TOKYO: Japan and the United States have agreed to discuss updating 15-year-old guidelines on their security alliance in view of China’s growing military presence in the region, a Japanese official said.
After meeting high-level US officials, Senior Vice Defence Minister Akihisa Nagashima toldJapanese media in Washington Friday (Saturday, Japan time) the two countries had “agreed to deepen Japan-US strategic consultations”.
He said the two countries were oriented “in the same direction” on Tokyo’s proposal to revise guidelines on Japan-US defence cooperation, which were introduced in 1997 with a focus on possible conflict on the Korean peninsula.
Nagashima was speaking after separate meetings with Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell.
The agreement comes at a time when state-operated Chinese ships have been spotted loitering in waters near Japan-controlled islands at the centre of a dispute with China and Taiwan, stoking fears of a maritime clash.
Japan’s nationalisation in mid-September of some of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, has stoked tensions in the East China Sea, with Japanese coastguard patrol ships chasing away Chinese flotillas.
In Washington the two sides confirmed they would discuss reviewing their defence roles in the face of China’s military build-up and its naval expansion.