Japan, US to hold security talks before Kishida meets Biden

Japan and the United States will hold security talks between their foreign and defense ministers in Washington a day before Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives in the U.S. capital next week, Japanese officials said on Friday. .

The United States is Kishida’s final stop on his tour of the Group of Seven countries. The visit to the United States is part of Tokyo’s efforts to expand its military and deepen its alliance with America amid the crisis. growing influence of China.

Kishida will embark on a six-country trip to France, Italy, Britain and Canada on Monday ahead of his Jan. 13 summit with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Defense Secretary Yasukazu Hamada and Secretary of State Yoshimasa Hayashi will fly to Washington to join their US counterparts Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken for their “2+2” security talks on Wednesday, just before their leaders’ summit in the White House.

The ‘2+2’ talks are expected to focus on their new national security strategy, released by Japan in mid-December and the United States in October, and how the two allies plan to respond to security concerns , including China, North Korea and Russia.

“We will discuss strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-US alliance when reviewing our new strategy document,” Hamada told reporters.

Hamada said Friday that he and Austin would separately hold bilateral defense talks on Thursday to discuss details of how their militaries could expand and deepen their operations. When asked if they would discuss revising their defense guidelines which are currently still based on Japan’s more defensive role, Hamada said nothing has been decided yet.

Japan adopted three security and defense strategy documents in December that abandon the principle of defending itself exclusively. Under the new strategy, Japan pledged to strengthen its counterattack capability with long-range cruise missiles that can hit potential targets in China, double its defense budget within five years, and to support the development of advanced weapons.

US officials have welcomed Japan’s willingness to play a more offensive role, while experts say it could also help expand cooperation with Australia, its main regional defense partner.

Kishida said Wednesday that his talks with Biden would strengthen the strength of the Japan-US alliance and highlight closer cooperation between the countries under Japan’s new security and defense strategy adopted last month. [ab/uh]

Robert Butler

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