Coming off a “historic” signing of a formal defense cooperation agreement with Australia on Thursday, Japan is now pursuing a deepened commitment for military assistance from the United States. Both are expressing concern over China’s growing military might and influence in the region.
Following a virtual meeting of top defense and foreign policy leaders between Tokyo and Washington, the two sides issued a joint statement on Friday, citing closer cooperation on a military level amid Beijing’s attempts to “destabilize” the region – including with an eye on Taiwan, according to Reuters. The Japanese side, which included the foreign minister, had this to say:
The ministers expressed concerns that China’s efforts “to undermine the rules-based order” presented “political, economic, military and technological challenges to the region and the world”, according to their statement.
“They resolved to work together to deter and, if necessary, respond to destabilizing activities in the region,” it said.
The statement additionally highlighted “serious and ongoing concerns” over the plight of the Uighur minority in China’s Xinjiang region, and mentioned the ongoing media and opposition crackdown in Hong Kong.
Japan’s historic post-WW2 pacifism appears to increasingly be abandoned as Tokyo has recently vocalized a pro-US line on hot button regional issues like Taiwan.
China’s foreign ministry has meanwhile slammed these developments involving fresh pacts and the growing defense commitments between Japan, the US, and China:
“We deplore and firmly oppose the gross interference in China’s internal affairs by the U.S., Japan and Australia and the fabrication of false information to smear China and undermine the solidarity and mutual trust of countries in the region,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing in Beijing.
Friday’s statement also follows unprecedented statements in recent months from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who said his country is now pursuing offensive strike capabilities, specifically considering “all options including possession of so-called enemy-strike capabilities”.
“In order to safeguard the people’s lives and livelihoods, we will examine all the options, including the capability to attack enemy bases… and fundamentally strengthen our defense posture with a sense of speed,” PM Kishida said just last month. Already, international reports commonly estimate that Japan has built an arsenal of almost 1,000 warplanes, and even dozens of submarines and destroyers. Additionally, often its coast guard acts as a forward deployed force in fishing or island disputes with China.
Likely China will only increase its own muscle-flexing maneuvers amid the closer US-Japan and Japan-Australia defense ties. It must be recalled that in October a grouping of Chinese and Russian warships provocatively traversed narrow passageways near Japan, and ultimately took an encircling route around the large island-nation, in a clear ‘message’ that it needs to cool its rhetoric vis-a-vis Beijing.
Fri, 01/07/2022 – 21:00
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Author: Tyler Durden