News / Asia

Hagel: US Committed to Protecting Japan

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands before their meeting at the latter's former official residence in Tokyo, April 5, 2014.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands before their meeting at the latter's former official residence in Tokyo, April 5, 2014.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in Japan for talks with high-level officials. Upon arrival, he reassured the country that America is committed to Japan's security, but analysts say his mission is complicated by regional disputes over territory, as well as some lack of clarity in the U.S.'s own strategy.

Hagel is in the region to strengthen U.S. cooperation with its Asian allies on military and security issues, which White House officials said is essential in keeping Asia prosperous.

On Saturday, he said there is no evidence the U.S. is doing anything but strengthening its commitment to the security of Japan.

The trip comes as looming territorial disputes and growing nationalism have pulled countries in East and Southeast Asia further apart. The White House has admitted that the situation is “imperfect,” but has also stated its commitment to playing a positive role.

Alejandro Reyes, a visiting professor at Hong Kong University and studies U.S. foreign policy in the region, says that new governments in China, Japan and Korea are pushing for radical reforms at home and need to shore up the support of their own people.

“How do you do that? Partly, as you can see it in Russia too, and in the United States, in many different countries these things happen, that in order to boost your domestic political support you can use your foreign policy if you will, not to be reckless necessarily but at least to gear up some nationalist sentiment, patriotic fervor,” he said.

Territorial disputes

Patriotic fervor does not bode well with security cooperation.

Ahead of Hagel's visit, the United States decided to withdraw its participation in a ship parade held by China, after Beijing refused to invite Japan.

The two Asian neighbors are caught in a bitter territorial dispute over small islands in the rich resource waters northeast of Taiwan.

The United States has maintained neutrality on the issue, but as Japan's closest ally in the region, Washington has a treaty obligation to defend the country in case of aggression.

Reyes says that budget restructuring within the U.S. military, as well as a cautious posture in President Barack Obama's foreign policy elsewhere has some ramifications in Asia as well.

“The hard question, particularly when leaders in this region look at what is gone on in Syria, what's gone on in Ukraine, the president drawing red lines and not actually backing up its words, there are questions, legitimate questions particularly I would say in Japan what would happen if there was conflict between China and Japan? Would the United States actually come on the side of Japan as strongly as the Japanese might hope?” said Reyes.

On Saturday, Hagel said that it is predictable that an event such as Russia's annexation of Crimea might resonate in other areas of the world, including Asia.

He said, anytime a nation tries to impose its will to violate the territorial integrity of another nation by force, the world takes note.

Hagel added that in such a crisis "allies are going to look at each other to be assured."

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
April 06, 2014 4:03 AM
Japan intends to proactively contribute to world prosperity and peace. In fact, Japan has contributed to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world. This is the historical fact for current half century.
Japan, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not expect a war. We shall be prepared if others (China or Korea) wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.
In Response

by: china guy from: beijing
April 08, 2014 1:29 PM
who can belive japan as it invaded into other countries and killed so many people. we people only respect the past.

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
April 05, 2014 3:39 PM
Like America committed to protect Ukraine, lol
Yeah, America is severely punishing Russia now with sanctions on Visas.
I am sure America will threat to stop issuing Chinese visa if China invade Japan, lol

by: Not Again from: Canada
April 05, 2014 3:36 PM
You can not blame the fact that, the Western deterrence value has slid significantly on the Obama Administration, some errors have been made, but collective defence rests on all members of the collective. The failure has come about, due to the so called "peace dividend" which has blinded Western allies over the past 20+ yrs. The US is no longer the economic giant, towering well above every other country, as it was 20/30 yrs ago. The collective interests of all democratic nations, in alliances with the US, need to be fully re-examined, their contribution to security and stability needs rework. A parasitic relationship, is no longer realistic nor sustanable, the US is no longer the super economy. Every member of the collective has failed to hold up its own portion of the defensive load. In my view, both Japan and the big EU member nations of NATO have demilitarized their forces, wrt the military gains by potential regional adversaries. And this downgrading has occurred in all areas of security. They are no longer even are conducting high level exercises, maybe they do not even know where or in what condition their equipment/supplies are in. There is a need to re-examine security needs against the significant capability increases of potential adversaries, and not expect that the US must carry all the load; each nation needs to contribute in accordance with their economic, GDP, ability, and in a ratio that is not significantly less than the US; it is the only way to increase the collective deterrent value. Lack of a significant deterrent value will lead to conflicts/wars. A high deterrent value, will not prevent 100% of the conflicts, but it will go a long way in minimizing/curbing the expansionist adventurism and appetite of authoritarian leaders.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs