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Biden promised Japan to defend disputed islands, says Japan PM Fumio Kishida

TOKYO

New Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said today that he received a “strong” message from President Joe Biden about the United States’ commitment to defending the disputed East China Sea islets known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.

In phone talks today morning that lasted roughly 20 minutes, the allies also confirmed their cooperation toward achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, Kishida told reporters at the prime minister’s official residence.

The call came a day after Kishida called a parliamentary election for October 31 and vowed to bolster the country’s response to the pandemic. He was voted in via lawmakers on Monday as the nation’s new prime minister.

“We confirmed that we would work together toward the strengthening of the Japan-US alliance and free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kishida said. “We also confirmed we would work closely on problems related to China and North Korea.”

“Especially, the president made a strong remark on the US commitment to protect Japan, including Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty,” Kishida added, referring to US defense obligations to Japan, which cover the uninhabited island.

Japan has turned out to be increasingly concerned about Chinese activity in the East China Sea, including incursions into waters around the disputed islands, recognized as the Diaoyus in China.

Kishida also said the two allies agreed to work together on international problems ranging from the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and nuclear proliferation.

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