US’ Antony Blinken, Lloyd Austin set to visit Japan from March 15: Sources

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are making arrangements to visit Japan from March 15 for foreign policy and security talks, two government sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

Blinken and Austin are also preparing a “2 plus 2” dialogue with their Japanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, the sources told Reuters, declining to be identified because the information is not public.

It would be the first such talks between the allies since April 2019, and the first visit to Japan by any cabinet member of the Biden administration..

The United States and Japan are looking to strengthen their ties as China takes an increasingly aggressive foreign policy approach in the Indo-Pacific region.

In a 24-page document outlining President Joe Biden’s national security policies, the United States this week singled out China as “the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system.”

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