03 February 2017
As 2016 came to a close and 2017 commenced, two key buzzwords have emerged in describing strategic trends in East Asia – transition and unpredictability.
The prominence of these came as a result of several developments that took place in 2016, namely Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the US presidential elections, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s shift from the United States to China, and China’s continued militarization of the islands in the South China Sea.
In analysing the implications of these changes to East Asia, one issue that has not been sufficiently discussed is Japan’s role in 2017. In light of the transition and unpredictability this year, Japan’s contribution to East Asian security will be elevated through accelerated policies and initiatives that directly contribute to strategic stability.
This will occur alongside the further strengthening of the US-Japan security relationship under the Trump administration – a point that will be reinforced by the US Defence Secretary James Mattis’ first visit to Tokyo on Feb 3-4.
… Bhubhindar Singh is Associate Professor and Coordinator for the Regional Security Architecture Programme (RSAP) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 03/02/2017