On 8 March, former Vice Admiral of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces, Yoji Koda, gave a special briefing at Curtin St Georges Terrace, presented by Curtin University and the Consulate-General of Japan.
Titled Maritime Security Challenges in the Asia-Pacific, the briefing focused on issues surrounding the South China Sea and North Korea.
The South China Sea has become hotly contested in recent years due to its geopolitical significance, and is subject to a number of competing territorial claims. China’s recent military buildup in the area, through the creation of several artificial islands, threatens important shipping lines and increases tensions between China and Japan’s ally, the United States.
In the journal Asia Policy in January, Koda stated:
“These man-made islands, when fully completed, would provide China with strong footholds in the Spratly Islands for controlling most of the sea lines of communication and for monitoring foreign naval and air activities.”
Koda is a fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University focusing on the direction of the US-Japan alliance in the coming decades and Chinese naval and military expansion.
Before retiring in 2008, he served in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force for more than 36 years. Throughout his military career, he held a wide range of posts including director-general of the operations and plans department, director-general of the Joint Staff Office and commander in chief of the Self Defence Fleet at Yokosuka.
About the Strategic Flashlight series
Launched in 2009, Curtin’s Strategic Flashlight research seminar and policy workshop series is Perth’s premium strategy forum. Our events are hosted across Australia and cover topical and current political events and foreign policy issues with a focus on Australia’s involvement in the international realm.
The series plays an important role in providing a dedicated forum for government, defence, law enforcement, private enterprise and academia to discuss and debate issues of strategic significance for Australia and our region.