Faced with the growing ambitions of China in the Asia-Pacific region, the prime ministers of United Kingdom Y Japan defense agreement signed in London on Wednesday “of enormous importance” that will allow the deployment of British troops in the Asian archipelago.
Before the signing, scheduled at the historic Tower of London in the framework of a visit by the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishidathe office of its British counterpart rishi shunak assured that it is “the most important defense agreement between the two countries in more than a century”.
The pact, whose negotiation began in 2021, establishes a legal basis for the deployment of British and Japanese troops in their reciprocal territories for the purposes of training and other operations.
READ ALSO: Senasa hopes to open new markets for grapes and avocados until March
“This mutual access agreement is of enormous importance to our two nations. Strengthens our commitment to the Indo-Pacific and underlines our joint efforts to boost the economy of securityDowning Street added.
The pact also reflects Japan’s efforts to strengthen its alliances in the face of growing ambitions of China in the region, which the Japanese executive considers as a “unprecedented strategic challenge” for your security.
Tokyo recently revolutionized its defense and security policy under increasing pressure from Beijing and a year ago already signed a similar agreement with Australia.
This enhanced military cooperation with London represents “a quite significant step forward for both countries in terms of their bilateral defense relationship”, Euan Graham of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told AFP on Wednesday.
And it allows facilitating the deployment of joint operations that was until now “diplomatically complicated” because they required the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on each occasion, he explained.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbinreacted by stating that “The Asia-Pacific region is a place of peaceful development, not a stage for geopolitical games.”
LOOK HERE: The reasons behind the reduced investment in large clinic projects in 2023
“Defense cooperation should promote better mutual understanding, trust and cooperation between countries” and not “create imaginary enemies, much less introduce the old mentality of confrontation between blocs in the region”, added.
China and Japan, the second and third world economies respectively, are important trading partners but their relations have been deteriorating for years. Tokyo regularly denounces Chinese maritime activity around the Senkaku Islands, whose sovereignty Beijing claims.
Since the end of the WWII, Japan has a pacifist constitution that limits its military capacity to defensive actions only.
However, last month the government approved a plan to increase military spending to 2% of GDP by 2027 (double the usual rate) and warned that China was the biggest strategic challenge to its security.
The United Kingdom has also hardened its discourse towards Beijing for years. Sunak described the Asian giant in November as a “systemic challenge” to British interests.
UK, Italy and Japan announced last month that they would co-develop a new, state-of-the-art combat aircraft that should be completed by 2035.
Kishida is visiting London as part of a multi-country G7 tour, which has previously taken him to Paris and Rome and is due to culminate on Friday with a meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington.
Ricardo is a renowned author and journalist, known for his exceptional writing on top-news stories. He currently works as a writer at the 247 News Agency, where he is known for his ability to deliver breaking news and insightful analysis on the most pressing issues of the day.