The United States and Japan are strengthening their military relationship with an upgraded naval unit in an effort to deter China


The United States and Japan are set to announce a significant boost to their military relationship and upgrade the status of US military forces in the country this week, including the stationing of a newly redesigned naval unit with advanced intelligence, surveillance capabilities, and counterfire capability. Barge missiles, according to US officials familiar with the matter.

Ad sends a A strong signal for China It will come as part of a series of initiatives designed to emphasize the acceleration of security and intelligence relations between the two countries.

The news is expected to be announced on Wednesday, when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meet their Japanese counterparts in Washington. The officials are gathering together as part of the annual meeting of the US-Japan Security Advisory Committee, days before President Joe Biden plans to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House.

Officials said the newly refurbished naval unit will be stationed in Okinawa and aims to strengthen deterrence against Chinese aggression in a volatile region and provide a reserve force capable of defending Japan and rapid emergency response. Okinawa is seen as key to US military operations in the Pacific – in part because of this Close to to Taiwan. It houses More than 25,000 of US military personnel and more than two dozen military installations. Approximately 70% of the US military bases in Japan are located in Okinawa. There is one island within Okinawa Prefecture, Yonaguni, less than 70 miles from Taiwan, according to Council on Foreign Relations.

One of the officials said that this is one of the most important adjustments to the status of US military forces in the region in years, stressing the Pentagon’s desire to shift from past wars in the Middle East to the future region in the Indian and Pacific oceans. . Change is coming simulation war games He found from a prominent think tank in Washington that Japan, and Okinawa in particular, would play a decisive role in a military conflict with China, providing the United States with deployment options and forward bases.

“I think it’s fair to say that, in my view, 2023 is likely to be the most transformative year in the status of US forces in the region in a generation,” said Eli Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security. Affairs, at the American Enterprise Institute last month.

This news comes on the heels of the 1st Coastal Marine Regiment being deployed in Hawaii last year as the 3rd Hawaiian Marine Regiment became the 3rd Coastal Marine Regiment – a key part of the Marine Corps modernization efforts outlined in Force Design 2030 Report From Gen. David Berger.

as a service describe themCoastal Marine Regiments are a “mobile, low signature” unit capable of conducting strikes, coordinating air and missile defense, and supporting surface warfare.

Washington Post first reported Changes to be announced soon.

The announcement comes less than a month after Japan unveiled a new national security plan that points to the country’s largest military build-up since World War II, doubling defense spending and deviating from its pacifist constitution in the face of growing threats from regional rivals, including China.

China is increasing its navy and air force in areas near Japan while claiming the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited, Japanese-controlled chain in the East China Sea, as its sovereign territory.

In late December, Japan said Chinese government ships were spotted in the contiguous area around Senkaku, known as the Diaoyus in China, 334 days in 2022, the most since 2012 when Tokyo acquired some of the islands from a private Japanese landowner, Public. NHK announcer reported. From Dec. 22-25, Chinese government ships spent nearly 73 consecutive hours in Japanese territorial waters off the islands, the longest such incursion since 2012, according to an NHK report.

China has also increased military pressure on Taiwan, the self-ruled island, whose security Japanese leaders have said is vital to that of Japan itself. In August, those pressures included Beijing firing five missiles that fell into Japan’s exclusive economic zone near Taiwan in retaliation for then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

Before the announcement was made, Chinese government officials were responding to reports in the Japanese media.

“US-Japanese military cooperation should not harm the interests of any third party or undermine peace and stability in the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press briefing on Tuesday in Beijing.

A State Department official explained that the Ukraine war and the strengthening of Sino-Russian relations prompted the United States and Japan to reach a series of new agreements that had been under consideration for some time.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine, kind of moved things down the warp path a little bit,” the official said. The relationship between Putin and Xi Jinping that we saw in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics kind of showed, wait a minute, the Russians and the Chinese working in new ways. We are facing new challenges.”

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