Japan’s Hayashi says ‘brute force logic’ is gaining traction in the Indo-Pacific

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi delivers a keynote address with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda (not pictured) at the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Advisory Committee (EPCC) at the Department of State in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2022. REUTERS /Tom Brenner/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi sounded the alarm over China’s behavior in the Indo-Pacific during a visit to Washington on Friday, saying the “logic of brute force “was gaining ground on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific. Peaceful.

In a speech to a think tank in Washington, Hayashi referred to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said such actions should never be allowed anywhere else. He said it was essential that this be seen as a “clear failure” or else other countries would try to change the status quo by force.

Referring to the flights of joint Chinese and Russian bombers near Japan in May, Hayashi said enhanced military coordination between China and Russia was becoming a security concern.

“We stand at a historic crossroads right now, fraught with a sense of crisis,” he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We are facing a decisive moment.” “Even in this region, the ‘logic of brute force’ is gaining ground over the ‘rule of law’, and the strategic balance in the region is increasingly a challenge for Japan and the United States. “, he said, referring to the Indo-Pacific.

Hayashi said “ongoing unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas” were of growing concern and referred to rising tensions between China and Taiwan. saying that stability across the Taiwan Strait was “extremely important”.

While repeatedly highlighting the threats posed by China, Hayashi largely avoided mentioning it by name, but said it was essential to maintain a “frank and high-level dialogue” with Beijing and that cooperation was essential. also important with her when necessary, such as on climate change. and North Korea.

Hayashi said there was an urgent need to strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-US alliance and said the government in Tokyo planned to significantly increase defense budgets and fundamentally strengthen the defense capabilities of the Japanese-American alliance. five years from now.

Hayashi, who was in Washington to launch a new “two plus two” economic dialogue with the United States, said it was necessary to keep all options, including “counterattack capabilities”, on the table. and build high-tech defense capabilities. .

He also said it was crucial that the credibility of the US’ extended deterrence be bolstered – a reference to the US nuclear weapons umbrella that protects allies, including Japan – while calling on China, which it said he, “was rapidly building up his nuclear force in an opaque environment”. way”, to participate in efforts to reduce nuclear risk.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Simon Lewis in Washington and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Mary Milliken and Chizu Nomiyama

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