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Washington: Both the US and Japan regard China as the largest common strategic challenge that Washington, Tokyo, and their allies confront today, according to US State Secretary Antony Blinken during the 2+2 ministerial meeting with Japanese counterparts.

“We agree that the PRC [the People’s Republic of China] is the greatest shared strategic challenge that we and our allies and partners face,” Blinken said on Wednesday during a press briefing in Washington.

“We stand together with Ukraine against (Russian) President Putin’s war,” he added.

US top diplomat and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomed their Japanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, to the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting to discuss a wide variety of security problems.

According to Japan’s Kyodo News, the two countries’ foreign and defence officials agreed that China’s expanding power poses the “biggest strategic challenge” in the Indo-Pacific area and beyond.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen deterrence and broaden the scope of their security treaty to include space.

According to the Japanese Foreign Minister, China’s foreign policy is focused at constructing an international order that serves Beijing’s interests, which is a major issue for the US-Japan alliance.

Hayashi went on to say that the US and Japan are vehemently opposed to China’s illegal claims, coercive and provocative actions in the South China Sea.

The two sides met just weeks after Japan approved new security and defence strategy guidelines, putting Tokyo on track to acquire “counterstrike” capabilities.

“The ministers agreed that China’s foreign policy aspires to transform the international order to its benefit, and to do so by leveraging China’s expanding political, economic, military, and technical might,” a joint statement stated, as quoted by Kyodo News. “This behaviour is deeply concerning to the alliance and the international community as a whole.”

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