From right, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki, and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mustin sail in formation in the Philippine Sea (Navy photo of the United States by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Hong/Handout via REUTERS)
The United States and Japan are expanding their joint military operations in the face of the tensions generated in recent months in the region, with the intention of integrating the command structure in the face of a possible conflict with China.
James Bierman, commander of the US Marine Corps in Japan, has explained that the allies in Asia are emulating a job that allows them to support them in supposed scenarios of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, according to an interview with the newspaper ‘Financial Times’ .
The general, who has specified that the two armies “have seen exponential increases” in their operations in the territory, has compared the tensions between Taiwan and China with the situation in Ukraine with Russia.
“Why have we achieved the level of success that we have achieved in Ukraine? A big part of that was because after the Russian aggression in 2014 and 2015, we seriously prepared for future conflicts: training for the Ukrainians, pre-positioning supplies, identifying sites from which we could operate, support, sustain operations.” , has recounted.
F-2 fighters from the 8th Air Wing of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force conduct a joint military drill with B-1B bombers from the US 28th Bomb Wing and F-16 fighters from the 35th Bomb Wing Fighter aircraft off Japan’s southernmost main island, Kyushu, Japan, in this handout photo taken by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and released by the Japan Ministry of Defense Joint Chiefs of Staff Office. Japan Ministry of Defense Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/HANDOUT via REUTERS
“We call that theatrical setting. And we are setting the theater in Japan, in the Philippines, in other places”, added Bierman.
Both Tokyo and Manila are stepping up defense cooperation with Washington, citing growing tension with the Chinese military, which has increased military exercises near Taiwan.
In fact, the Japanese authorities –the Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, and the Foreign and Defense Ministers– are meeting this week with senior US officials to strengthen the bilateral alliance, coinciding with the change in Japanese policy that has proposed increasing spending in defence.
The new line of defense spending proposed by Kishida for 2023 increases by 26.4 percent compared to last year and represents the first step to break the historical ceiling of allocation of 1 percent of GDP to the military sector, with the intention of raise it to 2 percent by 2027, in line with NATO expectations, despite the fact that the country’s fiscal health is the worst among major industrialized economies, with public debt more than twice GDP.
This handout photo released by the Taiwan Presidency shows Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by military commanders, as she witnesses war drills at a military base in Chiayi, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. ( Taiwan Presidency via AP)
The Taiwan Ministry of Defense reported on Monday that it detected more than fifty combat aircraft and four Chinese Army ships near the island, while at least 28 of them entered the Taiwanese air defense identification zone.
After these exercises, the first of this caliber registered this year, the Taiwanese Army sent planes, Navy ships and land missile systems “to respond to these activities,” says the ministerial portfolio.
These movements have occurred after the Chinese authorities denounced the arrival on Monday of a group of German politicians to the island, a trip in which they will meet with the president, Tsai Ing Wen, and other senior government officials.
Chinese military aircraft sorties into Taiwan’s air defense zone nearly doubled in 2022, with the use of bombers and fighters picking up as Beijing steps up its threats against the island.
(with information from EP)
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