geopolitical competition between China and the West and the latter will try to uphold the ideals of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific through negating the chances of a rival nation challenging sovereignty of smaller nations, weaponizing interdependency, stealing of critical technologies and the misuse of emerging technologies. The emphasis will be on creating a geopolitical environment conducive to a rules based order and demonstrating enough deterrence to dissuade authoritarian powers from challenging the international order.
- How do you evaluate Japan’s recent defense-security cooperation and agreements with both the UK and Italy?
The recent military and defence agreements involving Japan, Italy and the UK demonstrate that the war in Ukraine has led to a growing realisation among the countries that nations should hedge their security interests by developing independent arms industry, weapon platforms and also expanding their capacity for logistical support. These measures will undoubtedly build synergies amongst these like-minded countries and increase the level of interoperability amongst the forces of these countries which may have to operate jointly in the battlespaces of the future without the overarching security umbrella of a super power.
- Can we assert that a coalition led by Japan and the US has been formed against the “Chinese threat” in the Indo-Pacific??
While Japan and the US are alliance partners and they are involved in the Quad and some trilaterals with other friendly countries, a convergence of like-minded countries is very evident rather than a formal coalition in the Indo-Pacific. Here it is important to note that this strategic congruence among these nations is built upon the ideational plank of Free and Open Indo-Pacific and it is not against China per se. How China positions itself in regard to the international rules-based order will decide how Japan and the US will respond, nonetheless, given the existing mistrust , US and Japan are likely to increase deterrence and potential costs for a belligerent China..
- Do the G7 countries agree to contend with China? In this sense, do you think that Germany and Italy have a different attitude towards China?
The G7 countries need not contend with China but will look to work towards a free and stable international order where supply chains remain insulated from geopolitical competition and interdependence is not weaponised. They will support diversification of critical supplies and engage in norm setting for emerging and disruptive technologies. Most of the countries of the G7 are in Europe and, currently with the war in Ukraine raging on, these countries may give priority to the security and defence issues of Europe rather than commit themselves to the hard security challenges facing the Indo-Pacific.
Dr. Avinandan Choudhury
Avinandan Choudhury is an Associate Fellow at National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi. He has been working with the Foundation since July 2022. Choudhury was an Asst. Prof. of Political Science at the Amity University Rajasthan (August 2020-June 2022). He earned his PhD in Politics and International Studies, with the thesis: ‘Geopolitics in Indian Ocean: A Study on India’s Maritime Geo-strategy in the 21st Century’, at the Pondicherry University, Puducherry (2021). His primary research focuses on Indian Ocean region, India’s Neighbourhood Policy, maritime security and Geopolitics.