Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday pledged alongside US President Joe Biden to modernize his country’s military, warning that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had opened a dangerous new era and could embolden China.
Welcoming Kishida at the White House, Biden hailed the Japanese government’s announcement last month that it would double defense spending over the next five years and develop new capabilities.
“Let me be crystal clear: the United States is fully, thoroughly, completely committed to the alliance and, more importantly, to Japan’s defense,” Biden said.
Japan has been officially pacifist since its defeat in World War II, but has been shedding past sensitivities as China rapidly expands its military and North Korea tests new missile capability.
In a speech after his White House meeting, Kishida cast his defense strategy as a historic turning point in the US-Japan alliance, in the same league as the mutual defense treaty of 1960.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has marked the complete end of the post-Cold War world,” Kishida said at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
“If we let this unilateral change in the status quo by force go unchallenged, it will happen elsewhere in the world, including Asia,” Kishida said, in an apparent allusion to fears of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
“It is absolutely imperative for Japan, the United States and Europe to stand united in managing our respective relationship with China,” he added.
Japan has joined Western powers in imposing sanctions on Russia and has provided humanitarian — although not military — aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February last year.
Kishida called it a “major shift” in Japan’s policy toward Russia following unsuccessful marathon talks to resolve a dispute over islands seized by Soviet troops shortly after Tokyo’s surrender in 1945.
Kishida was visiting Washington at the end of a tour of G7 nations in Europe and North America.
“Japan’s participation in the measures against Russia transformed the fight against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine from a transatlantic one to a global one,” Kishida said.
Biden hailed Japan’s firmness on Ukraine during the leaders’ meeting in the Oval Office.
Kishida also discussed with Biden Washington’s restrictions on the export of key technology to China, announced in October, in an effort to stifle Beijing’s development of a semiconductor supply chain.
Kishida told Biden that he would deal with chip export restrictions appropriately, an official told reporters following the leaders’ meeting.
“They agreed on the importance of managing exports of sensitive technology, particularly from the point of view of economic security,” Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara said.
Japan will continue to deal with the issue based on the direction of regulations of partner countries, including the US, Kihara cited Kishida as saying in the meeting.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg and Reuters
CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT: A new committee would investigate a backlog of US weapons sales to Taiwan, said its chairman, US Representative Mike Gallagher The US should formally recognize Taiwan as an independent nation, and end its outdated and counterproductive “one China” policy, US Representative Tom Tiffany and 18 other US lawmakers wrote in a petition. “It is time to change the status quo and recognize the reality denied by the US government for decades: Taiwan is an independent nation,” Tiffany told the Epoch Times. “As our long-standing and valued partner, correctly acknowledging their independence from communist China is long overdue.” The resolution also asks the administration of US President Joe Biden to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations and to negotiate a bilateral free-trade
The Pentagon is preparing for US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy to visit Taiwan later this year, Punchbowl News reported on Monday, citing an official directly involved in the talks. US administration officials anticipate McCarthy would visit Taiwan some time in the spring, the report said. McCarthy had previously pledged to visit Taiwan if he became House speaker. He was elected speaker earlier this month. He had also said that he would have liked to join then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delegation when she visited Taiwan in August last year. Pelosi’s 19-hour visit to Taipei marked the first time in 25 years
Taiwan’s Chou Chieh-yu (周婕妤) was crowned the Kamui WPA Women’s World 9-Ball Champion after shutting out British pool titan Allison Fisher 9-0 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the organizers said on Sunday. Following the championship win at Harrah’s Resort and Casino Atlantic City, Chou pocketed US$30,000 and became the first female competitor to hold both the 9-ball and 10-ball world titles since Briton Kelly Fisher in 2012. Chou, 36, won the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship in Austria in September last year after clinching a silver medal at last year’s World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, in July. “I’m very excited and it’s like
JOINT OPERATIONS: Participating in the IMET program, which offers professional training and education to military personnel, would boost Taiwan’s defense capabilities The US government is appropriating funding to help Taiwan participate in its International Military Education & Training (IMET) program to enhance interoperability and capabilities for joint operations of the Taiwanse and US militaries. The funding for Taiwan’s participation in the program is mentioned in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023, a US$1.7 trillion spending bill funding the US federal government for the fiscal year 2023. It covers funding for military support for Ukraine, defense spending and regions affected by natural disasters. The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that IMET is an important US