As part of NATO’s expansion into the Pacific Rim region in confrontation with China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea have been invited to its summit — this year in Madrid — for the first time.
NATO and the G7 group of nations are reportedly set to designate China as an adversary at their summits next week.
US President Joe Biden will fly to Germany on Saturday for the G7 leaders’ summit at the exclusive Schloss Elmau luxury resort in the Bavarian Alps. Following that meeting he will head to Madrid for a NATO summit on June 29 and 30.
China will loom large at both summits, where the West’s hybrid economic and proxy war on Russia in Ukraine is also on the agenda.
“At the summit, we will roll out a concrete set of proposals to increase pressure on Russia and demonstrate our support collectively for Ukraine,” one ‘senior US official’ quoted by Reuters said on Wednesday.
The leaders of the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — plus the European Union’s two presidents — will plan a strategy to split Eurasian and African countries off from China’s ‘Belt and Road’ international security and trade initiative.
“Leaders will also advance a vision of the world grounded in freedom and openness – not coercion, not aggression, not spheres of influence,” the US official added. “They will strengthen our cooperation on economic issues, cyberspace and quantum, and in particular, the challenges posed by China.”
“[Russia’s special op] in Ukraine has galvanized our partnerships around the world,” said a second official, but stressed: “It’s also showing how Ukraine is not causing us to take our eye off the ball on China. In fact, quite the opposite.”
Under Biden, the US has moved away from the ‘one China policy’ that recognises Beijing as the sole authority over both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, and has increasingly confronted China over the island’s claim to independence.
In 2017 Washington re-established the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as the ‘Quad’, with Australia, Japan and India. But its attempts to turn India against its neighbour and long-time trading partner Russia over the Ukraine crisis have failed.
As part of North Atlantic Cold War alliance NATO’s expansion into the Pacific Rim, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea have been invited to its summit for the first time.
Japan’s post-Second World War constitution limits its military to a national self-defence force that can only deploy overseas for humanitarian, peacekeeping or anti-terrorism operations. However, it hosts several US military bases on its soil.
Australia and New Zealand are members of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing group that also includes the US, UK and Canada, and Australia is in the AUKUS pact with London and Washington. South Korea hosts US forces in confrontation with North Korea.