The foreign and defense ministers of the United States and Japan raised concerns over what they described as China’s continued efforts to undermine the rules-based order, as they seek to cooperate more in the face of emerging defense threats.
Officials from the two allies met virtually to discuss modernizing and strengthening their security alliance at a time when concerns about China – and growing tensions over Taiwan – have placed more emphasis on the role. of Japan in terms of security.
The ministers “decided to work together to deter and, if necessary, respond to destabilizing activities in the region”, according to a joint statement at the end of the talks.
The ministers said they had “serious and continuing concerns” regarding human rights issues in China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong regions, and stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Chinese region. Taiwan Strait.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the two countries would sign a new defense collaboration agreement to counter emerging threats, including hypersonic missiles and space capabilities.
Blinken said the US-Japan alliance “must not only strengthen the tools we have, but also develop new ones,” citing Russia’s military build-up against Ukraine, Beijing’s “provocative” actions against Taiwan. and North Korea’s latest missile launch.
North Korea fired what it described as a “hypersonic missile” this week that hit a target, its state news agency said.
Russia, China and the United States are also fighting to build hypersonic weapons whose extreme speed and maneuverability make them difficult to spot and block with interceptor missiles.
“We are launching a new research and development agreement that will make it easier for our scientists, engineers and program managers to collaborate on emerging defense issues, from addressing hypersonic threats to advancing space capabilities, ”Blinken said.
While its neighboring countries are testing hypersonic missiles, Japan is working on electromagnetic railgun technology to target this threat.
The government of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida approved record defense spending last month, with a tenth consecutive annual increase.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told his US counterparts that the international community faces challenges, including “corrosive unilateral attempts to change the status quo, the abuse of unfair pressure and the expansion of authoritarian regimes.” .
The two countries will also sign a new five-year agreement covering the retention of U.S. troops in Japan, Blinken said, as part of a deal in which Japan agreed to pay $ 9.3 billion ($ 13 billion Australian dollars) to share the maintenance of the United States. military in Japan.