Kishida meets head of US Indo-Pacific command, hails alliance

Tokyo, Nov 11 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday met the commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, John Aquilino, and stressed the robustness of the bilateral security alliance and its willingness to protect “stability” in the region.

Kishida received the US navy admiral a day after taking oath as prime minister, following his victory in last month’s general elections in Japan.

“By further enhancing cooperation between Japan and the US, I would like to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the prime minister said during the first part of the meeting, which was open to the media.

He was referring to the joint strategy adopted by Tokyo and Washington to counter China’s military push in the region, which has become the primary concern of the two allies in the area of defense, along with North Korea’s weapons development program.

Meanwhile Aquilino also reaffirmed his commitment to maintaining “peace, stability and prosperity” in the region.

The US commander on Thursday also held a meeting with the new foreign minister of Japan, Yoshimasa Hayashi, and the defense minister, Nobuo Kishi.

Kishi said during the meeting that “the security environment surrounding Japan is increasingly severe,” referring to activities by Pyongyang and Beijing.

In an earlier meeting in June, Aquilino and Kishi had also highlighted the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, even as tensions have escalated in the region between Beijing and Taipei, the Japanese government had said in a statement. EFE


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