Experts urge US, Japan not to draw E.Asia into crossfire as two countries eye biggest upgrade to security pact
Published: Mar 25, 2024 07:51 PM
Japan Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Japan Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

The US and Japan are reportedly planning the biggest upgrade to their security alliance since they signed a mutual defense treaty in 1960 in an obvious move to contain China, which Chinese military experts condemned as having the potential to ruin the hard-won and decades-long peace and stability in East Asia.

The Financial Times, citing sources, revealed on Sunday that US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will announce plans to restructure the US military command in Japan to strengthen operational planning and exercises between the two countries. They will reportedly unveil the plan when Biden hosts Kishida at the White House on April 10.

The Financial Times report said the allies want to bolster their security ties citing concerns over the so-called China threat, which requires their militaries to "cooperate and plan more seamlessly, particularly in a crisis such as a Taiwan conflict."

According to Reuters on Sunday, Washington will consider appointing a four-star commander to oversee its forces in Japan as a counterpart to the head of a proposed Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) headquarters overseeing all of the country's military operations.

Chinese experts pointed out that the US is taking further steps to implement its "Indo-Pacific Strategy" to suppress China and Japan is the US' major "vanguard" in the region.

Citing the Taiwan question as an excuse, Washington is playing its old tricks with reckless attempts to interfere in China's internal affairs, and Washington's move is fanning flames in the region, Chinese military expert Zhang Junshe told the Global Times on Monday.

The plan for deep integration of the command system of US-Japan forces is aimed at the hot issues in the region, mainly pointing to the Taiwan Straits, said Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert and media commentator, who noted that the ambition of the US and Japan to engage in military intervention in hot issues has been fully exposed.

Wei believes that the US wants to make the most of Japan's military resources through the potential upgrade to their bilateral security pact.

Japan is willing to be a pawn of the US but also has its own calculations, Wei said.

Japan has dramatically increased its defense budget for 12 years in a row under the US' indulgence, seeking "normal country" status. This trend is dangerous, Chinese military experts warned.

Japan wants to get rid of the restraints on its military power by the Pacifist Constitution imposed by the Americans after World War II and dreams of becoming an influential political and military power in the world, Zhang explained.

Zhang criticized Washington and Tokyo's use of the excuses of "potential crisis across the Straits," calling the excuses ridiculous. "It goes against the times to strengthen the Cold War mentality of the US-Japan military alliance, which will surely undermine peace and stability in the region," Zhang said.

East Asia is developing well in today's turbulent world, leading some countries to play geopolitical games and provoke conflicts between regional countries for their own schemes, experts said.