The MOD acknowledges the Committee’s support of the Government’s position on territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. As set out in the SDSR, we will work with countries in the region and traditional allies and friends, such as Japan with whom we have recently held joint Defence and Foreign Ministerial talks where we discussed security in the South and East China Seas, and to strengthen cooperation on settling international and regional disputes peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter and international law. We may not always agree with countries in the region but we believe that direct engagement will enable us to improve understanding, address areas of difference, and help to build stability, whilst protecting the UK’s fundamental interests and values. The SDSR sets out the investment that we are making in our Royal Navy fleet and more widely our vision for Joint Force 2025. We remain committed to deploying maritime assets to the region as the opportunity arises, and we have the agility to re-task assets to the region as required. As stated in SDSR, we will increase our maritime contribution to the Five Power Defence Arrangements by including our new aircraft carriers and establish British Defence Staff in the Asia Pacific.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paolo Bayas, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) hosted nine officials from the United Kingdom, Jan. 8.
150108-N-WA993-021 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Jan. 8, 2016) Adm. Joseph Aucoin, Commander 7th Fleet, greets the Rt Honorable Philip Hammond MP, right, Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on the ceremonial quarterdeck of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Secretary of State for Defense’s visit to Ronald Reagan reflects the strong relationship between the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and their partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Lee/Released)
Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, and Capt. Brett Crozier, Ronald Reagan’s executive officer, welcomed…
View original post 645 more words
Asia and the PacificThe Asia-Pacific region has significant economic opportunities for the UK, and considerable influence on the future integrity and credibility of the rules-based international order. We will continue to work with like-minded partners in the region, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand and others to defend and protect our global shared interests, uphold the rules-based international order and to strengthen cooperation on settling international and regional disputes.We are strengthening considerably our defence, political and diplomatic cooperation with Japan, our closest security partner in Asia, as they take an increasingly global outlook on security issues. We strongly support Japan’s bid to become a permanent member of an expanded United Nations Security Council, and support Japan taking a greater role in UN peacekeeping. We will build on our defence cooperation, based on successful operational cooperation including on counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia. We will collaborate further, particularly on disaster relief operations and broader joint deployments both regionally and worldwide. We will continue to explore longer term opportunities for closer defence engagement and defence industrial collaboration. As the world’s third largest economy, the Japanese market continues to provide important trade and investment opportunities for the UK.
We will work closely with, learn from and invest in joint research programmes with our allies and partners, many of whom are pursuing similar innovation initiatives. The US are pursuing their Third Offset Strategy, which aims to retain their military advantage into the future, and France has important technology programmes, especially in aerospace, maritime and space capabilities. We will also build on our important security relationships with partners such as Japan, and with multilateral forums, including NATO.
Extract from the interview by Nikkei staff writers Ken Moriyasu and Togo Shiraishi
Q: Japan has shifted its position on arms exports. It hosted an arms fair attended by a substantial British delegation. Japan believes these joint projects will lead to stronger diplomatic alliances. Does the British government welcome Japan’s change in security policy?
A: We very much welcome Japan’s security legislation. Japan has proved over many years its commitment to peaceful progress in international development. Japan has played an important role in dealing with some of the important challenges around the world but it has been constrained in how big a role it has been able to play by the self-imposed restrictions in the Japanese constitution. We welcome Japan’s decision to reinterpret the way those will work so that Japan can make a bigger contribution to maintaining the peace and stability of the international system.
In terms of the defense industries collaboration, our experience has been that there is very often an ability to build a twin track partnership between countries where collaboration in the defense industry goes hand in hand with collaboration on defense and security, such as in joint exercises and collaborative approaches to procurement and so on. We think there is significant scope for a collaborative approach to working between U.K. armed forces and Japan’s Self Defense Forces in appropriate areas, for example on humanitarian initiatives and disaster relief. Japan is interested in working with us to maintain freedom of navigation for example. Japan has played an important role in the Gulf of Aden, the Horn of Africa, counterpiracy initiatives and has an important mine-sweeping capability which is necessary to keep open international sea lanes. So there are many fields in which we can collaborate. It is also a case that Japanese industry has capabilities that will make it an interesting and important partner in defense industrial cooperation.
Q: Will the British government support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposed resolution at the U.N. to call for nuclear disarmament?
A: We instinctively support the idea of eventually reaching a world without nuclear weapons. That is our stated intention. We have a very strong record on nuclear arms reduction. We have reduced our inventory of warheads by 50% since its peak. We have announced that we will have a maximum of 180 warheads by the middle of the 2020s. We have reduced both our stockpiles of warheads and our deployment of warheads on submarines to the minimum necessary.
We would argue that we have, more than any other nuclear power, have put into practice the ambition to move eventually to move into a world without nuclear weapons. But we won’t disarm unilaterally. We have been absolutely clear about that. In terms of the resolution, history has taught us that the devil lies in the details in arms reduction resolutions, so we would have to look at it before we can say we would be able to support it.
Q: Does the Foreign Office see the security situation in this part of the world as being on an improving trajectory?
A: There are some very real tensions which remain unresolved. The self-evident capability of China to project maritime power in a way it couldn’t do, even a few years ago, has created a more dangerous dynamic. I’ve just come from a meeting with the foreign minister, and we very much appreciate the efforts made by Japan to try to maintain dialogue with China and tried to calm tensions in the East China Sea, where there is some sign that Japan and China are establishing mechanisms to try to avoid unintended escalations or accidental escalations, which is very good.
In the South China Sea, there are problems that are less manageable because there are more players involved. We are all conscious of the fact that there are some very serious risks of unintended escalations.