Japan and the United States expressed concern about what they described as China’s continued efforts to undermine the rules-based international order, and the challenges they pose to the region and the world, and pledged to cooperate in deterring and responding to what they said were destabilizing activities. Beijing criticized the US and Japanese statements.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Japanese Yoshimasa Hayashi, US Defense Ministers Lloyd Austin and his Japanese counterpart Nobu Kishi held a video conference in which they discussed ways to strengthen the security alliance between the two countries.
Blinken had said earlier that Washington and Tokyo would sign a new defense cooperation agreement, in order to “address new threats, such as hypersonic missile capabilities and space capabilities.”
The US Secretary of State explained some details of the purpose of the upcoming agreement, saying, “We are launching a new research and development agreement that will make it easier for our scientists, engineers, and program managers to collaborate on emerging defense-related issues, from countering supersonic threats to developing space-based capabilities.”
In a joint statement, the US and Japanese ministers expressed “severe and persistent concerns” about human rights issues in China’s two regions, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The last event
Blinken said that his country and Japan will also sign a new 5-year agreement covering the continued presence of US forces in Japan, as Tokyo agreed to pay $9.3 billion to participate in the costs of maintaining the forces during the mentioned period.
Referring to China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region, the Japanese foreign minister said it “has become more important than ever for Japan and the United States to unite and show leadership in the face of a number of challenges.”
China expressed its dissatisfaction with the actions of the United States and Japan, and the foreign ministry spokesman accused Washington and Tokyo of “fabricating false information to discredit his country and undermine confidence among countries in the region.”
In response to the meeting, China expressed its dissatisfaction with the actions of the United States and Japan, and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wen accused Washington and Tokyo of “fabricating false information to discredit his country and undermine confidence among countries in the region.”
“China expresses strong dissatisfaction and strong opposition to the actions of the United States, Japan and Australia to blatantly interfere in China’s internal affairs (…), and China has lodged solemn representations with relevant countries on this issue,” the spokesman added.
Yesterday, Thursday, Japan and Australia signed a defense treaty described as historic, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said – in a statement issued before the signing – that the treaty was “another major step on the road to strengthening relations between Canberra and Tokyo.
In turn, his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, stated that the treaty “affirms the two countries’ commitment to work together to face the common strategic security challenges we face, and to contribute to securing and stabilizing the Indo-Pacific region.”