A European military contribution in Asia
asian security is gradually moving up the ladder of attention in european capitals. The eu now adheres to the asean Treaty of amity and Co-operation; has joined the asean Regional Forum (in 2012) and the Council for security Co-operation in the asia Pacific (2013); and signed a crisis management co-operation agreement with south Korea (2014). NATO has a close dialogue with australia, New Zealand and south Korea, as well as with Tokyo. In addition, amid the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula in 2017, a discussion started within NATO on whether North Korean aggression could trigger an article 5 situation, which involves provisions for collective defense.
at the bilateral level, both France and the uk have recently established regular 2+2 meetings (foreign and defense ministers) with Japan. at the annual shangri-la dialogue in singapore in 2016, the French minister of defense argued that France is ready to support naval vessels in freedom of navigation operations in the south China sea, while the british foreign minister recently stated the uk’s intention to be “back east of suez.”
The growing power asymmetry in the region and beijing’s more assertive maritime policies have not only resulted in increased attention from europe, but also a demand signal from China’s neighbors. This demand signal is, of course, without comparison much stronger towards the us, but in its first National security strategy in 2013, Japan identified enhanced security cooperation with europe through the eu, NATO and the Organization for security and Co-operation in europe (Osce) as one important initiative.
Nevertheless, it appears unlikely that european countries would be willing, or even able, to commit substantial troops or weapons platforms to a conflict in the region. asia is mainly a maritime theater, and as Ian bowers elaborates on page 102, european navies are currently a mere shadow of their glorious past. Moreover, it remains an open question whether a military engagement in asia from european countries would contribute to crisis management, or if it would be counterproductive and escalatory. Furthermore, deploying to asia, europe also risks weakening its deterrence capabilities toward Russia.
A European non-traditional security engagement