Biden hails military reforms in Japan… and reiterates Washington’s commitment to its alliance with Tokyo
US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hailed the strength of the alliance between their two countries and the increasing role Japan plans to play in protecting stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Biden welcomed military reforms in Japan and reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to its alliance with Tokyo.
Biden received Kishida at the White House the day before yesterday, and they held a meeting in the Oval Office, during which Biden called the meeting “a historic moment in the alliance of the United States and Japan” and said that the relationship between the two countries is closer than ever.
He added, “I will state unequivocally that the United States is fully committed to the alliance and, above all, to the defense of Japan.”
For his part, Kishida thanked Biden for America’s work on regional security, saying, “Japan and the United States are currently facing the most challenging and complex security situation in modern history.” He added that Tokyo drafted the new defense strategy released last month, to ensure peace and prosperity in the region.
Last month Japan unveiled its largest military buildup since World War II, in a historic departure from the peaceful approach it has pursued for seven decades, a move fueled by fears of Chinese movements in the region.
Japan’s military reforms will increase defense spending to 2% of GDP, below which Japan will buy missiles capable of hitting ships or land targets 1,000 kilometers away.
Kishida said he supports Biden’s attempt to restrict exports of advanced semiconductors to China, but has disagreed with a similar move to impose blanket restrictions on chipmaking equipment exports imposed by the United States in October.
In a speech he later gave to Johns Hopkins University students, Kishida spoke of Russia’s war against Ukraine, saying, “This war marks the complete end of the world after the Cold War, and if we have a unilateral change in the status quo with… Allow violence, it will happen elsewhere in the world, including Asia.” Kishida stressed that the relationship with China is the most important challenge for both Japan and the United States.
Japan has joined Western powers in imposing sanctions on Moscow since its war against Ukraine in February 2022. Japan shows new ambitions towards China, including space defense, stationing more marines in Okinawa, and forging a military deal with London. Tokyo has come to believe that Beijing poses an unprecedented strategic challenge to its security, and also intends to acquire counterattack capability through the acquisition of long-range missiles, a major shift in the country’s post-WWII pacifist constitution this forbids waging wars.
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