Event Summary: ‘Maritime Security in Asia: Chinese Sea Power and the East China Sea, a Japanese Perspective’


By Leonard Behrans

On the 17th of March, Vice-Admiral Yoji Koda presented a talk about the continued pressure China was exerting on its neighbours in the South China Sea, particularly Japan. The event was chaired by Julian Knight MP and was hosted by The Henry Jackson Society in the Houses of Parliament.

Commencing his talk, Vice-Admiral Koda spoke on the subject of the post-WW2 environment that China and Japan were cast into and how an absence of power was present in the South China Sea at the time. Chinese expansion commenced at that point, seizing the Paracel Islands.

He then went on to illustrate the tactical risks that Japan was facing as a result of Chinese reclamation of the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands, and how the recent reclamation of Scarborough Shoal represented a ‘game changing’ security risk for the entire area and the US, as China had the capability to press on forward and establish national sovereignty. He went on to illustrate the massive militarization campaign that had taken place on these reclaimed islands, with the creation of new airfields and ports, some having the capacity to even allow carriers to dock.

Furthermore, Vice-Admiral Koda went on to establish how China’s objective of control within the 9 Dashed Line could potentially lead to a nuclear risk for the United States, due to the open route that China had to reach the eastern US seaboard. He went on to explain how China focused on the ‘Achilles heel’ of US foreign policy and how this was seen through the South China Crisis.

Emphasizing the need for closer international co-operation, Vice-Admiral Koda finalized his talk by answering several questions from the audience. When questioned about his policy recommendations for the future, Vice-Admiral Koda pointed out the need for deterrence of China in the South China Sea, not outright engaging them in combat.



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