Japan, U.S. Vow More Defense Cooperation to Counter Chinese Threat

The United States and Japan have pledged to work together against China’s attempts to destabilize the region. 

The two countries held virtual strategic and security talks on Thursday between the foreign and defense ministers. The meeting came among rising tensions between both allies and China. In a joint statement following the meeting, the countries highlighted their growing concern over China and growing tension over Taiwan. The concerns have put Japan’s international security role into focus. 

Ministers expressed concerns over China’s actions are presenting challenges both to the region and the world, spanning across politics, economics, military, and technology. 

The statement said that both countries also continue to have serious, ongoing concerns about China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong regions, and emphasized the importance of securing stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait. 

The U.S.-Japan talks came just two weeks after negotiators brought to an end a Trump-era disagreement by agreeing to a new formula for paying for the ongoing U.S. military presence in Japan. 

Japan also held a separate virtual summit with Australia Thursday. Following this summit, Japan also signed a defense agreement with Australia, marking the first time that Japan has ever signed such a pact with any country beside the United States. 

The defense agreements are unusual for Japan, which is a pacifist country with close economic ties to China. But the country has voiced growing concerns that China will move against democratic Taiwan, which China claims is a part of its country. 

China responded to the two bilateral summits in the daily briefing in Beijing. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China is firmly opposed to the U.S., Japan, and Australia’s “gross interference” in their internal affairs. He said that the countries were fabricating false information in order to smear China and undermine its solidarity and regional trust. 

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