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John Bolton says Japan's defense budget signals to China they are prepared in case of an attack

"Japan at that point, if they succeed, will be the third largest military in the world after the U.S. and China," Bolton said.

Published: January 11, 2023 3:03pm

Updated: January 11, 2023 4:51pm

John Bolton, a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and a onetime national security advisor to former President Donald Trump, says that Japan's recent increase in its military budget shows they aren't playing around when it comes to China.

"If you ask most Japanese, they would say that they would view an attack on Taiwan by China as an attack on Japan," Bolton said on the John Solomon Reports podcast. 

Japan will boost its defense budget for 2023 to a record 6.8 trillion yen ($55bn), a 20% increase from the previous year, due to security concerns over China and North Korea. 

"When Japan increases that much, and particularly when you think of a growing Japanese economy, that's a big percentage increase," Bolton stated. "Japan, at that point, if they succeed, will be the third largest military in the world after the U.S. and China."

According to Bolton, who last week announced plans to run for president in 2024 as a Republican, this is an opportunity for the U.S. to step up and have conversations with Japan regarding China. 

"This really is a time for a grand strategy conversation between the Japanese and the United States," Bolton explained. "We should obviously be extending well beyond Japan. We've got a lot of friends in the Indo-Pacific very concerned about China and I think it's an opportunity for a real American leadership role."

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