Building on the military ties deepened by the Trump Administration, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be meeting their Japanese counterparts next week to discuss ongoing efforts to deter China and its persistent bullying. This will be the inaugural ‘2+2’ ministerial meeting of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, the Nikkei reported Tuesday.
Separately, the leaders of the four-nation QUAD pact, consisting of the U.S., Japan, Australia and India, will be meeting this week as well for the same purpose.
These meetings come as China is increasingly encroaching on Japanese territorial waters, especially near Japan’s Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, as I wrote about earlier. China has also announced that it has given its paramilitary Coast Guard the authority to fire on boats entering what China claimed waters.
Japan is considering further military moves to protect its islands but has already responded with a decision to permit Japanese Coast Guard vessels to also use force if needed.
Last month, China warned the United States against taking a position on the Senkakus, which Beijing’s foreign ministry has referred to as China’s “inherent territory.”
According to UPI: “The meeting is to take place from Monday to Wednesday next week, and the ‘strengthening of U.S.-Japan deterrence against China’ is expected to be on top of the agenda.” As part of this, shared concerns about China’s new coast guard law will take center stage as well.
Meanwhile, reports CNN, the United States this week could also be holding a virtual summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as the QUAD. The informal, four-nation pact is also growing in prominence as a counterweight to growing Chinese influence and aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
This Chinese aggression includes threats and bullying against Taiwan, Japan, and others in the East and South China Seas, and actual bloodshed in military clashes on India’s border.
This would be the first meeting of the leaders of the QUAD pact since Biden was inaugurated. And the first of all four QUAD leaders.
“The Leaders will discuss regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” an announcement from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said, according to CNN.