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China threats: US, Japan vow to cooperate more on security issues

In response to growing concern over the threat presented by China and its ties to Russia, the US and Japan announced plans to enhance defense cooperation on land, at sea, and in space.

US-Japan Ties

After a day of security discussions in Washington, authorities announced on Wednesday that the two parties were close to signing an agreement that would strengthen their space cooperation, including the US committing in specific circumstances to fight against an assault on Japan’s space assets.

In order to better respond to any threat from China, they also agreed to increased bilateral military training and a reorganization of US forces in the region.

Prior to their meeting on Friday, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Japan is beginning a historic bolstering of its defense posture. This coincides with the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting. Prior to departing for Washington, the Japanese leader was in London on Wednesday to sign a significant bilateral defense agreement with Britain.

The makeover involved revising Japan’s defense strategy and developing more aggressive tactics to counter challenges from China, North Korea, and Russia. The more hawkish strategy has long had support from Washington.

Read more: Russia rescue space mission to bring home two cosmonauts, US astronaut from the International Space Station

China Military Advancement

In response to growing concern over the threat presented by China and its ties to Russia, the US and Japan announced plans to enhance defense cooperation on land, at sea, and in space.

“We’re working to deepen our cooperation across every realm, land, sea, air and, yes, in space, cyber and outer,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We agreed, as you’ve heard, that attacks too, from, or within space, present a clear challenge.”

The US agreed to expand the application of Article V of the US-Japan Security Treaty, which calls on one side to defend the other, into space because Japan’s crucial communications satellites are not covered. China has made remarkable advancements in its anti-satellite capabilities.

According to a US Defense Intelligence Agency study from April, China is developing a number of ground-based laser weapons with differing powers to interfere with, weaken, or damage satellites. China tested shooting down an old meteorological satellite from a facility in Sichuan province in 2007.

Hayashi stated on Wednesday that “China provides an unparalleled and largest geopolitical threat.” Including the disputed Diaoyu Islands, which Japan refers to as the Senkaku Islands, “Japan and the US will continue to be unified in expressing objections to China’s ambitions to change the status quo in the East China Sea.”

The partners decided to create a new combined military headquarters similar to the US-South Korea agreement in order to better coordinate operations, with intentions to station a US Marine Littoral Regiment in Okinawa by 2025.

The regiment, which has around 2,200 members and can defend the Japanese archipelago with anti-ship missiles and intelligence, surveillance, and logistical units, is considered a defensive measure as well as a means of reducing Okinawa’s heavy US military presence, a significant cause of social unrest.

With a proposed US$51 billion budget this year, up 25% from last year, Japan has promised to raise its defense spending to 2% of GDP from 1% within five years.

Prior to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Washington later this week, the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee met at the State Department, demonstrating how seriously the two countries take concerns about what they claim to be a more assertive China. Beijing is described as an “unprecedented strategic challenge” by Japan.

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