Under the new US deployment arrangement to Japan, Marines serving in Okinawa as part of the 12th Marine Regiment, an artillery unit, will shift to a more mobile unit – the 12th Coastal Marine Regiment. US officials said the new configuration would allow them to more easily deploy to other islands along the coast when needed.
The coastal regiment would have battalion-sized units, totaling about 2,000 soldiers, and have long-range fire capabilities that could hit ships. Mr. Austin said the change would lead to a “deadlier, more resilient, more capable” existence.
Officials said the agreement would not increase the number of Marines serving on Okinawa. But it would allow the Marines to deploy more quickly if tensions rose in the region. Pentagon officials said the restructuring is part of it to deal with China’s increased military activity and presence, including around the island of Taiwan, an autonomous democracy of the Chinese Communist Party. intends to bring under its rule.
Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine last year made American, Taiwanese, and Japanese officials even more concerned about the possibility that China might try to make a move on Taiwan—perhaps not in the coming months or years, but perhaps by the end of the decade. US officials say much depends on how Chinese officials perceive the balance of military power in the region, which includes US forces.
In August, China Japan’s annoyance When ballistic missiles were launched into the waters around Taiwan to send a message of aggression to the island and to the United States afterward House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited in a show of support. Five of the missiles landed in the exclusive economic zone off the coast of Japan, in the first accident of its kind.
Japanese officials also expressed their alarm at the series of joint military exercises conducted by China and Russia in the region. the two peoples One of these exercises was held in May, which was the first they had done together since Russia invaded Ukraine. Mr. Biden was visiting Tokyo at the time for a meeting quadan alliance of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia formed in part to counter China’s growing power.
China and Japan have not resolved territorial disputes over waters and islands in the East China Sea. US officials said that the Japanese and US militaries have noticed increased Chinese naval activity in the region.
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