Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono has said that Japan wants to be the “sixth eye” in the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance that comprises the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Backing the US’ campaign against China, the other four alliance members have also imposed restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei, hardened their stance on the South China Sea issue, and suspended their extradition agreements with Hong Kong.
Japan wants to be the “sixth eye” in the alliance so that it can better “deal” with a rising China
Although the “Five Eyes” alliance has been trying desperately to check China’s rise, it cannot draw the support of the wider international community to oppose China.
The US-led intelligence network has its origin in US-UK intelligence cooperation during World War II and came into being after Canada, Australia and New Zealand joined the coalition.
The “Five Eyes” intelligence network includes privileged intelligence sharing among the governments and enterprises of the five countries; it also functions as a tool for political and diplomatic manoeuvrings. During the Cold War, the alliance’s main task was to spy on the Soviet Union, including Soviet citizens, officials, religious leaders, and getting Soviet government information, as well as thwarting Soviet activities around the world and checking its global influence.
In the 21st century, the alliance focused on tackling new global challenges such as terrorism, but since 2009 when the US and its allies thought Washington’s “war on terror” had reduced security risks from terrorist networks, the “Five Eyes” shifted attention to rising powers such as China and Russia.
The five countries share similar cultures and values and have similar standards for safeguarding national security, not least because they are English-speaking countries and a vast majority of their citizens have Anglo-Saxon roots. Therefore, for the five countries, a rising power with a different cultural background and political system poses a high risk to the world order.
At a time when the world is in transition, China is promoting the Belt & Road Initiative, modernizing its military, and securing its islands in the South China Sea to facilitate better global cooperation and safeguard its national interests, while the “Five Eyes” alliance projects China as a serious threat to the world order.
And with the US launching a scathing attack on China, the other four alliance members have reduced cooperation with China, even adopted a confrontational approach toward Chinese high-tech companies citing one excuse or the other.
After the five countries blamed China for hacking into their networks and launching cyberattacks against them in December 2018, the alliance intensified its criticisms against China. The novel coronavirus pandemic has given them another excuse to stigmatize China, although the US and UK governments didn’t make enough efforts to control the virus in the beginning.
In fact, US officials were busy stigmatizing China by labelling the novel coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” even as COVID-19 infections and deaths kept rising in the country
Amid this mudslinging by the US, when China managed to largely control the virus and resumed economic activities, it dealt a blow to the pride of some so-called democratic countries which consider themselves superior to China.
In the bitter fight against the pandemic, China has won the acknowledgement of the international community, compelling the US to cajole and coerce its allies to boycott China and interfere in China’s internal affairs including the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong to plug the national security loopholes in the special administrative region and the postponement of Legislative Council election in the SAR because of the threat of the pandemic.
The alliance issued a joint statement on Aug 9, asking the Hong Kong government to hold the LegCo election as soon as possible, which is blatant interference in China’s internal affairs. But many countries around the world have deferred elections because of the COVID-pandemic, including “Five Eyes” countries.
For instance, on Monday New Zealand announced the postponement of the general election, and the UK deferred the local and mayoral elections in March. Even the US president tweeted on July 30 suggesting that the 2020 presidential election be delayed.
Thanks to China’s sincere cooperation with other countries and contributions to the global economy, many countries have a rational view of China. That’s why even close US allies such as Germany and France disagree with the US on taking a tough stance against China without a solid reason.
The fact that at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council (June 30-July 17) more than 70 nations supported the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong and said no country has the right to interfere in China’s internal affairs shows countries can tell right from wrong.
And since the “Five Eyes” don’t represent the entire international community, they can’t turn the world against China.