Suga, Biden to strengthen alliance, collaborate in Covid, climate fights

Tokyo, Nov 12 (efe-epa).- Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and United States president-elect Joe Biden agreed in their first conversation on Thursday to strengthen the relationship between their countries and collaborate on common fronts such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Suga, who spoke about his telephone conversation with Biden in front of the television cameras of the local media, said he personally congratulated the Democrat on his victory in last week’s election against President Donald Trump and expressed his desire to cooperate for a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region.

Suga told Biden that the Japan-US alliance is indispensable for peace and prosperity amid an increasingly severe security environment, which he said needs to be strengthened.

The prime minister looks to establish a good relationship with Biden, who will in January take over as the leader of the key ally country for Japan at a time of heightened Chinese maritime activity and concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic arsenal.

According to Suga, Biden conveyed Washington’s commitment to defend the so-called Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, which has increased its number and duration of incursions recently.

The pair also agreed to cooperate on common global fronts such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, after the American politician pledged to return the US to the Paris Agreement, which Trump withdrew the country from.

The Japanese prime minister said both parties agreed to meet in person as soon as possible, a scenario that, according to government sources in the Asian country, could occur after Biden assumes the position of president on Jan. 20.

The election of the new US president is expected to be formalized on Dec. 14, after the deadline set for Dec. 8 to resolve disputes expires.

Trump still refuses to acknowledge his defeat and insists that there was fraud in the vote count. EFE-EPA


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