Japan, US and Europe must act together on China, PM Kishida says | Politics News

Japan, US and Europe must act together on China, PM Kishida says | Politics News

If Russia’s use of force against Ukraine goes ‘unchallenged, it will happen elsewhere in the world, including Asia’, says Japanese PM.

Japan, the United States and Europe must act in unison on China, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in Washington, DC, during a visit aimed at strengthening Tokyo’s alliance with the United States in the face of growing challenges from Beijing.

China is the central challenge for Japan and the US, as China’s vision of the international order differs from those of Tokyo and Washington in ways that the allies “can never accept,” Kishida said.

“It is absolutely imperative that Japan, the United States and Europe stand together in managing our respective relations with China,” the Japanese prime minister said in a speech Friday at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Russia’s war against Ukraine marked the “complete end” of the post-Cold War world order, and if Moscow’s use of force goes “unchallenged, it will go elsewhere in the world, including Asia,” he said.

“The international community is at a historic turning point. The free, open and stable international order that we are committed to maintaining is now in grave danger,” Kishida said.

“We will never allow any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force, and we will strengthen our deterrence.”

Kishida reiterated Japan’s concern over China’s military activities near disputed islands in the East China Sea — known as the Senkaku Islands in Japanese and the Diaoyu Islands in Chinese — as well as China’s launch of ballistic missiles last year that landed in waters near Japan.

Meeting Kishida earlier at the White House, US President Joe Biden said the US remained strongly committed to its alliance with Japan and praised Tokyo’s “historic” defense boost announced last month.

“Let me be clear: The United States is totally, totally, totally committed to the alliance and most importantly to the defense of Japan,” Biden said.

Japan last month announced its biggest military buildup since World War II, in a dramatic departure from seven decades of pacifism, fueled by concerns about Chinese actions in the region. The increase will see Japan raise its defense budget for 2023 to a record 6.8 trillion yen ($55 billion), or a 20 percent increase in spending, which comes in the face of regional security concerns, including threats posed by China and North Korea.

As part of this new defense policy, Japan is going on a shopping spree and looking to buy hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which are currently only in the US and UK arsenals. Japan will also develop a “counter-strike” capability for the first time, meaning it will be able to hit launch sites for missiles that threaten it.

In talks this week between Japanese foreign and defense ministers and their US counterparts, the two countries also agreed that space attacks could trigger their mutual defense treaty amid rapid Chinese work on satellites.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also signed an agreement to cooperate in space exploration on Friday.

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