On 21 August, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a test-firing of strategic cruise missiles from a navy ship, as the state media agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. This event coincided with the annual joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea (Reuters, 2023). Known as the ‘Ulchi Freedom Shield’, these drills are primarily computer-simulated command post exercises designed to enhance coordination and readiness in responding to potential security threats (Kim, 2023).
On 1 August, two Belarusian military helicopters violated Poland’s airspace by shortly flying over Białowieża, a village not far from the border between the two countries (Brzezinski, 2023). The Polish media outlet Onet deemed such incursion a provocation (Chiappa, 2023). The following week, the alert threshold was raised as Minsk held military exercises in the Grodno region, which were simulating real-combat situations, according to the Belarusian Defence Ministry (Teslova, 2023).
On 11-12 July, NATO leaders held their annual summit in Vilnius amidst an unprecedented security landscape and high expectations on the steps towards enlargement and the new courses of action to preserve collective defence in the Euro-Atlantic area and states’ resilience and capacity-building. While the Alliance delivered on its core missions (collective security and crisis management), it was not as ambitious and straightforward when it came to more sensitive matters like Ukraine and Sweden’s membership paths, or partnerships in other global regions (e.g., the Asia Pacific).
‘We are facing the creation of a climate of fear in Ukrainian society, aggressive rhetoric, indulging neo-Nazis and militarising the country. Along with that we are witnessing not just complete dependence but direct external control […] by foreign advisers, military “development” of the territory of Ukraine and deployment of NATO infrastructure’ (Putin, 2021).
Following the end of World War Two, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers and administrated by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. While occupying the nation, the US oversaw the drafting of a new constitution that prioritised democracy, individual freedoms and pacifism. Japan’s shift towards pacifism is enshrined in Article 9 of its Constitution and formed a central part of its foreign policy for decades. This research paper seeks to understand how Japan has shifted away from Article 9 and began the process of remilitarisation. Despite maintaining a small military capability, the Japan Self-Defence Force, Japan has relied heavily on its alliance with the US to protect its interests internationally. In recent decades, Japan has taken further steps to increase the size and strength of its military for defensive purposes but also to protect its essential interests in the Asia-Pacific region.