Paris has refused to approve a scheme to open a NATO liaison office in Japan, arguing the bloc should not extend itself beyond the North Atlantic.
In May, Japanese Ambassador to the USA, Koji Tomita said that Japan was working towards opening a NATO liaison office in Tokyo, which would become the bloc’s first in Asia.
The scheme has been discussed intermittently since 2007, when assassinated then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first visited NATO’s headquarters, and was raised again in recent months.
French President Emmanuel Macron personally believes that the body’s charter imposes geographic limitations which bar NATO from expanding into Asia.
Tokyo has steadily increased its cooperation with the bloc over the years, opening its first NATO branch office in Brussels in 2018.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida became the first Japanese leader to attend a NATO summit last year. Japan, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
All have also been invited to the 2023 summit, which will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11 and 12, as the bloc shows increased interest in the Indo-Pacific in recent years.
China has objected to NATO’s creeping expansion, claiming that the bloc should remain within its own sphere of influence and not seek to grow its presence in Asia, arguing the region does not welcome bloc confrontation or military blocs.
Russia, which strongly opposes NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe, also criticized the bloc’s attempts to extend its activities into Asia.
In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the push by the USA and its allies to create what he called a “global NATO” resembles the actions of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan in the 1930’s before the outbreak of World War II.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2023.