Following a landmark meeting on Thursday between Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera along with U.S. counterparts John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, where a number of issues including regional security and bilateral relations were discussed, the four officials released a statement calling on China to stick to “international norms of behavior.” As China is involved in a number of territorial disputes in East and Southeast Asia, and many see the country’s rapid growth in military strength as a threat to the region’s security, Japan and the U.S. hope Beijing will work towards being a more transparent and cooperative partner.
Included in the statement from the foreign and defense chiefs was the request for China to “play a responsible and constructive role in regional stability and prosperity,” as well as “improve openness and transparency in its military modernization with its rapid expanding military investments.” The U.S.-Japan security meeting takes place following a full year of heightened tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The last few months have seen hostile actions from China grow from sending official patrol ships into Japan’s territorial waters around the islands, to having unmanned drones come close to entering Japanese airspace.
Among the important agreements made between the Western and Eastern allies was to revise the U.S.-Japan bilateral defense treaty for the first time in over 16 years, a response, they said, to the changing environment of the Asia-Pacific region. Included in these changes are the U.S.’s deployment of Global Hawk drones to Japan, in order to help with surveillance over the Senkaku Islands, and the issuing of a new X-band radar system in order to better track and intercept possible missile threats from North Korea. The other key decision made was to set the price of Japan’s contribution the relocation of U.S. Marines in Okinawa to Guam and other Pacific islands at $3.1 billion.
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