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Why Japan is centre stage in anti-China alliance

The US regards Tokyo as a critical bulwark against the advance of China in Asia-Pacific.

Published Thu, Mar 11, 2021 · 05:50 AM

JAPAN'S growing geopolitical importance will be showcased in coming days as the country hosts the US Secretary of State and Defence Secretary on Monday, and helps convene a reported Quad meeting of Prime Ministers Yoshihide Suga, Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison, and President Joe Biden too.

Next week's visit by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Lloyd Austin to Tokyo will be the first major overseas trip of both key Biden team officials. Their destination, where they will meet for so-called two-plus-two talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, reflects growing US concerns about the challenge posed by a rising China, and North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

It is China's increasingly assertive foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region that is top of the agenda, and the United States is seeking to strengthen ties with its key regional allies. Japan is at the heart of this with the nation increasingly perceived by the Biden team as a critical bulwark against the advance of China and potentially Russia in Asia-Pacific, as was the case during the Cold War too.

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