Washington – as their countries grapple rising challenges From China, President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are discussing Friday how to transform Japan into a military power and strengthen the alliance between the two countries as the linchpin to sustain it. security interest in Asia.
Mr. Kishida is making his first trip to Washington since his election in October 2021 and a month after his government announced plans to bolster its military capabilities and military spending in the face of China’s growing power and repeated missile tests by North Korea. Announced plans to make a significant increase.
Besides military issues, Mr. Biden, Mr. Kishida and their aides are expected to discuss the close economic ties between the two countries and the challenges facing them in maintaining secure global supply chains. technology business with China, the world’s second largest economy, and in Strengthening sanctions against Russia,
The summit was held on Wednesday by Foreign Minister Antony J. Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. A meeting between Austin III and his counterparts, Yoshimasa Hayashi and Yasukazu Hamada of Japan followed.
US and Japanese officials said on Wednesday that the two countries will expand their military cooperation, including by improving Japan’s missile strike capability and making the US Marine unit in that country more resilient to a possible war.
This is where the President is nearing the third year of his term.
These changes come as both countries are experiencing more threatening behavior from China and North Korea as well as Russia. The three countries have a decades-old partnership that they have recently reaffirmed in various settings.
Under the new US deployment arrangement in Japan, those serving in Okinawa as part of the 12th Marine Regiment, an artillery unit, will be transitioned to a more mobile unit: the 12th Marine Littoral Regiment. US officials said the new configuration would allow them to more easily fan out to other islands along the coast if needed.
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The Littoral Regiment would be battalion-sized units, totaling about 2,000 soldiers, and have long-range fire capabilities that could hit ships. Mr Austin said the change would lead to a presence that is “more lethal, more agile, more capable.”
Officials said the agreement would not increase the number of Marines serving in Okinawa. But it would allow Marines to deploy more quickly if tensions escalate in the region. Pentagon officials said the reorganization is partly to deal with China’s growing military activity and presence, including around the island of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy governed by the Chinese Communist Party. intends to bring under its rule,
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year has American, Taiwanese and Japanese officials increasingly concerned about the possibility of China making moves on Taiwan – perhaps not in the coming months or years, but possibly by the end of the decade . US officials say much depends on how Chinese officials view the balance of military power in the region, which includes the US military.
Japan is concerned about increased maritime activity by the Chinese military in the East China Sea and around the Senkaku Islands, a disputed territory between the two governments.
The Biden administration is working closely with the Japanese government on a number of other security issues in Asia, including North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and its nuclear program. US officials have sought increased cooperation with Japan and South Korea over threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as well as China’s aggressive behavior in the region.
Japan is an important member of the Quad alliance, which includes the United States, India and Australia. It has cooperated with the United States on sanctions over export controls on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February.