Fri. May 24th, 2024

U.S., Japan upgrade security ties to counter China at Biden-Kishida summit

By 37ci3 Apr10,2024



HONG KONG – United States and Japan On Wednesday, the president is set to announce a historic upgrade to the security alliance Joe Biden receives the prime minister of Japan Fumio Kishida for an official visit that will highlight Japan’s role in the conflict Demon In the Asia-Pacific.

The Japanese leader’s state visit for the first time in nine years also takes place against the backdrop of differences in relations between the two countries. U.S. Steel offered to be bought by a Japanese company.

On Tuesday, the Bidens welcomed Kishida and his wife to the White House before dinner. Wednesday’s Biden-Kishida summit will be followed by a formal state dinner with dry-aged rib-eye steak, cherry blossoms and a speech by Paul Simon.

On Thursday, Kishida will address a joint session of Congress, the second Japanese leader to do so after the then-prime minister Shinzo Abe In 2015. He will then participate in the first-of-its-kind trilateral talks with the United States and the Philippines.

Kishida wraps up his trip with a Friday stop in North Carolina, where he will visit the construction site of a new electric battery plant for Japanese automaker Toyota, which is expected to create 5,000 jobs for American workers, according to Japanese media.

John Hemmings, deputy director general of the Pacific Forum research institute in Honolulu, said that in recent years, Japan has experienced a “sea change” in its perception of the security environment, as well as its role in it.

“They’ve become such a key tool for the evolution of our security architecture,” he said.

Since taking office in 2021, Kishida has increased defense spending in Japan, a major shift in a country whose pacifist constitution limited its military to self-defense after losing World War II. Japan also relaxed a post-war ban on the export of lethal weapons and led the creation of security groups such as the Quad, which includes the United States, India and Australia.

The changes stem from Tokyo’s increasing Chinese aggression, as well as creeping doubts about the US presence in the Indo-Pacific and its reliability as an ally.

Rana Mitter, a professor of US-Asia relations at the Harvard Kennedy School, said that the US-Japan summit, which is primarily about security, is to convince Tokyo of the US’s commitment to the security alliance.

He said it was a “very public signal” that while the Biden administration was working to improve relations with China, it was not turning its back on its allies in the region.

As Tokyo prepares to establish a new joint headquarters to oversee all of its military operations, Biden and Kishida are expected to discuss plans to improve the US military command structure in Japan, where some 54,000 US troops are stationed. The two countries will also establish a military industrial council to explore what types of defense weapons the US and Japan could jointly produce.

According to Hemmings, the goal is to make the US and Japanese militaries “more capable of fighting a near-peer adversary.”

Senior administration officials said Tuesday that Biden and Kishida will make a “big deal” on lunar exploration. They will also announce major research partnerships in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors and clean energy.

Thursday’s trilateral talks come as relations between China and the Philippines have been strained by repeated clashes between coast guard vessels in the South China Sea, a strategically important waterway claimed by Beijing in virtually its entirety. The U.S. has said a mutual defense treaty with the Philippines would apply to such encounters, raising the prospect of U.S. intervention if they escalate.

Demonstrators trampled a picture of the Chinese president in front of the Chinese embassy in Manila on Tuesday. Xi Jinping for protesting what they called China’s “aggression” against the Philippines in the South China Sea.

With the tripartite talks with the Philippines, Hemmings said, the US and Japan have taken an “extremely positive step” to ensure that the Philippines is not alone in defending its sovereignty and that “if anything, China is an isolated country”.

China says its actions in the South China Sea are legal and accuses the United States, Japan and others of creating “small circles” of power that are fueling tensions in the region.

Mira Rapp-Hooper, director general for East Asia and Oceania at the National Security Council, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that the US Indo-Pacific strategy and its associated groupings and alliances “are not about being against anyone or anything, they are about what we are for. “

In Congress, Mitter said, Kishida will likely argue that the United States “still has a lot of needs” in the Asia-Pacific region.

“There is a general disillusionment among many US voters with the idea of ​​a very strong US security commitment around the world,” he said. “Prime Minister Kishida, I think, will try to counter that and say, ‘no, the US presence in the region is still really, really important for Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asian countries.’

Hemmings said he also expects Kishida to “double down” on Ukraine like Biden Struggles to gain support in Congress for continued US aid. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Kishida warned that allowing Moscow to win would prompt Chinese aggression against Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy that Beijing claims as its territory.

“I think he’s going to be really passionate about it,” Hemmings said.

US lawmakers are also likely to focus on the planned acquisition of US Steel by Nippon Steel, Japan’s largest steelmaker. Biden, who has depended heavily on unions for his re-election campaign, opposed the deal, saying it was vital that US Steel “remain an American steel company.”

Senior administration officials said the dispute would have little impact on overall U.S.-Japan relations, which they called “much deeper and stronger and more important than a single trade agreement.”

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said Monday that Kishida visited North Carolina “to convey to both Japan and the United States that Japanese companies are making significant contributions to the U.S. economy through investment and job creation.”



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