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"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
May 2021
Edition Date: 
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Cover Image: 

U.S. Open Skies Aircraft Destined for Scrapyard


May 2021
By Kingston Reif and Shannon Bugos

The U.S. Air Force plans to send the two Boeing OC-135B aircraft used for overflight missions under the 1992 Open Skies Treaty to the scrapyard in Arizona in May or June, sparking concern that the Biden administration may not return the United States to the accord.

The United States' decision to junk two Boeing OC-135B planes used for overflight missions under the 1992 Open Skies Treaty could mean the country's participation in the confidence-building agreement is over. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)The Air Force will also dispose of the suite of cameras, called sensors, on the planes after spending $41.5 million in fiscal year 2020 to replace the wet-film cameras with new digital sensors for both aircraft. The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2021 budget request did not include any request for overflight funding.

The Trump administration withdrew the United States from the treaty in November 2020, a move that President Joe Biden had condemned as illustrative of President Donald Trump’s “short-sighted policy of going it alone and abandoning American leadership.” At the time of withdrawal, a senior U.S. official said that the Pentagon had begun to liquidate the equipment. (See ACT, November 2020.)

The Biden administration has “determined they’re not going to do Open Skies anymore,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told the Omaha World Herald, which first reported on the fate of the aircraft on April 3. “It treats it as matter-of-fact that we’re out of the treaty,” he said, adding, “I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is.”

But a spokesperson for the National Security Council told The Wall Street Journal on April 5 that the administration’s decision on U.S. participation in the accord “is separate from previously scheduled activities relating to aging equipment.”

Instead of flying its own equipment, the United States could resume participation in the treaty by working with allies who are states-parties on joint missions and using their aircraft for overflights.

The Biden administration has not officially announced its position on a possible return to the treaty.

“No decision has been made on the future of U.S. participation” in the treaty, a State Department spokesperson told Arms Control Today on April 12. “The United States is actively reviewing matters related to the treaty and consulting with our allies and partners.”

“Russia’s continuing noncompliance with the treaty is one of several pertinent factors. As this process continues, we encourage Russia to take steps to come back into compliance with the agreement,” the spokesperson added.

Defense News reported on April 7 that the State Department sent a diplomatic note to allies and partners on March 31 expressing concern that “agreeing to rejoin a treaty that Russia continues to violate would send the wrong message to Russia and undermine our position on the broader arms control agenda.”

“While we recognize that Russia’s Open Skies violations are not of the same magnitude as its material breach of the 1987 INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty, they are part of a pattern of Russian disregard for international commitments—in arms control and beyond—that raises questions about Russia’s readiness to participate cooperatively in a confidence-building regime,” the note read according to Defense News.

But the note reportedly also said that the administration believes “there are circumstances in which we return to” the treaty “or include some of” the treaty’s “confidence-building measures under other cooperative security efforts.”

The Biden administration did not detail its concerns about Russian noncompliance in the diplomatic note but, in the annual State Department compliance report released April 15, echoed two assertions made by the Trump administration when it withdrew from the accord. The report cited concerns that Russia was violating the agreement because it has limited the distance for observation flights over the Kaliningrad region to no more than 500 kilometers and it has prohibited missions over Russia from flying within a 10-kilometer corridor along its border with the conflicted Georgian border regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Last year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also claimed that Moscow used overflights to gather intelligence on crucial U.S. infrastructure, although another Trump administration official simultaneously argued that the treaty relies on outdated technology and aircraft. (See ACT, July/August 2020.) Russia has denounced the claims as “far-fetched” and argued that Washington has created “barriers” to the implementation of the treaty.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on April 8 that Russia does not have “any idea whether the Americans will return to the treaty or not, but we hope that this matter will be sorted out soon.”

In December 2020, Russia sought written guarantees from the remaining states-parties that they would neither transfer information obtained under the treaty to the United States nor prohibit flights over U.S. bases in Europe, but multiple states-parties dismissed Moscow’s request. The following month, Russia began domestic procedures for withdrawing from the treaty and said it plans to conclude those procedures by the end of May. (See ACT, March 2021.) After officially notifying states-parties, Moscow could withdraw in six months’ time, as stipulated by the treaty.

But Russia has said that it would reconsider its move to withdraw from the accord if the United States returned to the agreement. Lavrov commented on April 8 that Moscow would “respond constructively and reconsider” its plan to withdraw if Washington decided to rejoin the treaty but that Russia “cannot wait indefinitely.”

Kommersant, a Russian newspaper, reported on March 27 that Moscow rejected the first request, which came from France, for an overflight following the U.S. withdrawal, out of concern that the information gathered would be shared with Washington. The official reason attributed the rejection to restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Two sources told the newspaper that Moscow has maintained the possibility of not accepting overflights at all and not conducting any treaty flights itself until the Biden administration determines whether to return to the accord.

Signed in 1992 and entering into force in 2002, the treaty permits each state-party to conduct short-notice, unarmed observation flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities. Treaty proponents say such information sharing promotes stability.

The decision to scrap the planes has raised concerns that President Joe Biden may not return the United States to a treaty that his predecessor had repudiated.

U.S. Still Seeks Major UAE Arms Sale


May 2021
By Jeff Abramson

Last month, the Biden administration indicated that it will seek to complete more than $20 billion in controversial arms sales to the United Arab Emirates initiated at the end of the Trump administration. A number of Democrats in Congress expressed concern and sought to put restrictions on the potential deals, even though terms remain uncertain and any delivery would be years in the future.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is among the high performance weapons that the Biden administration plans to sell the United Arab Emirates as part of a controversial package of arms sales totaling $20 billion or more. (Photo: U.S. Navy)The sales include up to 50 F-35 aircraft valued at $10.4 billion, up to 18 MQ-9B armed drones worth $3 billion, and a $10 billion package of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, as well as a revision to a 2018 notification for $490 million in additional Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. With votes falling nearly entirely along party lines, the Senate narrowly failed to approve resolutions of disapproval for the F-35 and drone sales in December. (See ACT, January/February 2021.)

Media reported that the Trump administration then signed letters of offer and acceptance on some of the deals the morning of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Typically, after such letters are executed, additional contract negotiations occur before weapons are built and delivered, often years later, which means it will be left to the Biden administration to implement the deals.

A State Department spokesperson told Arms Control Today in an email on April 16 that it “continue[s] reviewing details and consulting with [UAE] officials to ensure we have developed mutual understandings with respect to [UAE] obligations before, during, and after delivery.” The official wrote that the administration will reinforce with the UAE that “U.S.-origin defense equipment must be adequately secured and used in a manner that respects human rights and fully complies with the laws of armed conflict.”

The spokesperson also indicated that “delivery dates on these sales, if eventually implemented, will be several years in the future.”

In January and February, the Biden administration announced a review of Trump-era arms sales. It said it was communicating with the UAE, while also indicating it had suspended certain “offensive” arms sales to Saudi Arabia as part of an effort to address the conflict in Yemen, which Biden called “a war which has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” (See ACT, March 2021.) The UAE claims it is no longer active in the war there. Timothy Lenderking, the U.S. special envoy for Yemen, told a congressional hearing April 21 that the UAE retains influence in the country and remains a key member of the Saudi-led coalition.

On April 16, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced the Secure F-35 Exports Act, a lightly amended version of a 2020 bill that focused on the advanced fighter jets. The legislation would provide a vehicle for highlighting a range of concerns about the UAE’s use of U.S. military equipment, including the Persian Gulf state’s close relations with China and Russia and how its acquisition of the F-35 could affect Israel’s ability to maintain a qualitative military edge in the region.

For example, if enacted into law, the bill would require certification that any country in the region receiving F-35s, aside from Israel, has not transferred weapons to militias fighting U.S. interests. The provision would only date back to the time of signing the letter of offer and acceptance, but is particularly relevant to the UAE, which has been found to have transferred weapons to Libya in contravention of a UN arms embargo.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said in an April 14 statement that he and others remained concerned and that he still has “many questions” about the UAE deal. On April 21, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.) said: “The Emiratis already have a record of illegally transferring weapons to Salafist militias in Yemen, and Congress, frankly, has not received sufficient assurances that such transfers will not happen again.”

Congress can pass legislation placing new conditions on or blocking weapons sales at any time until they are delivered, although the most visible activity typically occurs in the first 30 days after members are officially notified of potential sales.

Many human rights and civil society groups reacted negatively to the news that the administration was proceeding with the UAE deal. Justin Russell, principal director of the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs, whose organization on April 14 filed an amended version of its lawsuit seeking to block the sales, said, “We had hoped that the Biden administration would have put the mitigation of the humanitarian crises in Libya and Yemen above starting what could be an arms race in this sensitive region of the world. We had hoped for better things out of the Biden administration...and now those hopes have been dashed.”

 

But some Democrats in Congress have expressed concern and sought to put restrictions on the potential deals, which could total more than $20 billion.

U.S. Lodges Arms Control, Nonproliferation Concerns


May 2021
By Shannon Bugos and Julia Masterson

Russia, China, and Iran are failing to fully comply with treaties related to nuclear and chemical weapons, the U.S. State Department said in a report released April 15.

Russia last conducted a full-scale nuclear test blast at its former test site on the island of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Sea in 1990. In 1991, Moscow declared a nuclear test moratorium. The U.K.’s last nuclear test was conducted in 1991; the United States halted nuclear testing in 1992; France and China suspended nuclear testing in 1996, the year the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty opened for signature. All five states have signed the CTBT. Of the five, only France has formally closed its test site. (Photo: NASA) This marks the first publication of the annual compliance report under the Biden administration, although it covers activities during 2020, under the Trump administration.

In particular, the State Department said that Russia has continued to undertake activities that are inconsistent with the “zero yield” standard regarding nuclear testing, established through negotiations on the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which prohibits all nuclear test explosions regardless of yield.

“Russia has conducted nuclear weapons experiments that have created nuclear yield and are not consistent with the U.S. ‘zero-yield’ standard,” the report stated, reaffirming a finding reflected in previous reports. It added that “Russia’s development of new warhead designs and overall stockpile management efforts have been enhanced by its approach to nuclear weapons-related experiments.”

Critical further details about the Biden administration’s understanding of the Russian program were not revealed in the public report but presumably are spelled out in the classified annex.
The State Department added that its concerns were suspended for activities occurring in 2020 “because Russia’s activities may have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The report once again called attention to possible nuclear testing activities by China, but the comments did not include the same information or allegations listed in reports from the Trump administration.

“China’s possible preparation to operate its Lop Nur test site year-round and lack of transparency on its nuclear testing activities” has informed those concerns, the State Department said.

In the 2020 compliance report, the State Department cited the “use of explosive containment chambers and extensive excavation activities” and interference with “the flow of data from the monitoring stations.” The latter assertion has been disputed by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. (See ACT, May 2020.)

In 2019, the Trump administration determined that China "probably carried out multiple nuclear weapon-related tests or experiments in 2018" but this year's report did not repeat that allegation. (See ACT, October 2019.) China signed the CTBT in 1996, but has not ratified the treaty.

The United States and Russia also signed the CTBT in 1996. Moscow ratified the treaty in 2000, but Washington has never done so.

In addition, the report expressed concerns that Russia is in violation of the 1992 Open Skies Treaty because it has limited the distance for observation flights over the Kaliningrad region to no more than 500 kilometers and it has prohibited missions over Russia from flying within 10 kilometers of its border with the conflicted Georgian border regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The report acknowledged a February 2020 overflight by the United States, Estonia, and Lithuania that traveled 505 kilometers, but said “Russia made clear in 2020 that it had not yet changed its standing policy” regarding the restriction.

The report noted that the United States is no longer a state-party to the treaty after the Trump administration withdrew in November 2020. (See ACT, December 2020.) As such, the treaty will not be included in the report going forward unless Washington decides to rejoin.

As for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which the United States and Russia extended in February until 2026, the State Department certified Russian compliance with that pact despite some unspecified “implementation-related questions.”

On April 21, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced the report, saying that its “lack of any conclusive evidence, its dissemination of blatantly false accusations, and suppression of Washington’s own imperfect compliance with arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements relegate it to the category of information noise.”

The report asserted that the United States “continued to be in compliance with all of its obligations under arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements,” highlighting only its concerns with the compliance of other countries.

In the area of nonproliferation, the State Department cited issues of noncompliance by North Korea with its obligations under Articles II and III of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and its comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003 and proceeded to develop a sophisticated nuclear and ballistic missile program. Even so, according to the report, “the denuclearization of North Korea remains the overriding U.S. objective, and the United States remains committed to diplomatic negotiations with North Korea toward that goal.”

On Iran, the State Department addressed the ongoing IAEA investigation into Iran’s past nuclear activities and the completeness of its safeguards declaration to the agency. Although that investigation pertains to Iran’s pre-2003 nuclear activities, the State Department said that “any intentional failure by Iran to declare nuclear material would constitute a clear violation of Iran’s NPT-mandated comprehensive safeguards agreement and would constitute a violation of Article III of the NPT itself.”

The State Department also referenced Iran’s breaches of compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and acknowledged that “Iran most likely pursued this phased approach [in violating the accord] in an effort to generate negotiating leverage with the United States and European participants in the JCPOA.” Iran began violating the agreement in 2019, one year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord and reimposed a maximum-pressure sanctions campaign against Iran.

The report did not mention ongoing efforts between Iran and the United States to restore compliance and preserve the agreement.

Russia, China, and Iran are failing to fully comply with treaties related to nuclear and chemical weapons, according to a State Department report.

North Korea Keeps Evading UN Sanctions


May 2021
By Sang-Min Kim

Despite international sanctions, North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs with the help of an expanding array of illicit financial networks, according to a February report by a UN Security Council panel of experts.

North Korea is engaged in a wide range of cyberoperations that have targeted financial institutions and defense industries, as well as conducting ship-to-ship transfers of oil and coal, all in violation of Security Council mandates, the report said.

Established by Security Council Resolution 1874 in 2009, the experts panel investigates and reports on violations of sanctions imposed by the council. The report was the product of a six-month investigation, which began in August 2020, of the international sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its weapons of mass destruction programs.

The panel found that North Korea has tapped into illicit maritime networks, such as those near China and Taiwan, that allow Pyongyang to import refined petroleum products and crude oil and to export revenue-generating coal and other items.

In the first nine months of 2020, North Korea “exceeded by several times” the annual 500,000-barrel cap on sanctioned imports by receiving at least 121 shipments of refined petroleum products. The panel also found that North Korea exported 2.5 million tons of coal during the same months via at least 400 shipments through Chinese territorial waters.

Meanwhile, the North Korean General Reconnaissance Bureau, the country’s primary foreign intelligence service, used cybergroups such as Lazarus to conduct cybercampaigns against financial institutions, virtual assets, virtual asset service providers, and defense industries in Israel and Europe. In 2019–2020, North Korea allegedly committed cybertheft of up to $316 million.

The panel also concluded that North Korea continued to expand its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, which encompasses various facilities central to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, continued to construct a light-water reactor and to operate a uranium dioxide-production building and a five-megawatt electrical reactor, capable of producing seven kilograms of plutonium annually. The report documented that the uranium-enrichment facility in Yongbyon “was operating,” according to an unidentified state member of the Security Council.

The report said North Korea appeared to be maintaining access to the Punggye-ri test site, where it had demolished the testing tunnels in 2018. The surrounding roads and bridges, recently damaged by typhoons, have been reconstructed. The report found that, at the Pyongsan uranium mine complex, new infrastructure has been constructed, and buildings have been modernized.

The panel received information from an unidentified state member of the Security Council alleging cooperation between North Korea and Iran on long-range missile projects. Korea Mining and Development Trading Corp., North Korea’s primary arms dealer, and Shahid Hemat Industrial Group, the organization responsible for Iran’s liquid-fueled ballistic missile program, were involved in the transfer of critical parts such as valves, electronics, and measuring equipment and the sharing of missile specialists, the report said.

Iran rejected the claim, saying a “preliminary review of the information provided to us by the [p]anel indicates that false information and fabricated data may have been used in investigations and analyses of the [p]anel.”

The panel made 29 recommendations on improving enforcement and implementation of sanctions on North Korea.

The country continues to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal with the help of an expanding array of illicit financial networks, a UN Security Council panel of experts found.

U.S. Proposes Arms Control Dialogue With Russia


May 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden proposed during an April 13 call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the two leaders hold a wide-ranging summit in the coming months. It could pave the way to a strategic stability dialogue on arms control and security issues.

The summit would take place in a third country—Austria and Switzerland have since offered to host—and feature discussions on “the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia,” the White House said in a statement after the call. A Kremlin official has said the summit may occur in June.

“Out of that summit—were it to occur, and I believe it will—the United States and Russia could launch a strategic stability dialogue to pursue cooperation in arms control and security,” added Biden on April 15. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on April 16 that Moscow has “responded positively” to the proposal. “Now we are studying different aspects of this initiative,” he said. Since those statements, however, tensions between the United States and Russia have continued to rise over Russia’s military buildup on the Ukrainian border, its treatment of political dissident Alexi Navalny, and the imposition of U.S. sanctions on Russia, creating new doubts about when a summit could reasonably be expected.

During their call, Biden and Putin discussed “the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension” of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), according to the White House. Washington and Moscow agreed in February to extend the 2010 treaty for five years, and both expressed a willingness to pursue further engagement on arms control. (See ACT, March 2021.)

The United States and Russia first met for a strategic stability dialogue in Helsinki in September 2017 and last held the dialogue in Vienna in August 2020. (See ACT, October 2017; September 2020.)—SHANNON BUGOS

U.S. Proposes Arms Control Dialogue With Russia

U.S. to Revise Landmine Policy


May 2021

Just two days after a Defense Department spokesperson said the Trump administration landmine policy remained in place and that landmines were a “vital tool,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on April 8 that President Joe Biden “intends to roll back this policy, and our administration has begun a policy review to do just that.”

A U.S. Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, discusses explosive ordnance identification procedures with a member of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces during training at Unite de Secours et Sauvetage’s Base, Kenitra, Morocco, April 22, 2019. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)That intention, was foreshadowed by Biden during the presidential campaign. It was reaffirmed after Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a long time anti-landmine champion, criticized the Defense Department statement and said on April 7 that he was “confident” that the Biden administration would “do the right thing and renounce these indiscriminate weapons that have no place in the arsenal of civilized nations.”

The Trump policy, announced in January 2020, permitted the use of victim-activated anti-personnel landmines anywhere in the world, citing great-power rivalries and a need to counter near-peer competitors. (See ACT, March 2020.) The Obama administration policy, announced in 2014, had banned production and acquisition of such landmines and halted their use outside the Korean peninsula. It also set a goal of eventually acceding to the Mine Ban Treaty, which today has 164 states-parties, including every NATO member except the United States.

The United States remains the world’s largest contributor of funds to support demining and related efforts to prevent new victims and aid those harmed by the weapons. The multifaceted approach is collectively known as humanitarian mine action. The April 5 release of the State Department’s annual report that details this support, titled “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” combined with the annual International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on April 4, drew attention to U.S. landmine policy and prompted the initial Defense Department statement.—JEFF ABRAMSON

U.S. to Revise Landmine Policy

TPNW States to Meet in January in Vienna


May 2021

The first formal meeting of the states-parties to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will be convened at UN facilities in Vienna on Jan. 12–14, Austria announced on April 15.

Alexander Kmentt, one of the diplomatic drivers of the treaty, has been named the president-designate for the conference, which will be the first since the treaty entered into force in January 2021. The decision on the date and location for the meeting was made April 15 by unanimous consent following the second round of informal consultations on the meeting.

“We are embarking together on setting up a brand-new treaty regime in challenging times,” Kmentt wrote in a message to states-parties in March outlining plans for a series of informal consultations ahead of the first meeting of the states-parties.

“[T]he current limitations of physical meetings also provide us with the opportunity to discuss and coordinate across continents in the most inclusive way with modest cost implications. It also allows us to draw in leading expertise to advise us on all the decisions before us and take them in the most informed manner possible,” Kmentt said.

On Jan. 22, the TPNW formally entered into force following the 50th state ratification of the treaty last year. The treaty bans nuclear weapons development, production, possession, use, and threat of use and the stationing of another country’s nuclear weapons on a state-party's national territory. The TPNW will also require states to provide assistance to those affected by nuclear weapons use and testing. Review conferences are to be held every six years. To date, 86 states have signed the treaty, and 54 have ratified it.—DARYL G. KIMBALL

TPNW States to Meet in January in Vienna

U.S., Japan Reaffirm Alliance in White House Meeting


May 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga strongly reaffirmed the U.S.-Japanese alliance during Biden’s first in-person meeting as president with a foreign leader, at the White House on April 16, calling it a “cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.” The leaders also described a “shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific [region] based on our commitment to universal values and common principles and the promotion of inclusive economic prosperity.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga take part in a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 16. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)In a press conference after the meeting, Biden emphasized U.S. commitments to Japan’s defense and “ironclad support for…our shared security.”

The leaders’ formal joint statement focused on many strategic concerns, including global threats from COVID-19 and climate change, human rights in Hong Kong and among the Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region, and the denuclearization of North Korea.

They expressed “their concerns over Chinese activities that are inconsistent with the international rules-based order, including the use of economic and other forms of coercion.” They said they “oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea,” underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and objected to China’s “unlawful maritime activities” in the South China Sea. They pledged to work jointly on the rapid development, security, and openness of fifth-generation communications technologies and “to rely on trustworthy vendors.” They also recognized the need for cooperation with China “on areas of common interest.”

Their vision of strengthening the U.S.-Japanese alliance relies on having Japan bolster its national defense capabilities as part of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security that the two countries signed in 1960. The leaders committed “to deepen defense cooperation across all domains, including cyber and space, and to bolster extended deterrence.”

This would involve following through on plans to relocate some U.S. Marine Corps troops from Okinawa to Guam and working with allies and partners such as the Quad, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the trilateral alliance with South Korea.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Washington described the Biden-Suga comments on Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea as “harmful” and going “far beyond the scope of normal development of bilateral relations.” Taiwan Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang embraced the joint statement and underscored “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”—SANG-MIN KIM

U.S., Japan Reaffirm Alliance in White House Meeting

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