Biden, Kishida to discuss Japan ‘stepping up’ security


WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and Prime Minister. Fumio Kishida were set for wide-ranging talks at the White House. On Friday as Japan seeks to build security cooperation. With allies amid growing concerns over provocative Chinese and North Korean military moves.

The two administrations were also set to seal an agreement on Friday. To strengthen US-Japanese cooperation in space in a ceremony signed. By Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa.

The Oval Office meeting and signing ceremony at NASA’s. Washington headquarters will cap a weeklong tour for Kishida. That takes him to five European. And North American capitals to discuss efforts to strengthen Japan’s security.

Japan last month announced plans to raise defense. Spending to 2% of gross domestic product in five years. A dramatic increase in spending for a nation. That took a pacifist approach to its defense after World War II. Japan’s defense spending has been below 1 percent of GDP.

“Japan is and has been moving in lockstep with the United States.” Said John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

Blinken said earlier this week that the U.S.-Japan. Space cooperation framework is “decades in the making.” And “covers everything from joint research to working.

Together to land the first woman and person of color on the moon.

He added that the US and Japan agree that China is their “greatest. Shared strategic challenge” and confirmed that an attack in space would trigger. A mutual defense provision in the US-Japan security treaty.

Ahead of Friday’s meeting between the two leaders, US. And Japanese officials announced adjustments to the American troop presence. On the island of Okinawa to boost anti-ship capabilities. That would be needed in the event of Chinese incursions or other hostilities in Taiwan. Works in the region. Japan is strengthening defenses on the southwestern islands near Taiwan. Including Yonaguni and Ishigaki, where new bases are being built.

Japan’s push to boost defense spending and coordination comes amid growing concerns. That China could take military action to seize Taiwan and concerns. That a spike in North Korean missile tests could push. The isolated country to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

The talks with Biden “will be a valuable. Opportunity to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance. And ensure our close cooperation and our efforts together towards achieving a free.

His meeting with Biden is the culmination of a week of talks with fellow Group of Seven. Keaders that focused on his efforts to boost Japan’s defense spending. And calls for the leaders to improve cooperation.

Along with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He cemented Japan’s first defense treaty with a European country.

Allowing the two countries to hold joint military exercises.

Kishida also discussed hopes of improving security cooperation between Japan. And their respective countries with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Ltalian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron. Germany was the only G-7 country not on Kishida’s itinerary.

Japan last month announced plans to buy US-made Tomahawks. And other long-range cruise missiles that could hit targets in China or North Korea under. And Italy unveiled plans to cooperate on next-generation jets. Fighter project.

“a few years ago, there was some discomfort in Washington with a Japan. That had this kind of military capability,” said Chris Johnstone, who is now Japan chair at the center. for Strategic and International Studies. “Those days are gone.”

Biden administration officials praised Japan for taking action after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Japan was quick to join the US and other Western. Allies in imposing aggressive sanctions on Moscow. And Japanese carmakers Mazda, Toyota and Nissan announced their withdrawal from Russia.

Biden administration officials have been surprised by. Japan’s intense efforts to overhaul its security.

A senior administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss. The talks with the Japanese, noted that negotiations involving. The position of U.S. forces in Okinawa have been “fraught. Challenging and difficult” and have often taken years to complete.

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