Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo on Tuesday. The US and Japan released a joint statement on the meeting where they slammed China and said the two countries are committed to opposing Beijing in the region.
“The United States and Japan acknowledged that China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military, and technological challenges to the Alliance and to the international community,” the statement said.
The officials “committed to opposing coercion and destabilizing behavior toward others in the region, which undermines the rules-based international system.”
The officials reaffirmed Washington’s “unwavering commitment” to defend Japan and also reaffirmed that the Senkaku Islands are covered under the US-Japan mutual defense treaty. The Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyus as they are known in China, are Japanese-controlled uninhabited islands that are also claimed by China and Taiwan.
Chinese coast guard vessels occasionally enter waters near the Senkaku Islands, drawing protests from Tokyo and warnings from Washington. Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi agreed that US and Japanese forces will continue to conduct joint military drills in the East China Sea.
The visit to Tokyo comes a few days before Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will meet with China’s top two diplomats in Anchorage, Alaska. The US and Beijing are taking different approaches to the talks that will begin on Thursday.
The Biden administration is presenting the Anchorage meeting as a forum to confront China on all sorts of issues, while Beijing is hoping it will be a platform to reset relations with the US.