Dangerous Crossroads: US-Japan Talks Escalate War Preparations against China

SOURCE – The so-called “2 plus 2” meeting in Tokyo this week of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel with their Japanese counterparts marked a significant escalation of the US military build-up against China. The lengthy joint statement announced major deployments of hi-tech US weaponry to Japan and a green light for Japanese remilitarisation, within the framework of “a more robust alliance”.Thursday’s talks took place in the wake of the Obama administration’s decision to postpone an imminent military attack on Syria last month in the face of mass popular opposition, both in the United States and around the world. The “2 plus 2” meetings make clear that despite the postponement of war with Syria, Washington’s plans for military escalation are proceeding apace.

Washington’s decision to back down provoked consternation among US allies not only in the Middle East, but in Asia, where Obama’s “pivot” has encouraged Japan and other countries to adopt a more aggressive stance towards China.

Fears that American allies could be left out on a limb were underscored this week when Obama cancelled his high-profile trip to South East Asia amid the crisis in Washington generated by the government shutdown. While the Obama administration has repeatedly declared the “rebalancing” of US military forces to the Indo-Pacific region would be quarantined from austerity measures, such pledges are called into question by the political turmoil over the budget.

The “2 plus 2” meeting on Thursday sent the unmistakable message that the US is proceeding with its military build-up in Asia that includes stationing 60 percent of American naval and air force assets in the region by 2020. The American deployments announced in the joint statement are all directed at strengthening US-Japanese military against China. These include:

* The stationing of a second X-band early warning radar in Japan near Kyoto, as part of joint anti-ballistic missile systems. While nominally directed against North Korea’s primitive nuclear capabilities, these weapons are part of the Pentagon’s preparations for nuclear war against China and Russia.

* The basing of advanced P-8 surveillance and anti-submarine planes starting in December 2013 and long-range Global Hawk drones next year. The stepping up of US maritime surveillance in the East China and South China Seas, where the US “pivot” has exacerbated tense maritime disputes with China, including with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu island, is particularly provocative.

* Two squadrons of MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off transport planes will enhance the capacity of the Japanese military to rapidly deploy troops in the event of a conflict over the Senkakus. The Pentagon also plans to deploy F-35B vertical take-off stealth fighters by 2017—again for the first time outside the US—boosting its ability to carry out its Air-Sea Battle strategy for a blitzkrieg against military targets inside China.

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