Washington, Jan 27 (efe-epa).- President Joe Biden on Wednesday promised Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, that Washington will defend Japanese sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Tokyo but have been claimed for some half a century by China and Taiwan.
China calls the uninhabited island chain lying between Japan and Taiwan the Diaoyu Islands.
During a telephone call, Biden reaffirmed to Suga his commitment to strengthen the US-Japan alliance, acknowledging that Tokyo is a strategic partner of Washington, the White House said in a statement.
The pair discussed Washington’s “unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan under Article 5 of our security treaty,” the White House said, and the US president reaffirmed “his commitment to provide extended deterrence to Japan.”
In addition, Biden and Suga agreed on the need to effect the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and the necessity of moving forward on the issue of obtaining the release of Japanese citizens who have been kidnapped by North Korea, this being one of Tokyo’s foreign policy priorities.
Both Japan and South Korea played a central role in conversations with North Korea launched in 2018 by former President Donald Trump and which led to two summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but bore no fruit on the matter of Pyongyang’s denuclearization.
Finally, Biden and Suga committed themselves to work together to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and to fight climate change, the White House said.
The two leaders had already spoken by telephone after Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20.
In addition, Suga on prior occasions had expressed his wish to visit the US soon, probably in February, to meet face to face with the new occupant of the White House.
Suga and Biden also spoke briefly by phone shortly after the Nov. 3 presidential election and on that occasion the already acknowledged president-elect reaffirmed the US commitment to protect the bilateral alliance and maintain stability in East Asia.