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Japan to join AUKUS alliance against Beijing |  USA |  Rahm Emanuel |  Australia

Japan to join AUKUS alliance against Beijing | USA | Rahm Emanuel | Australia

US Ambassador to Tokyo Rahm Emanuel has hinted that Japan “may be on the verge of becoming the first additional pillar two partner” in AUKUS, the trilateral partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This is the first expansion of the defense sharing agreement between the three original partners to include cooperation in areas such as nuclear submarine propulsion and quantum technology.

In return, an Australian government source told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that Japan would cooperate on specific defense technology projects under AUKUS, but not necessarily join the partnership as a full member.

A spokesman for Defense Secretary Richard Marles declined to comment on Emanuel's article.

A pillar of AUKUS is Australia's development of conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines using state-of-the-art US and UK technology.

Pillar Two is a mechanism for AUKUS partners to share advanced defense systems including quantum technology, hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence.

Japan will be keen to cooperate in a number of areas, including advanced robotics, cyber initiatives and anti-submarine warfare.

An announcement may be made this week

Emanuel did not say when an official announcement would take place, but a trilateral summit with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is likely this week when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits Washington to meet US President Joe Biden.

“When President Biden and Mr. Kishida meet, they will mark a profound shift in U.S.-Japan relations as one era ends and another begins,” the ambassador wrote.

US officials have already confirmed that Washington will seriously consider adding Japan as a technology partner.

US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell confirmed an announcement would be made next week, telling reporters the US, UK and Australia were open to other countries joining the deal.

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“I think you're going to hear us say something about it next week,” Campbell said.

President Biden has sought to add to and strengthen partnerships with U.S. allies in Asia, including Japan and the Philippines, amid Beijing's military buildup and growing regional ambitions.

The UK has repeatedly signaled it is open to other countries joining Pillar Two, with its Chief of Joint Staff in 2021 saying AUKUS is not designed to be an “exclusive” arrangement and Japan, New Zealand and Canada could join in the future.

But while Australia has indicated a willingness to cooperate with Japan on AUKUS, Marles suggested in February that it may be some time before that happens.

The defense minister noted that current AUKUS members are “very focused on working on new innovative technologies between the three countries”.

“While Pillar Two is still maturing, which will take a few years…I think there is an opportunity to see how we can cooperate with Japan at this point,” Marles said.

Any decision on which countries will be involved in pillar two will be made by the three current members of AUKUS, whose defense ministers have been considering the issues for months, based on what those countries can contribute to the plan.

Another country likely to join early is New Zealand Made your interest very clear Earlier this year their foreign and defense ministers held bilateral meetings with their Australian counterparts.

Nothing has been announced since then, but last week it was revealed that New Zealand Defense Minister Judith Collins. Meet Honeywell, America's top defense contractor.

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Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk said in a presentation released under the Official Information Act that “AUKUS has indicated that it would like to discuss Pillar 2, aerospace and sustainable technologies.”

“Not being a major defense supplier in New Zealand, we understand that Honeywell is looking to invest in expanding its operations in the region.”

Collins' post on X said the meeting “discusses security, technology, science and space.”

Nice to meet Darius Adamczyk, Executive Chairman of @HoneywellDiscuss security, technology, science and space.

Welcome to New Zealand. ?? pic.twitter.com/DuBNgEXHiG

—Judith Collins (@JudithCollinsMP) February 27 2024

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