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U.S. and Japan Say They Will Strengthen Military Cooperation

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Below the brand new U.S. deployment association in Japan, Marines who’re serving in Okinawa as a part of the twelfth Marine Regiment, an artillery unit, will rework right into a extra cell unit — the twelfth Marine Littoral Regiment. The brand new configuration will permit them to extra simply fan out to different islands alongside the coast when the necessity arises, U.S. officers stated.

The littoral regiment may have battalion-size models, about 2,000 troops whole, and have long-range hearth capabilities that may hit ships. Mr. Austin stated the change will result in a presence that’s “extra deadly, extra agile, extra succesful.”

The settlement is not going to improve the variety of Marines serving in Okinawa, officers stated. However it can permit Marines to extra shortly deploy if tensions intensify within the area. Pentagon officers stated the restructuring is partially to cope with China’s rising army exercise and presence, together with across the island of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that the Chinese language Communist Occasion intends to carry below its rule.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine final yr has made American, Taiwanese and Japanese officers extra anxious about the potential for China attempting a transfer on Taiwan — maybe not within the coming months or years, however possibly by the top of the last decade. A lot depends upon how Chinese language officers understand the stability of army power within the area, which incorporates American forces, U.S. officers say.

In August, China alarmed Japan when it fired ballistic missiles within the waters round Taiwan to ship a message of aggression to the island and to the USA after Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited in a present of assist. 5 of the missiles landed within the unique financial zone off Japan’s coast, the primary such incidence.

Japanese officers have additionally been disquieted by a collection of joint army workout routines carried out by China and Russia within the area. The 2 nations held one such train in Might, the primary one that they had executed collectively since Russia invaded Ukraine. Mr. Biden was visiting Tokyo on the time for a gathering of the Quad, a coalition of the USA, Japan, India and Australia that was shaped partially to counter China’s rising energy.

China and Japan haven’t resolved territorial disputes over waters and islands within the East China Sea. The Japanese and American militaries have famous elevated Chinese language maritime exercise within the space, U.S. officers stated.

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