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The US and Japan commit to strengthening security cooperation – 01/12/2023 at 02:09

by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – The United States and Japan said on Wednesday they would step up security cooperation, with Washington also applauding Tokyo’s move to expand its military capabilities.

“We believe that China (the People’s Republic of China, editor’s note) represents for us and our allies the greatest strategic challenge”, declared US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after meeting his Japanese counterpart in Washington.

The Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, for his part, announced the establishment of a regiment of marines in Japan, which would enable the deployment of important capabilities there, such as anti-ship missiles.

The two countries have also agreed to extend the terms of their defense treaty to space, Antony Blinken added.

Lloyd Austin will meet Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada again on Thursday, ahead of talks between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Antony Blinken also welcomed Tokyo’s decision to strengthen its military capabilities by doubling defense spending to around 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) over five years.

“It’s very simple, we welcome this new strategy with pleasure, especially because it harmonizes remarkably with ours,” he said.

(With contributions from Humeyra Pamuk, David Brunnstrom and Eric Beech; French version Camille Raynaud)

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