The US and Japan have renewed their alliance in “all domains” for their shared vision for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The move has irked their common rival, China.
According to the US-Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement released by The White House last week, US President Joe Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide confirmed their commitment towards “peacefully resolving disputes” and “opposing coercion.”
“The United States and Japan committed to enhance deterrence and response capabilities in line with the increasingly challenging security environment, to deepen defense cooperation across all domains, including cyber and space, and to bolster extended deterrence,” the statement said.
To counter China’s aggressive militarization of the South China Sea, it is imperative for Tokyo to revamp its defense technology and strengthen its security alliance with the US. The joint statement also laid the plan of action for the “Indo-Pacific” and exchange of views among the two countries on China’s activities in the region.
Other than the South China Sea, conflicts regarding the East China Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang were also discussed.
According to Nikkei Asia, the defense cooperation will require Japan to be equipped with the latest military technology. Japan decided to boost its own defense capabilities to further its alliance with the United States and maintain regional security. With China deploying an increasing number of long-range missiles, Japan plans to upgrade two of its destroyers equipped with the American Aegis missile defense systems.
Currently, Japan deploys four Aegis-equipped KONGO-class destroyers.
I was honored to welcome Prime Minister Suga to the White House today as we usher in a new era of friendship between the U.S. and Japan. Both Pacific nations, we are also united by our shared commitment to the universal values of freedom, democracy, and human rights. pic.twitter.com/QJgbjNnceE
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 17, 2021
“The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear,” the White House statement read.
According to The Japan Times, the Japanese government approved a record defense budget for 2021 totaling $51.7 billion amid growing threats from China. The two countries are also united against any “unilateral action” which threatens Japan’s administrative capabilities of the Senkaku Islands.
China’s growing actions in the Indo-Pacific region, heavy militarization, and aggression in the South China Sea which are “inconsistent with the international rule-based order” were also touched upon.
China’s sweeping claims in the region and its unlawful maritime activities are not in congruence with America and Tokyo’s shared vision of “free” and “open” South China Sea where freedom of navigation is governed by the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
As can be seen in the joint statement, the Biden administration has shown more inclination towards promoting Japan’s role in enhancing regional security, keeping in mind Tokyo’s technological, economic, and political capabilities.
As reported by CGTN, China has shown opposition to the joint statement issued by the US and Japan and has reiterated its “One-China Principle” and “supreme sovereignty” over the islands in the South China Sea and the waters around them.
Since Japan and the US can jointly play a key role in countering the Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region to maintain balance and bring peace and stability, China is bound to show aversion from the growing ties of the two nations.