Japan’s Kishida Addresses Congress, Calls China the ‘Greatest Strategic Challenge’

Biden and Kishida announced several steps to strengthen the US-Japan alliance as part of US preparations for a future war with China

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivered an address to Congress on Thursday and declared China the “greatest strategic challenge” facing the world.

“Close coordination between Japan and the US is required more than ever to ensure that deterrence that our alliance provides remains credible and resilient,” Kishida said, according to The South China Morning Post.

“China’s current external stance and military actions present the unprecedented and the greatest strategic challenge, not only to the peace and security of Japan, but to the peace and stability of the international community at large,” he added.

Kishida also praised the US for its role in leading the Western proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. “The Ukraine of today may be the East Asia of tomorrow,” he said. “The leadership of the United States is indispensable. Without US support, how long before the hopes of Ukraine would collapse under the onslaught from Moscow?”

A day earlier, President Biden hosted Kishida at the White House, and the two leaders announced new steps to bolster the US-Japan alliance, including an upgrade to military command and control structures to facilitate more military cooperation.

“We announce our intention to bilaterally upgrade our respective command and control frameworks to enable seamless integration of operations and capabilities and allow for greater interoperability and planning between US and Japanese forces in peacetime and during contingencies,” Biden and Kishida said in a joint statement.

They also announced plans to increase joint weapons production and the potential inclusion of Japan in the AUKUS military pact, which focuses on military technology sharing. “Recognizing Japan’s strengths and the close bilateral defense partnerships with the AUKUS countries, AUKUS partners – Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – are considering cooperation with Japan on AUKUS Pillar II advanced capability projects,” the statement said.

Japan is a key part of the US’s preparations for a future war with China since it hosts over 50,000 troops, the largest foreign US military presence. Besides bolstering its own military footprint in Japan, the US is also encouraging Tokyo to build up its military, which breaks from Japan’s post-World War II constitution that renounces war and says armed forces with war potential should never be maintained. Kishida has announced several steps to significantly strengthen Japan’s military, including raising the military budget by 56%.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.