Washington – A group of U.S. bipartisan experts on U.S.-Japan relations released a report Monday urging the two countries to strengthen their alliance for “competitive coexistence” with China.
The report also said Tokyo and Washington should strive to achieve a “Six Eyes” intelligence-sharing network comprising the two allies, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“The biggest security challenge for the alliance is China,” said the group, led by former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Harvard University distinguished service professor Joseph Nye.
“Beijing’s efforts to alter the status quo in Asia have heightened security concerns among most of China’s neighbors,” the report said, characterizing U.S. reaffirmation of its commitment to protecting the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, claimed by Beijing, as a key part of the alliance’s response.
“But there is a broader challenge that must be addressed by the United States, Japan and other like-minded nations: how to develop a new framework for competitive coexistence,” the report continued.
The fifth Armitage-Nye report focuses on issues it says Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden need to tackle.
The report said the inclusion of Japan in the Five Eyes network would be “another opportunity for deeper cooperation” between Tokyo and Washington, calling on the two to make “serious efforts” to realize a Six Eyes network.
It also said that denuclearization by North Korea is “unrealistic in the near term,” proposing that the two countries focus on containing Pyongyang by strengthening deterrence and defense.
“Tokyo shares Washington’s concern over growing Chinese military and political pressure on Taiwan,” the report said, seeking increased coordination between the two allies on their political and economic engagement with Taiwan.
On economic and technology cooperation, the report urged the United States to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal among Japan and 10 other economies after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the accord.
It also called on Tokyo and Washington to facilitate private-sector efforts to create alternatives to China’s Huawei Technologies Co. in the race to establish 5G ultrafast communications networks.
On Japan’s possible acquisition of a counterstrike capability, which is being considered by the government, the report said that this “should be part of a larger discussion within the alliance framework about respective roles, missions and capabilities.”
It added that “alliances are not burdens,” urging Washington to “reset” the talks that have been based on Trump’s request that Japan bear a heavier burden of costs related to U.S. forces stationed in the Asian country. It called on the United States to conclude a host nation support agreement with Japan as soon as possible.
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