US, Japan move nearer on defence amid hypersonic menace

Two international locations look to deepen long-standing defence ties amid unsure regional outlook.

The United States and Japan are set to signal a brand new defence collaboration deal to counter rising threats, together with hypersonic and space-based weaponry, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Thursday.

Foreign and defence ministers from the 2 international locations met just about to debate stepping up safety ties amid a deal with Japan’s worldwide position in per week when North Korea examined what it stated was a hypersonic missile.

Blinken stated the US-Japan alliance “must not only strengthen the tools we have, but also develop new ones”, citing Russia’s army build-up towards Ukraine, Beijing’s “provocative” actions over Taiwan, and the North Korean missile launch.

Russia, China and the US are additionally racing to construct hypersonic weapons whose excessive pace and manoeuvrability make them laborious to identify and block with current missiles.

“We’re launching a new research and development agreement that will make it easier for our scientists, for our engineers and programme managers to collaborate on emerging defence related issues, from countering hypersonic threats to advancing space based capabilities,” Blinken stated on the opening of the assembly.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi advised his US counterparts that the worldwide neighborhood faces challenges together with “unilateral corrosive attempts to change the status quo, abusive use of unfair pressure and the expanding authoritarian regimes”.

The assembly between US and Japanese officers comes a day after Japan signed a safety settlement with Australia.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) – solely the second that Japan has signed with a international energy – was agreed at a digital assembly between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday.

Morrison known as the RAA a “pivotal moment for Australia and Japan” that may “form an important part” of the 2 international locations’ response to “the uncertainty we now face”.

Japan final month authorized document defence spending, with a 10th straight annual improve in 2022.

As its neighbours check hypersonic missiles, Japan has been engaged on electromagnetic “railgun” know-how to focus on these missiles.

Japan and the US are additionally anticipated to signal a brand new five-year settlement on US army bases in Japan, Blinken stated, with Japan saying it has agreed to contribute $9.3bn in the direction of the maintenance of US forces in Japan over the interval.

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