On March 16, 2021, U.S. Secretaries of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with their Japanese counterparts, Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo and Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, for the Security Consultative Committee (SCC) meeting. Better known as the “2+2,” SCC meetings have historically provided the opportunities for alliance managers on both sides to breathe new life into the alliance relationship between Washington and Tokyo, and thus tend to become a subject of intense scrutiny.
The March 16 meeting was no different. The joint statement issued after the meeting attracted considerable attention, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition to reaffirming the significance of the Japan-U.S. alliance as “the cornerstone” of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, the U.S. and Japan notably called out China for behavior that contradicts the values and principles that anchor the existing international order. Furthermore, breaking from past 2+2 statements, the March 2021 joint statement made a clear reference that peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait are critical interests for both the U.S. and Japan. The joint statement issued following the Japan-U.S. summit meeting between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide on April 16 also reiterated the two countries’ shared interest in the peace and stability of Taiwan Strait.
Read the full article in the Diplomat.