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US, Japan Respond to China Aggression by Strengthening Ties and Commitments


U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken hosts a joint press conference iith Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on January 11, 2023. (Image Credit: U.S. State Department/Freddie Everett)


WASHINGTON D.C (Mike's Defense Talk): In response to China's increasingly aggressive and provocative foreign policy, as well as North Korea's renewed belligerence, Japan and the United States revealed plans last week to strengthen their military alliance.


Along with condemning China aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and other regions, the ministers described China as an"unprecedented" threat to the International Order. The four ministers also condemned North Korea's accelerated efforts develop nuclear weapons and missiles, as well as condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


Additionally,the meeting resulted in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin affirming U.S. commitment to defend Japan with the full-spectrum of military might, including nuclear weapons. Austin further affirmed that Article 5 of the mutual security treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands. (The disputed islands outside Japanese territorial waters that are also claimed by Beijing.)

Other issues and actions that happened during the meeting include:


Amending the longstanding U.S.-Japan security treaty to mention "outer space," making it clear that “attacks to, from and within space” could trigger the mutual defense provisions of the treaty.


Japan and the United States agreeing to "adjust" the troop presence on Okinawa to enhance anti-ship capabilities should China attack Taiwan or engage in other other hostile acts in the South or East China seas.


JAPAN TO TO BUILD AIR STRIPS AND BASE ON THE CURRENTLY UNINHABITED ISLAND OF MAGESHIMA


MAGESHIMA ISLAND WILL BE BECOME HUB FOR AIR DEFENSE, TROOP DEPLOYMENT AND RESUPPLY IN ANY MAJOR CONFLICT WITH CHINA


Of particular note, prior to the meeting, Japan committed to beginning construction on a pair of runways on the small southern island of Mageshima, which is just 6.5 miles West of the island of Tanegashima, population 33,000. The new Mageshima base will be home to F-35B stealth fighters and will be a locus for amphibious operations and missile interceptions, with joint U.S. Japan exercises and around the island scheduled to start in 2027. The island will be a hub for troop deployment and munition supply in case of a conflict like a Taiwan emergency.









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