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Biden, Kishida tout more muscular Japanese military role 


By AFP and published by CNA

Washington – US President Joe Biden and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida touted Tokyo’s beefed-up military posture during White House talks on Friday (Jan. 13) as part of a deepening alliance to maintain stability in the increasingly tense Asia-Pacific.

Hosting Kishida in the Oval Office, Biden said the countries’ “shared democratic values are the source of our strength, the source of our alliance”.

He said they would be discussing “modernising our military alliance” and welcomed “Japan’s historic increase in defence spending and new national security strategy”.

“Let me be crystal clear: the United States is fully, thoroughly, completely committed to the alliance and more importantly to Japan’s defence,” Biden said.

In December, Japan shook up its defence strategy with a pledge to increase spending to two percent of GDP by 2027, adding more muscular capabilities in the face of a rising China and unpredictable, nuclear-armed North Korea.

“Japan and the United States are currently facing the most challenging and complex security environment in recent history,” Kishida told Biden.

The new Japanese defence posture will “ensure peace and prosperity in the region”, he said.

“Japan decided upon fundamentally reinforcing our defence capabilities, including possessing counterstrike capabilities,” he said.

Following the meeting, both countries reiterated the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and warned against any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine.

A joint statement issued by the White House also cited “provocations” by North Korea.

“We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion, anywhere in the world,” the statement said.


Top: US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida discuss increased Japanese defence spending in the Oval Office. Photo: AFP/Mandel Ngan and published by CNA

Front Page: US President Joe Biden welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House on Friday and told him that the United States strongly supports the defence of Japan. Photo: AP and published by Daily Mail

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