U.S. seeks stronger ties with Japan to counter China

Both countries aim to establish a beneficial strategic partnership that also contributes to a balanced and stable Indo-Pacific region.

To address the growing influence and power of China on the global stage, President Joe Biden’s administration is focusing on enhancing the United States’ strategic and diplomatic relationships with key allies in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Japan.

This approach is multifaceted, involving strengthening military alliances, deepening economic partnerships, and fostering closer diplomatic ties. The goal is to create a more robust network of support among like-minded nations to ensure regional stability, uphold the rules-based international order, and counterbalance China’s assertive policies and actions, which range from territorial claims in the South China Sea to economic practices considered unfair by many in the international community.

Strengthening military alliances involves increased cooperation in defense technology, joint military exercises, and strategic planning to address mutual security concerns, including threats in the East China Sea and the Korean Peninsula. By enhancing defense capabilities and interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese forces, the allies aim to deter aggressive actions and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
On the economic front, the U.S. seeks to deepen trade and investment ties with Japan, recognizing the country’s critical role in global supply chains and technological innovation. Collaborative efforts in sectors such as digital trade, cybersecurity, and clean energy are intended to promote sustainable growth and reduce dependency on China for critical technologies and materials.

Diplomatically, the Biden administration aims to work closely with Japan to coordinate policies on China, North Korea, and other regional issues. This includes multilateral diplomacy through forums like the Quad (which also includes Australia and India), to enhance collective capabilities in areas such as infrastructure investment, public health, and disaster response, thereby providing alternatives to China’s regional initiatives.

Overall, by strengthening ties with Japan, the U.S. hopes to solidify a strategic partnership that not only benefits both nations but also contributes to a balance of power in Asia that prevents any single nation from dominating the region to the detriment of others. This strategy reflects a broader shift towards multilateralism and collective security in U.S. foreign policy in the face of evolving global challenges.

Strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Japan is seen as a crucial strategy in countering China’s rising influence on several fronts. On the military and security front, the challenges include China’s assertive territorial claims and maritime activities in the East and South China Seas, which directly conflict with interests of the U.S. and its allies, including Japan. Enhancing the U.S.-Japan military alliance through joint defense capabilities and strategic planning is essential for maintaining regional stability and ensuring freedom of navigation in these contested waters. This collaboration also extends to addressing the threat posed by North Korea, with both nations benefiting from shared intelligence and missile defense systems.

Economically, both the U.S. and Japan are seeking to reduce their dependencies on China by diversifying supply chains, particularly in critical sectors such as semiconductors. By solidifying economic partnerships, the two countries aim to build more resilient supply networks and promote fair trade practices, offering an alternative to China-led economic initiatives.

This cooperation is also crucial in the technological realm, where the U.S. and Japan are at the forefront of innovation. Collaborating on research and development in emerging technologies not only positions them as leaders in fields like artificial intelligence and quantum computing but also counters China’s ambitions to dominate these sectors.

In terms of cybersecurity, the partnership is vital for safeguarding against sophisticated cyber threats, including espionage and cyber attacks, which are areas of concern with respect to China. Diplomatically, a closer U.S.-Japan relationship underpins efforts to promote a free, open, and rules-based international order, challenging aggressive behaviors and promoting democratic values and human rights in contrast to China’s governance model.

Moreover, global challenges such as climate change and pandemic preparedness are areas where the U.S. and Japan can lead international efforts together, reducing reliance on China and enhancing global health and environmental sustainability.

By reinforcing these collaborative efforts across military, economic, technological, and diplomatic domains, the U.S. and Japan aim to establish a strategic partnership that not only benefits both nations but also contributes to a balanced and stable Indo-Pacific region.

The Philippines fits into the U.S.-Japan efforts to counter China’s influence as a pivotal ally, contributing to the strategic, economic, and diplomatic initiatives aimed at ensuring a balanced, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Its geographic location, stretching across key maritime routes in the South China Sea, makes the Philippines a critical ally for both the United States and Japan in ensuring regional security, freedom of navigation, and the upholding of international law, particularly in disputed waters where China has been asserting expansive territorial claims.

From a security perspective, the Philippines is an essential partner in the network of alliances and defense agreements that the U.S. maintains in the Asia-Pacific region. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and the Philippines, for example, allows for an increased rotational presence of U.S. troops in the Philippines and access to Philippine military bases. This enhances the strategic posture of the U.S. in the region, providing platforms for joint military exercises, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response operations. Similarly, Japan has been engaging with the Philippines to enhance maritime security, offering patrol vessels and other equipment to boost the capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard, and engaging in joint exercises.

Economically, both the U.S. and Japan view the Philippines as a vital partner in diversifying supply chains and reducing dependency on China. Investments in infrastructure, technology, and manufacturing in the Philippines by Japanese and American companies are seen as steps towards building a more resilient economic structure in the region. These investments also aim to stimulate economic growth within the Philippines, offering alternatives to economic engagement with China.

On the diplomatic front, the Philippines is part of several multilateral forums and initiatives, such as ASEAN and the Quad’s outreach efforts, where the U.S. and Japan seek to build coalitions to promote a rules-based international order, address regional disputes peacefully, and support economic development and democratic values.

The Philippines’ own disputes with China over territories in the South China Sea make it a vocal advocate for international law and sovereign rights, aligning with the broader U.S.-Japan strategy of countering China’s assertive actions through diplomatic and legal means.

In facing global challenges such as climate change and public health issues, the Philippines’ participation in international initiatives supported by the U.S. and Japan further solidifies its role as a key player in regional stability and development efforts. This collaboration highlights the interconnectedness of security, economic, and environmental challenges in the region, and the importance of a united approach in addressing them.