U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday encouraged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to deepen cooperation with Japan as the organization seeks to become more capable of confronting China's rise and Russian threats.
During a virtual meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Blinken underscored the importance of alliance partnerships and named Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea as countries which NATO should enhance ties with, according to the U.S. State Department.
The department did not elaborate, but it also said Blinken expressed support for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's efforts to make the 30-member alliance "more resilient and capable of confronting systemic challenges" from Russia and China.
The U.S. administration of President Joe Biden has been rallying allies and like-minded countries to come together to face what it views as challenges to democracies and the international rules they have created from autocracies such as China and Russia.
Among key U.S. allies, Tokyo has been put at the center of the U.S. strategy to counter Beijing's assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga becoming the first foreign leader Biden met at the White House in person since taking office in January.
The Biden administration has also been encouraging Japan and South Korea to improve a bilateral relationship that has increasingly soured over wartime compensation issues.