Rishi Sunak and Japan will reach a historic agreement on security amid growing tensions with China.
The UK and Japan will sign a “Hiroshima Accord”, which will strengthen defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region to maintain stability, ahead of the meeting of Western leaders. This is due to concerns over the warmongering of Beijing.
Both countries will launch a partnership in semiconductors to work together on research and developement, helping the West stay ahead of the competition.
The agreement came after Liz Truss gave a speech to Mr Sunak in Taiwan, urging him to declare China as a threat.
Mr Sunak is scheduled to travel to Tokyo this Thursday, before signing the agreement with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishhida that same evening in Hiroshima.
He said: It is an honour to visit Tokyo and Hiroshima during this historic time in the United Kingdom-Japan relationship.
“Prime Minister Kishida is closely aligned with me on the importance to protect peace and security in Indo-Pacific, and to defend our values including free and fair trading.
The Hiroshima Accord is a step forward in our partnership between the UK and Japan. It will help us to strengthen our armed forces’ cooperation, develop our economies and enhance our science and technology expertise. This marks a new exciting phase in the UK-Japan partnership.
The UK-Japan relationship has grown faster and further than any other international partnership, reflecting Japan’s central role in the Indo-Pacific region and its importance to the UK’s security and economic prosperity.
In the past six months, Britain completed the negotiations to join CPTPP, launched the UK, Japan, and Italy Global Combat Air Programme, and signed the defence Reciprocal Access Agreement.
The Hiroshima Accord aims to strengthen this relationship with new agreements in defence, trade, investment, science, technology, and collaboration.
On Thursday, when the Prime Minister arrives in Tokyo, he will visit a Japanese naval base to confirm a new defence partnership between Japan and the UK.
The UK will double its troop numbers for upcoming joint exercises. It has also committed to deploying the Carrier Strike Group in the Indo-Pacific by 2025. And it has agreed to a formal Consult clause, which commits the UK and Japan to consult on regional and global security matters and to consider possible measures.
The UK is also launching science and technology programs to support UK-Japan cooperation at every stage, from early career research to bringing innovative products to market.
The agreement includes a new relationship between Imperial College London, University of Tokyo and Hitachi Ltd to create a UK-Japan Cleantech Innovation hub and accelerate the development of green technologies.
In the new agreement, the UK will launch a Semiconductors partnership, with new commitments for ambitious R&D and skills exchange. This will strengthen our domestic sectors, and boost supply chain resilience on an increasingly competitive market.
The Prime Minister will later on Thursday host a reception in Tokyo for key Japanese business leaders to reinforce the importance of our relationship. He will likely announce new investments worth billions of dollars that will create jobs in the UK.
The 4th UK-Japan Joint ‘Vigilant Isles” Military Exercise, which will take place in Japan later this summer, will be the largest yet. Around 170 UK personnel, including those from the 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles, and the 16 Air Assault Brigade, are expected to participate.
After its first voyage to the Indo-Pacific region in 2021, the UK will confirm that its Carrier Strike Group is returning to the Indo-Pacific by 2025. The fleet will consist of an aircraft carrier and her escorts, as well as her aircraft. They will work with the Japanese Self Defence Forces, and other regional partners, to defend peace and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific.
The Prime Minister will be expected to announce a new Cyber Partnership between Japan and the UK as part of the Hiroshima Accord defence agreements. The UK-Japan cyber cooperation will be deepened and a high ambition level set for future relations. Fujitsu UK is joining the National Cyber Security Centre’s Industry 100 and the UK and Japan are piloting a Japan Cyber Security Fellowship in order to develop future leaders.
Britain will also announce a new Renewable Energy Partnership aimed at speeding up the deployment of clean power in the UK and Japan, as well as third countries.
On Wednesday, Ms Truss warned that a Cold War had already started with China and the West needed to decide whether it wanted to appease Beijing or be prepared for war.
She said that some people don’t want a new Cold War.
“But we don’t have a choice, as China is already on an auto-sufficiency drive. We can choose to decouple or not.
“China is building up its military at an alarming pace and has undertaken the largest build-up ever in peacetime.” They’ve already formed alliances, including with nations who want the free world to decline.
They have already decided on their strategy. We have only two choices: appeasement and accommodation or taking action to prevent conflict.
She said: “The UK integrated review must be amended so that it states clearly that China is an existential threat.”
Rishi Sunak, however, has insisted that he will maintain Britain’s policy of having only “unofficial” relations with Taiwan despite Ms Truss’s request for him to adopt a more firm stance against China.
Sunak, when asked if his predecessor’s visit had been beneficial, said that his government’s policies would not be changing.
He said, “I can assure you that our policy towards Taiwan has been in place for a long time and it is not changing.” It’s a strategy that is in line with our allies in both substance and language.
Prime Minister added: “I believe that we share a strong relationship, both official and unofficial, with Taiwan just as do our allies.” I believe that we are united with our allies and our position will continue to be aligned.
On his way to the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Mr Sunak spoke to reporters. He stated that when the UK hosted the G7 summit in 2021, it “put China firmly at the top of the agenda”. It would also be the focus of the meetings that will take place over the next few days.