Monday, June 27, 2022

US, Japan prepping statement to ‘deter’ China action in Indo-Pacific region: report

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The U.S. and Japan are reportedly preparing a statement promising the two countries will partner to “deter” China

According to the Nikkei newspaper, the statement is being worked on ahead of President Biden’s May 23 summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

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It will reportedly focus on China’s activities in the Indo-Pacific Region, outlining a policy of keeping Japan “under the U.S. nuclear umbrella” and confirming the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

The Nikkei said the language of the statement would be strengthened from last year, with the nations saying they would cooperate to “respond” if necessary.

President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walk from a meeting to the G7 family photo at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022. 
(Doug Mills/Pool via REUTERS)

Notably, earlier this month, Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said Japan should focus more on peaceful diplomacy with China, instead of military deterrence. 

He also urged that the burden on Okinawa of hosting a majority of American troops in Japan be reduced.

There is some concern in the prefecture – with its presence of U.S. military personnel – regarding rising tensions due to China’s military actions.

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There is also the worry that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might embolden Beijing, and North Korea, which recently launched three ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan. 

The publication added that the U.S. would again call for the denuclearization of North Korea. 

Biden is also traveling to South Korea, his first Asia trip since taking office last year, where he will meet with newly elected President Yoon Suk Yeol. 

Biden will also meet with the so-called “Quad” — which also includes Australia, Japan and India — as they aim to forge stronger partnerships to contain China in the Indo-Pacific.

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Earlier this month, Biden hosted the first-ever Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit to be held in Washington.

In April, six U.S. lawmakers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Kishida reaffirmed their commitment to working together. The visit followed an earlier stop in Taiwan, where the group met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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