Esper’s comments also followed an announcement by Australia that it will take part in a large-scale military drill off the coast of India next month, the Malabar naval exercise, together with India, the United States and Japan.
In Tokyo on Tuesday, Pompeo and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will have a meeting with the foreign ministers of Australia and India in a move that is seen as a counter to China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
The think tank warned in its report that this practice increases the danger to actual civilian aircraft in the region, risking misidentification. The SCSPI said the US has a record of changing transponder numbers when it flies reconnaissance in places like Iran and Venezuela.
Secretary Esper and Minister Kono agreed to continue efforts to support interoperability and to enhance Alliance capabilities, particularly for integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) and for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) functions. They also agreed on the importance of secure networks and of strengthening information security to protect advanced defense technologies.
On August 14, US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea told Japan’s Nikkei that the US is in talks with its Asian allies to deploy midrange missiles to counter „the immediate threat“ of China’s nuclear arsenal. This week, Esper will head to Hawaii, Palau and Guam. In Guam, he is set to meet his Japanese counterpart. He will likely put pressure on Japan and talk about the deployment of midrange missiles.
„It is not only good for the (US) military to use for their exercise and training but can be used by Palau as well to boost its economy and tourism.“
Through the MOU, we intend to work together to mobilize and support the deployment of private sector investment capital to deliver major new infrastructure projects, enhance digital connectivity and energy infrastructure, and achieve mutual development goals in the Indo-Pacific.
The Australian government adopted the “Indo-Pacific” term in 2012 as a pivotal idea in its diplomacy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used the same term for the first time in August 2016 during the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), held in Nairobi, when he unveiled a “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.”