South China Morning Post
May 9, 2022

EU and Japan to forge united front against China and Russia at summit

The European Union and Japan are working together to cut their dependence on China and check Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific, amid anger over China’s “no limits” partnership with Russia.

At a summit in Tokyo on Thursday, leaders will establish a blueprint for wide-ranging cooperation, from trade, to technology and supply chains.

The blueprint is expected to bolster supply chains and set joint standards for vital technology such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, 5G and 6G – many of the areas to be covered when the EU-US Trade and Technology Council convenes in Paris a few days later.

In discussions with EU officials, traditional references to open markets have been replaced with allusions to the war and of the deepening divide with Beijing.

They credit Japan for showing “full solidarity” with Western sanctions on Russia, saying Beijing’s “regrettable” backing for Moscow has helped push Brussels and Tokyo closer.

“What happens in Europe today could happen in the Indo-Pacific tomorrow,” one senior source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“With the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and the close relationship between Moscow and Beijing, there is an even greater commitment by the EU to increase its role in the Indo-Pacific and Japan is, of course, a key partner for that.”

Tokyo has been couching things in similarly stark geopolitical terms.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will chair the talks along with leaders of EU institutions, has been on a whistle-stop diplomatic tour to drum up support for tackling Russian aggression.

He returned to Japan on Friday after stops in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as the Vatican City, Italy and Britain.


In London after striking a defence pact with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Kishida said: “Ukraine may be tomorrow’s East Asia.”

“Russia’s aggression is not an issue only for Europe. The international order encompassing the Indo-Pacific is at stake,” he said.

Analysts said the summit would help dispel some widely held myths that the war was a matter for Europe alone.