Skip to content

U.S. Moves To Upgrade Asian Ring Around China, Japan and Philippines

March 25, 2024 (EIRNS)—President Joe Biden has scheduled a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on April 10 in Washington, followed by a trilateral summit with Kishida and Philippine President Bongbong Marcos on the April 11, both oriented to “upgrade the security alliance” in a ring around China. This follows yet another military spat in the South China Sea on March 16, when the Philippine Navy again tried to resupply the fake military outpost (which is actually the intentionally grounded warship on one of the contested shoals). Two PLA Coast Guard ships used water cannons to block their way, provoking the U.S. State Department to issue a stern warning to China that the U.S. has pledged to defend all Philippine ships in the region.

Biden and Kishida will announce plans to restructure the U.S. military command in Japan to strengthen operational planning and exercises between the nations, according to China’s Global Times daily. Japan has over the past couple of years dramatically increased its security capabilities, the Global Times reports, spending much more on defense, including plans to buy U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles. The Japanese military is also setting up a “Joint Operations Command” next year to improve coordination between the branches of its own Self-Defense Forces.

Tokyo has long urged the U.S. to give the three-star U.S. Forces Japan commander more operational authority, saying closer coordination on the ground was needed.

One model the Biden administration is considering involves creating a new U.S. military joint task force that would be attached to the U.S. Pacific Fleet, one of the component commands at Indo-Pacom in Hawaii. The fleet’s four-star commander would spend more time in Japan than at present and would have an enhanced support structure in the country. Over time, the task force, which would include different parts of the U.S. military, would shift to Japan.