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US Vows To Strengthen Military Support To Japan To Counter Chinese Aggression

US Vows To Strengthen Military Support To Japan To Counter Chinese Aggression
The new president of the United States Joe Biden has pledged to further strengthen the country’s partnership with Japan in countering the increasing military activity of China in the volatile Asia-Pacific region. The Biden administration has also ple3dged to defend the Senkakus islands – a set of small islands that is currently under Japanese administration but is also claimed their own by China.
The security alliance between the US and Japan was “the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific”, the US president and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga agreed during a phone call, said reports.
The policy of Biden to further strengthen the already existing security arrangements in the region is in stark contrast to the policy followed by the former Trump administration which has publicly said that the US was mulling on withdrawing troops from the area of two key US allies – Japan and South Korea.
There were also allegations made by Trump about both Japan and South Korea not expending much for their own security and called on the countries to purchase more defence equipment from the US.
“We managed to have substantial exchanges,” Suga said after his 30-minute call with Biden. “We agreed to strengthen our alliance firmly by having more phone calls like this”, said reports.
The White House said in a statement that the US commitment to provide “extended deterrence” to Japan was reiterated by Biden.
The need for a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was also agreed upon by the two leaders even as there are speculations about Biden’s approach to handle North Korea and about the nuclear and ballistic missile programmes of the regime under its leader Kim Jong-un.
The repeated and frequent incursions by Chinese vessels into waters near the Senkaku islands, which are known as the Diaoyu in China, is of particular concern for Japan.
Analysts were expecting the “unwavering commitment” of the Biden administration to defend the Senkakus but the manner and tone of this announcement assumes importance since China has just passed a law that authorises its coast guard to use weapons against any foreign vessel or ship that is suspected to be conducting illegal activities in and around the china of the uninhabited islands.
Officials said that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was not discussed between the leaders even though there is still doubts cast over the future of the mega event as the world is still fighting against the pandemic.
Rounds of golf in Japan and the US had helped Shinzo Abe, Suga’s predecessor, to establish a rapport with Trump. And Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump soon after his 2016 election victory.
He hoped to “deepen my personal relationship with President Biden”, Suga said and added that he wanted to visit Washington as soon as the pandemic allowed.
The two leaders had agreed to call each other Joe and Yoshi, said media reports in Japan.
“Secretary Blinken pledged to stand with south-east Asian claimants in the face of PRC [People’s Republic of China] pressure,” the state department said in a statement.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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