Asahi took up the disclosure by several sources involved in U.S.-Japan relations that China has pressured Japan and South Korea not to base U.S. mid-range missiles on their soil. According to the sources, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang told his Japanese and ROK counterparts in separate bilateral meetings held in Beijing in August that allowing the deployment of such U.S. projectiles would have “serious consequences” for bilateral relations. Then Foreign Minister Kono reportedly told Wang in reply: “Japan is within the range of China’s missiles. China is the one that should take the first step toward arms reduction.” The daily claimed that DOD Assistant Secretary Schriver briefed Japanese officials in October on China’s opposition to the possible deployment of U.S. mid-range missiles in East Asia following his earlier trip to Beijing. The three partners have reportedly agreed that they do not need to discuss the matter with China or Russia.
While speculating that the deployment of U.S. mid-range missiles may develop into an issue between Tokyo and Beijing after President Xi’s state visit to Japan next spring, the article quoted a MOFA source as saying the U.S. probably will not deploy such missiles in the region until five years from now. The paper added that in December the U.S. will hold with Japan and South Korea separate “extended deterrence dialogues” that might cover the subject.