- Sputnik International, 1920, 24.01.2023
Find top stories and features from Asia and the Pacific region. Keep updated on major political stories and analyses from Asia and the Pacific. All you want to know about China, Japan, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Philippines' Outgoing FM Warns NATO-Style Pact Won't be Taken 'Seriously' in Asia-Pacific

© AFP 2023 / MC3 MATT BROWNThe aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.06.2022
While the US is a treaty ally of the Philippines, ties between the two nations have not been particularly favourable under the outgoing administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. At the same time, China has credited Duterte with bringing “China-Philippines relations out of the trough and onto the right track”.
The Philippines’ outgoing Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr, has pushed back against ongoing attempts by Western nations to militarise the Asia-Pacific region on the lines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), saying that such an alliance wouldn’t be “taken seriously” in this part of the world.
His observations came in a social media post, which was made in reaction to a suggestion by Republican Party Senator Ben Sasse, who called for a “new military alliance centred far out into the Pacific” owing to Western concerns about Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
Sasse said that a “NATO for the Pacific” would add to the American security commitments in the region, which currently include its partnerships with Australia, Japan, and the trilateral AUKUS pact involving Canberra and London.
The United States has been mobilising its naval assets in the South China Sea in solidarity with its allies and partners against China. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.05.2022
China Accuses AUKUS Countries of Inciting Arms Race in South Pacific
Reacting to the American lawmaker’s remarks, Locsin said that he had “discussed” the idea of an "Asian NATO" during his visit to China in April this year.

“I said an Asian NATO will never be taken seriously. The European one is already a joke”, he remarked. “Now, AUKUS is an aggregation of the likeminded, like-armed and bellicose (nations). Add Japan”, the top Philippine diplomat added.

The remarks describing AUKUS as “bellicose” as well his criticism of an "Asian NATO" mark a contrast to Locsin’s earlier position on the trilateral pact, under which the US and UK will supply Canberra with technology to develop nuclear attack submarines (SSNs).
At the time of the unveiling of AUKUS last September, Locsin said that Canberra’s neighbours in Southeast Asia “do not possess the military wherewithal to maintain peace and security” in the region”, so the trilateral grouping would help maintain “peace and stability” in the region.

“There is an imbalance in the forces available to the ASEAN member states, with the main balancer more than half a world away”, Locsin said back then.

Other Southeast Asian nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia have expressed concerns over the AUKUS pact. After a meeting of the foreign ministers of Indonesia and Malaysia in Jakarta last October, the two governments warned against an “arms race” in the region.
Beijing, which is the largest trading partner of the 10-nation ASEAN, has also warned that AUKUS could incite a “nuclear arms race” in the Asia-Pacific. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has also been critical of the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy, and has often accused Washington of trying to create an “Asian NATO” through groupings such as the Quad and AUKUS.
Both AUKUS and the Quad have underpinned themselves on following the concept of "ASEAN-centrality", placing the Southeast Asian nations at the heart of their respective agreements.
The concept of "ASEAN-centrality" has been endorsed by China as well as other major powers with stakes in the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, thus making the Southeast Asian bloc central to the entire region.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала