On Wednesday, January 11, the United States Secretary of State, Lloyd Austin, and Japanese Minister of Defense, Yasukazu Hamada met in Washington to discuss China, Taïwan, and North Korea. The two politicians grew their cooperation regarding their defense into space and the US and Japan reinforce their alliance against China and North Korea.
Regarding China, Anthony Blinken said: “We agree that China poses the most important strategic challenge for the US and Japan.” Blinken explained that the US welcomed well the new defense strategy adopted by Japan. Furthermore, he added that Japanese and US officials will agree on a defense relationship in space during the week.
The United States defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, present at the meeting, gave his vision of the Japanese-US collaboration in a press conference following the meeting: “ There is clear strategic alignment between the visions of President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida.” Austin applauded the new Japanese national security strategy of spending more money on its military. Moreover, Japan recently announced that it prepares to acquire hundreds of American Tomahawk cruise missiles by 2027.
Furthermore, regarding Okinawa, Japan, Austin said: “We will replace an artillery regiment with this force which will be more lethal and more mobile.” He announced the creation of an artillery unit in Okinawa that can move faster and have a rapid reaction force. Japan is preoccupied with what China is doing in this region and wants to strengthen its defense. He added: “ [This new artillery unit] will contribute in a major way to improving the defense of Japan and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” Moreover, no marines will be added to the more than 25 000 marines out of 50 000 in Japan who are in Okinawa.
During this meeting, the China-Taïwan conflict also was discussed. Austin said: “I'm not going to play guess with Mr. Xi [Chinese President] but I can tell you what we've been seeing for some time now is very provocative behavior from the Chinese forces.” According to him, it’s really probable that China will attack Taïwan very soon. US officials said that the reorganization of the artillery unit will be made to prevent the Chinese armed forces’ presence around Taïwan.
White House National security adviser, Jake Sullivan said: “Japan is stepping up big time and doing so in lockstep with the United States, partners in the Indo-Pacific and Europe. President Biden’s investment in our alliances is paying huge dividends to bolster deterrence and advance peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and globally.” Japan Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida who was recently in Europe, met US President, Joe Biden today, Friday, January 13.
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