US. U.S. On Thursday, President Joe Biden spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, reaffirming the security alliance which commits the United States to defending the territory of Japan.
“The leaders discussed the unwavering commitment of the United States under Article 5 of our security treaty, which includes the Senkaku Islands, to Japan’s defense,” the White House said.
The uninhabited and isolated islands, known in Japan as the Senkakus and in China as the Diaoyus, became the subject of a longstanding territorial dispute between the two largest economies in Asia.
While an automated lighthouse is the only building on the islands, the Japanese Coast Guard patrols the waters surrounding the islands and sometimes meets Chinese vessels attempting to contest the claim of Japan to the islands. U.S. allies in the area doubted Washington’s loyalty to its military partnerships when former President Donald Trump moved back from multilateral affairs under his “America First” policy, and China has stepped up its attempts to redraw its maritime boundaries.
“I would like to deepen my personal relationship with President Biden and work to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.” Suga told reporters after the call.
In the early hours of Thursday, Japan time, the two leaders spoke. It was the first phone call between them since last week’s Biden inauguration.
Biden and Suga have decided to work together for a free and fair Indo-Pacific zone, as well as for North Korea’s “full denuclearization.”
Separately on Wednesday, State Secretary Antony Blinken told Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin that the U.S. opposes China’s maritime demands above what is allowed under international law in the South China Sea, and resists its pressure from Southeast Asian nations.
“Secretary Blinken pledged to stand with Southeast Asian claimants in the face of PRC [People’s Republic of China] pressure,” the U.S. The State Department said in a declaration.
It is probable that Biden’s clear acknowledgment of the Senkakus would intensify tensions with Beijing. China passed laws last week allowing its coast guard ships to fire on foreign ships that are considered a threat to its sovereignty. In the South and East China coasts, the Chinese coast guard frequently comes into direct communication with foreign warships as they stake their claims.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference after the enactment of the bill, “The Diaoyu Islands are the inherent territory of China and its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests are upheld by China.”