Nikkei wrote that Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin repeatedly stressed the U.S. policy of attaching importance to the alliance with Japan at their 2+2 meeting. The daily said Japan has grown in strategic importance as China has risen, conjecturing that China’s rise is the reason the two secretaries chose Japan as the first leg of their first overseas trip. The United States and Japan did not mention China by name in their last four 2+2 meetings and they called on China in 2013 to play a responsible and constructive role for the stability and prosperity in the region. However, the two nations criticized China by name yesterday. The daily said this demonstrates the change in the U.S. view of China in the past eight years. According to the paper, Washington’s expectations for Tokyo to play a greater role in dealing with such issues as the deployment of medium-range missiles in the Asia- Pacific and the establishment of supply chains for semiconductors to reduce dependence on China are behind the United States’ attachment of importance to Japan.
Asahi wrote that Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin have used the words “force multiplier” repeatedly to explain the administration’s policy of quickly reestablishing its relationships with other allies and partners who share such universal principles as democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The daily said Secretary Blinken’s strong criticism of China over Hong Kong, Taiwan, the situation in Xinjiang, as well as the recent coup in Burma, illustrated the Biden administration’s renewed focus on democratic values. The paper added that the U.S. administration is hoping that the two secretaries’ Asia trip will help strengthen coordination between Japan and South Korea, which is the weakest link in the three-way partnership.