US to Swap Out Marine Regiment Stationed on Okinawa

WASHINGTON — High nationwide safety officers from america and Japan are anticipated to conform to adjustments within the joint protection posture this week as the 2 nations confront rising threats from North Korea and rising aggressiveness from China.

U.S. officers say Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet on Wednesday with their Japanese counterparts and plan to situation a joint assertion that can alter, however not improve, the American troop presence on the island of Okinawa. It additionally will add a proper point out of area within the longstanding mutual protection treaty the 2 international locations have held, in a nod to the Pentagon’s creation of the Area Power and Area Command.

The brand new agreements to be sealed on the so-called “two-plus-two” assembly will come simply forward of a go to to Washington by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will meet with President Joe Biden on the White Home on Friday.

“The leaders will talk about our shared imaginative and prescient of a modernized alliance that can sort out twenty first century challenges within the Indo-Pacific and all over the world,” stated Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, on Tuesday. “China actually shall be a subject of dialogue with our Japanese allies throughout the consultative conferences this week.”

Ryder declined to offer particulars on the brand new settlement.

However U.S. officers stated the twelfth Marine Regiment presently on Okinawa will rework right into a smaller, extra quickly cellular unit — the twelfth Marine Littoral Regiment. The brand new regiment is designed to be higher ready and outfitted to battle an adversary and defend the U.S. and its allies within the area. U.S. officers stated the choice won’t improve the variety of Marines on the island.

Reinforcement of army functionality or troops is a delicate situation for Okinawa, website of one of many bloodiest floor battles on the finish of World Struggle II. The island hosts greater than half of the U.S. troops based mostly in Japan, and Okinawans need that quantity lowered. Whereas there’s a rising worry of a Taiwan emergency, many islands within the area are involved {that a} protection buildup might improve dangers of getting embroiled in battle.

The change is a part of a broader shift being made throughout the Marine Corps, because the commandant, Gen. David Berger, goals to make the service higher capable of function and battle in contested areas, significantly inside placing vary of an enemy. That factor is important within the Indo-Pacific, the place hundreds of U.S. and allied forces are simply inside missile — and even rocket — vary of each China and North Korea.

One Marine littoral regiment has already been arrange in Hawaii, the second could be in Okinawa and one other is deliberate later this decade, with a attainable location being Guam, based on officers. The officers spoke on situation of anonymity to debate plans not publicly introduced.

Particulars are nonetheless being labored out, however a littoral regiment is made up of roughly 2,000 Marines, and features a fight crew with an anti-ship missile battery, a logistics battalion and an air protection battalion. The present Marine regiment on Okinawa that it could basically substitute contains about 3,400 Marines and sailors. The general variety of Marines on Okinawa would stay about the identical, officers stated.

Requested about particular bulletins, Ryder would solely say that the assembly will present a possibility for talks on find out how to modernize the alliance and preserve a steady and safe Indo-Pacific.

Talking to Pentagon reporters, Ryder additionally famous U.S. considerations over Chinese language army exercise within the area, together with a current incident when a Chinese language fighter jet flew dangerously near a U.S. Air Power aircraft over the South China Sea.

“By way of Chinese language habits, as evidenced most lately by the PRC air intercept, it’s regarding while you see all these provocative actions going down in delicate areas,” stated Ryder. “And so, once more, our focus from america standpoint is working with our allies and our companions within the area like Japan, to make sure a free and open Indo Pacific and to make sure that safety and stability proceed to be current all through the area.”


Related Press author Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Present Full Article

© Copyright 2023 Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.