Western allies and Japan unite to face threat posed by China, Russia

© AP - Itsuo Inouye

The United States and Japan have unveiled plans to strengthen their military alliance to help counter threats from North Korea and China, which they believe pose the greatest security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.

After Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's recent trip to Paris, where he and French President Emmanuel Macron pledged increased security cooperation in what Japan calls the "free and open Indo-Pacific", Kishida headed to the Americas, where he is to meet US President Joe Biden.

Accompanying him is a delegation including Japan's minister of defence, Hamada Yasukazu, and foreign minister, Hayashi Yoshimasa.

The US visit follows the publication, on 16 December, of Japan's New Security Strategy, a 36-page document that expresses particular concern about China's increasing defence expenditure.

It also warns that Beijing is "strengthening its strategic ties with Russia and attempting to challenge the international order".

Anti-China alliance?

The Japanese paper follows the strongly worded 2022 National Defense Strategy outlined by the US Department of Defence in October, which "places a primary focus on the need to sustain and strengthen US deterrence against China".

But while French-Japanese ties are developing, those between Tokyo and Washington are by far the strongest in what some see as a growing anti-China alliance.

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