U.S. President Joe Biden expressed today during a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, the “unwavering commitment” of the United States to defend the Japanese archipelago, including some small islands administered by the Tokyo government and claimed by Beijing.
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen the military and strategic alliance between their countries and to work to keep the Indo-Pacific region “free and open,”according to communiqués sent from Washington and Tokyo, at a time marked by China’s growing maritime push in the area.
“The leaders also discussed Japan’s unwavering commitment to Japan’s defense under Article 5 of the joint security treaty, which includes the Senkaku Islands,” the joint communique added.
The Senkaku (called Diaoyu in China) are a group of eight uninhabited islands (totaling 7 square kilometers) located in the East China Sea, about 150 kilometers northeast of Taiwan, which also claims sovereignty and calls them Diaoyutai.
The telephone conversation between Suga and Biden comes after Beijing authorized its coast guard vessels -which often approach the Senkaku and other territories in the South China Sea whose sovereignty is also disputed by the Asian giant with other countries- to use weapons against foreign vessels that may be committing illegalities in its waters.
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In that context, Suga and Biden also agreed to strengthen cooperation with India and Australia, the two other members of the so-called Quad regional security group.
They further reaffirmed the need to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in relation to Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction program and the stalemate since 2019 in talks to try to achieve the disarmament of Kim Jong-un’s regime.