Tokyo [Japan], March 21 (ANI): To counter China's aggressiveness in the East China Sea, the United States and Japanese governments are planning to conduct large-scale joint drills to protect the Senkaku Islands.
Under the plan, Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces would join the US Marines and Air Force in an exercise to defend the Japanese-administered Senkakus, which are claimed by China as Diaoyu, Nikkei Asia reported.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi stressed the need for joint drills during a TV program aired on Friday in local media.
"We need to improve our capability through joint drills and demonstrate our presence," he said.
China adopted a law in February allowing its coast guard to fire at foreign ships. Since then, Chinese coast guard ships have repeatedly sailed into Japanese waters near the islets, Nikkei Asia reported.
However, Tokyo is concerned that China will step up efforts to change the status quo in the East China Sea.
The drills come after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met Japanese counterparts Toshimitsu Motegi and Kishi in "two-plus-two" talks in Tokyo on Tuesday and confirmed plans to conduct exercises in the area.
Senior US and Japanese officials during high-level security talks discussed their shared concerns over China's "disruptive" activities in the Indo-Pacific region and committed to opposing coercion behaviour towards others in the region.
Blinken and Austin reaffirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan under Article V of our security treaty, which includes the Senkaku Islands, and that the United States remains opposed to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea. (ANI)