The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Downing Street on Thursday and praised Japan’s “strong stance” against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Boris Johnson also pointed out the similarities between the conflict in Ukraine and the security situation in Asia.
The British Prime Minister stressed that “there is a direct reading of the actions of authoritarian and coercive forces in Europe in the face of what could happen in East Asia. We need to work more together.”
The British Prime Minister’s office stressed that the defense agreement will allow the armed forces of the two countries to be mobilized for training, joint exercises and disaster relief.
Downing Street said in a statement that heads of government agreed that “democracies around the world need to stand together against authoritarian regimes.”
Fumio Kishida’s first official visit to the UK as Prime Minister was marked by demonstration flights of three RAF aircraft in London.
Japan is one of the countries that condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which joined Western countries in imposing sanctions on Moscow and supplied Kyiv with helmets and other non-lethal military items.
Tokyo fears that the conflict in Europe will have an impact on East Asia, as the Chinese military has become increasingly assertive and threatens to unify Taiwan by force if necessary.
The UK, for its part, has demonstrated a penchant for the Indo-Pacific in its foreign policy since its exit from the European Union (EU) in 2020, and Japan is its key ally in East Asia.
For Chris Hughes, Professor of International Politics and Japanese Studies at the University of Warwick, Kishida’s visit would “support a ‘quasi-alliance’ between the UK and Japan, which has been in the making for the past decade or so”.
London is expected to soon announce the appointment of Greg Clark as its new trade envoy to Japan, as the UK negotiates entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Comprehensive Progressive Agreement (CPTPP).
Japan and the United Kingdom are among 14 countries that sent troops in August to hold annual military exercises between the Indonesian and US militaries in the Sumatra archipelago and Borneo island, at a time when tensions with Beijing are rising in the South China Sea. An area for commercial transportation, most of which is claimed by China.
The United Kingdom has also concluded with the United States and Australia a security agreement, Aukus, in the Indo-Pacific region, which is intended to combat Chinese influence.
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