US marines on Okinawa armed with missiles as message to China

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US marines on Okinawa armed with missiles as message to China

Robert Besser
15 Jan 2023, 05:09 GMT+10

  • The Yomiuri newspaper has reported that the US plans to deploy marines on the Japanese islands of Okinawa by 2026, and arm them with missiles and lighter gear
  • The plan is aimed at deterring the Chinese military, and will be discussed with Tokyo in Washington on Wednesday by Japan’s ministers of defense and foreign affairs and their US counterparts
  • The creation of the new US marine units, called Marine Littoral Regiments, is part of a major reorganization of the US Marine Corps outlined by its commandant, General David Berger, in 2020

TOKYO, Japan: The Yomiuri newspaper has reported that the US plans to deploy marines on the Japanese islands of Okinawa by 2026, and arm them with missiles and lighter gear.

The plan is aimed at deterring the Chinese military, and will be discussed with Tokyo in Washington on Wednesday by Japan’s ministers of defense and foreign affairs and their US counterparts, the paper added.

Japan and the US “will discuss matters regarding issues on the US Forces Japan, including the realignment of the US Forces Japan,” the foreign ministry said in a statement this week.

The creation of the new US marine units, called Marine Littoral Regiments, is part of a major reorganization of the US Marine Corps outlined by its commandant, General David Berger, in 2020 in his Force Design 2030 paper.

In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, during a regular briefing on Tuesday, that bilateral military cooperation between the US and Japan “should not harm the interests of third parties and regional peace and stability.”

Japan hosts the largest concentration of US Marines outside America, numbering 18,000, with most being based on the main island of Okinawa located some 100 kilometers from Taiwan.

That large US military presence has fueled local resentment, with Okinawa’s government asking other parts of Japan to host some of the force.

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