The United States and Japan are strengthening military ties with the upgraded Marine Corps unit in an effort to deter China


The United States and Japan announced a significant boost to their military relationship and upgraded the status of US military forces in the country on Wednesday, including the stationing of a newly redesigned naval unit with advanced intelligence and surveillance capabilities and the ability to launch anti-ship missiles. According to US officials familiar with the matter.

The US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, said during a press conference with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, and Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu that the 12th Marine Regiment, an artillery regiment, will be renamed the 12th Coastal Marine Regiment.

“We are replacing an artillery battalion with a device that is more lethal, lighter in weight and capable,” he said, adding that the move “will strengthen deterrence in the region and allow us to defend Japan and its people more effectively.”

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

The officials met Wednesday as part of the annual meeting of the US-Japan Security Advisory Committee, days before President Joe Biden plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House.

US officials said Wednesday that the newly refurbished naval unit will be stationed in Okinawa and is intended to 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 From a prominent think tank in Washington, it was found 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.

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Japan expands its defense of the southern front line to confront China (April 2022)

In addition to restructuring the country’s marines, the United States and Japan announced Wednesday that they are expanding their defense treaty to include attacks to and from space amid growing concern about the rapid progress of China’s space program and the development of hypersonic weapons.

In November, China launched three astronauts to its nearing completion space station as Beijing looked to establish a long-term presence in space. China has also explored the far side of the Moon and Mars.

The two allies have declared that Article 5 of the US-Japan Security Treaty, first signed in 1951, applies to attacks from or within space, officials said. In 2019, the United States and Japan made it clear that a defense treaty applies to cyberspace and that a cyberattack could constitute an armed attack under certain circumstances.

“We’re deepening our cooperation across every domain: land, sea, air, and yes, space — cyber and outer,” Blinken said Wednesday. “The outer space element of this is the important security and prosperity of our Alliance. We agree, as you have heard, that attacks on, from, or in space present a definite challenge, and we stress that depending on the nature of those attacks, this may lead to the invocation of Article V of the Japanese Security Treaty American…”

Blinken added that he and Yoshimasa will sign a space agreement later this week during a visit to NASA headquarters in Washington. A statement released Wednesday from NASA said the agreement “will build on countries’ commitment to the peaceful and transparent exploration of space.”

The United States is closely watching China’s rapid development of its hypersonic weapon systems, including one missile in 2021 that circled the globe before launching a hypersonic glider that hit its target. It was a wake-up call for the United States, which was lagging behind China and Russia in advanced hypersonic technology.

The two countries will also rely on their shared use of facilities in Japan and conduct more exercises on Japan’s southwestern islands, a move sure to infuriate Beijing, given its proximity to Taiwan and even China. US officials added that the United States will temporarily deploy MQ-9 Reaper drones to Japan for maritime surveillance of the East China Sea, as well as launch a bilateral group to analyze and exchange information.

The announcement came 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 announcing the increased partnership between the United States and Japan, 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.”

And not only the United States, but Japan and Britain announced on Wednesday that the two countries will sign a “historic defense agreement” that will allow them to deploy troops in the two countries.

The mutual access agreement would allow the two powers to plan military exercises and deployments on a larger and more sophisticated scale, making it “the most significant defense agreement between the two countries in more than a century”, according to a statement from Downing Street on Wednesday. .

The agreement still needs to be ratified by the relevant parliaments before it can take effect. The statement stated that it will be presented to the Japanese Parliament and the British Parliament in the coming weeks.

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