Visit to Japan aims to cement Cornerstone alliance> US Department of Defense> Department of Defense News

The visit of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to Japan aims to consult on common concerns and opportunities in the Indo-Pacific, said today a senior defense official.

The official told reporters traveling with Austin that the meetings in Tokyo signify the importance the new administration places on US relations in Northeast Asia.

Blinken and Austin will meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.

The trip is about investing in the US-Japan relationship, “which is our fundamental alliance for the Indo-Pacific strategy,” the official said. “It is a question of maintaining peace and stability in the priority theater of the department and of our country.”

Diplomacy is at the center of American foreign policy. Secretaries from the Defense and State Departments who make visits by the Biden administration’s chiefs of staff to Northeast Asia are sending an unequivocal signal of the importance America places on the relationship. The official said Austin is keen to engage in a deep and sustained discussion about the regional security environment. He will have the Japanese perspective of the region, including the situation in North Korea, the rise of China and the adventurousness of the Russians.

Japan and the United States are allies by treaty. But beyond that, the two countries share a commitment to upholding the rules-based international order, the official said.

Finally, Austin wishes to discuss ways to increase military interoperability with the Japanese leadership. “We have a very strong alliance with Japan, and we will look for ways to strengthen it,” the official said.

He noted that just as the US military is considering a review of its strategic position, so are the Japanese. “So this is an opportunity for us to talk about how we can build interoperability within the alliance to strengthen interoperability within our alliance, what kind of capabilities we need to invest in, [and] how we can work together to better advance our common goals and objectives, ”he said.

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