Psaki denies asking Japan to join AUKUS

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Psaki denies asking Japan to join AUKUS

The United States, Britain and Australia are working together to advance their trilateral partnership over a range of advanced military capabilities, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who denies a media report that the group is asking Japan to take part.

The report is inaccurate, Psaki said, noting that the top Japanese government spokesman denied the claim that Tokyo was approached over possible AUKUS participation.

Psaki said that the focus was on finalizing a program of work on a range of advanced military capabilities that align our priorities, amplify our collective strengths and accelerate the development and acquisition of leading edge defense capabilities.

She said it was not a JAUKUS plan.

The Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reported Tuesday that each AUKUS member had informally asked Japan, a key U.S. security ally, about the possibility of joining the partnership, which was launched in September last year with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region amid China's growing assertiveness.

The expanded partnership could be called JAUKUS if Japan were to join AUKUS, which stands for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Australia will seek to acquire nuclear-powered submarines through technical cooperation with the other partners, as part of the first AUKUS initiative.

The leaders of the three countries announced earlier this month a new trilateral cooperation on the development of hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare capabilities.

They said they will look for opportunities to engage allies and close partners as their work progresses on key defense and security capabilities.