Sounding alarm on China, Japan and U.S. vow to collaborate more on defence

TOKYO / WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (Reuters) – The United States and Japan on Friday expressed grave concern over China’s growing power and vowed to work together to repel attempts to destabilize the region, including emerging defense threats.

The two allies’ comments, in a joint statement that followed a virtual meeting of “two plus two” of their foreign and defense ministers, highlight how growing alarm over China and growing tension over Taiwan have put paper Japan’s security to a greater extent. focus.

At their meeting, the ministers expressed concern that China’s efforts “to undermine the rule-based order” present “political, economic, military and technological challenges for the region and the world,” the joint statement said.

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“They resolved to work together to deter and, if necessary, respond to destabilizing activities in the region,” he said.

The ministers also said they had “constant and serious concerns” about human rights issues in China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong regions and stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

While pacifist Japan maintains close economic ties with China, there is growing concern in Tokyo about a possible move by Beijing against democratic Taiwan.

“This is clearly a combined message reflecting a common concern, not a case of America’s arm twisting to get Japan to adhere to vague euphemisms,” said Daniel Russel, who served as America’s top diplomat for Asia. under Obama and is now with the Asia Society Policy Institute.

“In particular, the expression of the joint determination to respond if necessary to the destabilizing activities is presented as a powerful expression of the solidarity and determination of the alliance.”

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the two countries would sign a new defense collaboration agreement to counter emerging threats, including hypersonic and space-based capabilities.

NEW TOOLS

Blinken said the US-Japan alliance “should not only strengthen the tools we have, but also develop new ones,” citing Russia’s military build-up against Ukraine, Beijing’s “provocative” actions on Taiwan and the latest launch of North Korean missiles. North Korea fired a “hypersonic missile” this week that successfully hit a target, its state news agency said.

After the meeting, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said that Tokyo had explained its plan to review the national security strategy to fundamentally boost defense capabilities, which he said had strong support from its American counterparts. .

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised in October to review Japan’s security strategy to consider “all options, including possession of so-called enemy strike capabilities.”

The Kishida government approved record defense spending, with a 10th consecutive annual increase in 2022.

Jeffrey Hornung, a Japanese security policy expert at Rand Corporation, a think tank backed by the United States, said that while options for Japan to use force are realistically limited, an emergency in Taiwan would be a potential scenario that Japan could see it as a threat to its survival.

“There are no encrypted messages here,” Hornung said.

“China is the challenge and they said so, then detailed all the ways the alliance is determined to work to counter its destabilizing activities.”

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Information from David Brunnstrom, Dan Whitcomb and Rami Ayyub, Ju-min Park and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Edited by David Dolan and Richard Pullin

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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