US, Japan to sign new military partnership deal aimed at China, Russia, North Korea

The US plans to sign a new military collaboration pact with Japan in a purported bid to counter emerging threats such as hypersonics and space-based capabilities, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.

The two countries on Friday voiced strong concern about what they see as China’s growing might and pledged to work together against perceived attempts to destabilize the region.

The comments from the two allies, in a joint statement, followed a virtual meeting of their foreign and defense ministers on Thursday.

According to their statement, the ministers accused China of trying “to undermine the rules-based order”, saying it presented “political, economic, military and technological challenges to the region and the world”.

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

On Thursday, Blinken said, “We’re launching a new research and development agreement that will make it easier for our scientists, for our engineers and program managers to collaborate on emerging defense related issues, from countering hypersonic threats to advancing space based capabilities.”

The US-Japan alliance , he said, “must not only strengthen the tools we have, but also develop new ones”.

Japan and the US will sign a new agreement covering the continued basing of American troops in Japan, under which Japan has agreed to pay $9.3 billion to upkeep the presence of American forces in the Asian country over the next five years, Blinken said.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin further underlined during the meeting that the discussions would help lay down a framework for the future of the security alliance, including evolving missions to “reflect Japan’s growing ability to contribute to regional peace and stability”.

In a separate virtual summit on Thursday, Japan and Australia signed a military cooperation agreement, prompting China to lodge stern representations with all three countries.

“We deplore and firmly oppose the gross interference in China’s internal affairs by the US, 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.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged back in October to revise his country’s security strategy to consider “all options including possession of the so-called enemy-strike capabilities”.

Kishida’s government has approved record military spending for Japan – a country that is entirely dependent on the US for its defense and now allowed to possess a potent military force — with a 10th straight annual increase in 2022.

Back in 1951, Japan and the United States signed their Mutual Security Treaty, and in 1960, they inked its revised version, granting the US the right to build bases on the Japanese archipelago in exchange for a commitment to defend Japan in case of an attack.

In September, meanwhile, Australia signed the so-called AUKUS trilateral security pact with the US and the United Kingdom according to which Washington and London pledged to help Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

The deal angered China at the time, prompting it to say that it “seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race, and undermined international non-proliferation efforts.”



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