Nikkei, Mainichi, and Asahi reported on remarks made online by Special Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea to a group of Japanese journalists in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Nikkei front-paged an article quoting Ambassador Billingslea as saying the United States will continue its close security cooperation with Japan under the Suga administration. Stressing the threats posed by China, which is building up its military capabilities, the U.S. envoy reportedly expressed the United States’ intention to develop medium-range missiles, but said it is premature to discuss the details, including whether Washington would ask Tokyo to deploy them in Japan. The paper also wrote that the special envoy said the purpose of his trip to Japan was to discuss the Chinese Communist Party’s buildup of the Chinese military, saying China may have developed and deployed as many as 2,000 missiles. Noting that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, Ambassador Billingslea reportedly said the two nations will look for ways to strengthen their contributions to their alliance in anticipation of China’s growing aggression.
Mainichi quoted Ambassador Billingslea as saying that China has an obligation under Article 6 of the NPT to negotiate in good faith. The U.S. envoy reportedly said the administration of the Chinese Communist Party appears to feel very free to engage in intimidation, coercion, and blackmail, as it is harassing Japanese fishermen in waters around the Senkakus and illegally constructing military bases on artificial islands in the South China Sea and that there is concern that China wants to become a “nuclear armed bully” with a large number of nuclear weapons. He reportedly added that it is necessary for nations to continue urging China to fulfill its obligation under the NPT. Concerning relations with the Suga administration, Ambassador Billingslea reportedly said he believes the two nations will maintain their close relationship but should look for ways to strengthen their alliance in anticipation of growing Chinese aggression.
Asahi wrote that Ambassador Billingslea held talks with Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori on Tuesday to discuss the threat posed by Chinese missiles. The paper noted that Ambassador Billingslea spoke with journalists from Asahi and other Japanese media outlets ahead of the meeting. The U.S. envoy reportedly commented on the new START treaty, which will expire in February 2021, by saying it is necessary to reconstruct the accord with the involvement of China.