Biden commits to US defense of Japan in maritime dispute

Tokyo, Jan 28 (efe-epa).- In a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday, United States President Joe Biden reaffirmed Washington’s “unwavering commitment” to defending the Asian country under their joint security treaty.

This includes a group of small islands in the East China Sea, which are administered by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.

The two leaders also agreed to strengthen their military and strategic alliance and to work for a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to statements sent from Washington and Tokyo, at a time marked by China’s growing push in the region.

The leaders “discussed the United States’ unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan under Article 5 of our security treaty, which includes the Senkaku Islands,” the White House statement added.

The Senkakus (called Diaoyu in China) are a group of eight uninhabited islands totaling seven square kilometers in the East China Sea, about 150 kilometers northeast of Taiwan, which also claims sovereignty over them.

The telephone conversation between Suga and Biden comes after Beijing authorized its coast guard vessels – which tend to approach the Senkakus and other territories in the South China Sea whose sovereignty the Asian giant claims in dispute with other countries – the use of weapons against foreign vessels that may be committing illegalities in its waters.

In that context, Suga and Biden also agreed to strengthen cooperation with India and Australia, the two other members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialog group.

They also reaffirmed the need to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in relation to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and the stagnation since 2019 of talks to try to achieve the disarmament of the Kim Jong-un regime.

Suga also appreciated Biden’s decisions to return the US to the Paris Agreement and to stop its withdrawal from the World Health Organization, while they each promised to strengthen cooperation in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. EFE-EPA


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