Japan, US agree to strengthen defensive systems amid growing challenges

Tokyo, Jan 7 (EFE).- Japan and the United States agreed Friday to strengthen their defense systems in maritime, land, space and cyber security in the face of “the complex challenges” of China, Russia and North Korea in the Indo-Pacific region.

The two allied countries held a virtual meeting Friday between the US State and Defense Secretaries Anthony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, and Japanese counterparts Yoshimasa Hayashi and Nobuo Kishi.

“Our alliance, over 60 years old, has peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and beyond as a cornerstone, and it must continue to do so given the complex challenges we face,” Blinken said at the start of the meeting, which was open to the media.

“China and Russia continue to violate international norms on land, sea, space and cyberspace. Beijing’s provocative actions continue to increase tension in the Taiwan Strait and in the East and South China Seas,” Blinken said of the challenges in the region, talking about the advance of Sino-Russian military cooperation.

Both countries expressed their concern about the launch this week of a hypersonic missile by North Korea, which they described as a “continuous threat,” and agreed to strengthen cooperation to counter this type of cutting-edge technology.

The US and Japan also spoke of the increase in Russian military activity on the border with Ukraine.

The Japanese foreign minister talked about the current challenges of the international community “such as the change in the strategic balance, the unilateral and coercive attempt to change the status quo, the abusive use of pressure and the expansion of authoritarianism.”

Both countries pledged to strengthen their security and defense systems, also against cyber attacks.

Tokyo and Washington celebrated the strengthening of alliances with other countries such as India and Australia, just one day after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison signed a treaty to strengthen defense and security cooperation.

During the virtual meeting, the representatives of both countries announced they are working on a new scientific research and development agreement to integrate the work of scientists and engineers on defense issues, such as the fight against hypersonic threats or space capabilities.

This two-way meeting between Japan and the US is the second to be held under the Biden Administration, following Blinken and Austin’s visit to Tokyo last March, and the first with Kishida as head of the Japanese government. EFE


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