Secretaries Blinken and Austin Offer Japan an Anti-China Alliance with United States
March 16 , 2021 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had a conference in Tokyo on March 16 with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. Afterwards they met with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Following up on the Quad meetings, and looking toward the scheduled meeting in Alaska on March 18 with top Chinese officials, the Biden administration seems to be setting the stage for continued geopolitical games at that meeting with the Chinese.
In Tokyo, Blinken focused upon the “shared values” theme against the supposedly repressive actions of China: “Because we’ve seen in our countries that those values actually make us stronger, and because they’re under threat in many places, including in the region—whether it’s in Burma or whether in different ways in China.” His joint statement with Motegi included the formulation: “China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military and technological challenges.”
The readout from the State Department, entitled “The United States and Japan Expand Indo-Pacific Economic Cooperation,” “expressed concern over the expansion of authoritarian and aggressive actions” by China. It included an obligatory reference to “Free and Open Indo-Pacific with regard to economic issues.” Of course, decarbonization and cybersecurity were also included. The two sides will work, post-COVID, on “a sustainable, resilient, and green recovery.” Of note, it cited the Feb. 21 “Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains” and Japan’s cooperation on enhancing “supply chain resilience in sectors of mutual interest....” On COVID: “Under the auspices of the Quad meeting, the United States and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to expanding global vaccine manufacturing and supporting vaccination for people in need in the Indo-Pacific.” The Quad meeting has made plans for supporting vaccine production in India for delivery to Southeast Asia in 2022.
In a brief press conference after the meetings, Blinken told reporters: “China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law.” Austin asserted that we’ll no longer ignore the threatening Chinese military buildup: “For the last two decades, we’ve been focused on— necessarily focused on issues in the Middle East, and while we were focused on issues in the Middle East, China has modernized its military.... And so our goal is to make sure that we maintain a competitive edge over China.”