(by Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge) – Tensions between Beijing and Tokyo are about to ratchet further amid widespread reports that the United States and Japan have prepared a statement calling for both to “deter and respond to” China’s aggressive military activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
The statement is expected to be released as President Joe Biden visits Tokyo to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida early next week. Biden will travel to South Korea and Japan from May 20 to May 24, the White House previously announced.
Crucially, according to Nikkei, “The statement to be released after their Monday meeting in Tokyo will also clarify America’s resolve to defend Japan if it is attacked, including with nuclear weapons.”
The meeting will mark Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with the Japanese PM Kishida, coming at a crucial moment that the anti-China stance of both countries have steadily growing over recent years.
When Biden last year met with then-Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the two issue a joint statement calling for stability in the “Taiwan Strait” – which was viewed as a provocative term by China given it was the first joint US-Japan statement to invoke Taiwan in many decades.
Next week’s Asia trip will include Biden rolling out his administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework – which is a plan to counter China economically.
Anticipating the Tokyo meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday warned Japan, stressing that US-Japan cooperation must not “hurt China’s sovereignty, security and development interests” – as quoted in Bloomberg. “China hopes that Japan acts cautiously and learns a lesson from history,” the Chinese foreign ministry was cited further as saying.
It seems Japan is too peaceful — so Australia will help out:
“In the case of confrontation with #China, Japan has pretty strict limits on what it can do.”#AUKUS
Australia-US-Japan defence exercises expected to increase https://t.co/TVwUIWkemN via @ABCaustralia
— Peter Cronau (@PeterCronau) May 18, 2022
Early this year the US administration pledged to help Japan’s fledgling military and coast guard defend the contested Senkanu Islands in the event of a Chinese attack. Biden at the time stressed that the islands are covered under Article V of the Japan-US Security Treaty, related to mutual defense.
Japan has recently voiced that it wants to take its military from a purely defensive posture (which was stipulated under its post-WWII constitution), to one with the capability of being able to launch offensive operations.