New Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirms a strong alliance with the U.S. in talks with Biden
October 6, 2021: On Tuesday, New Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that he received a “strong” message from President Joe Biden about the United States’ commitment to defend the disputed East China Sea islets known as the Senkaku Islands Japan.
On Tuesday, in phone talks that lasted roughly 20 minutes, the allies confirmed their cooperation toward achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, Kishida told reporters at the prime minister’s official residence.
On Monday, the call came a day after Kishida called a parliamentary election for October 31 and vowed to bolster the response to the pandemic of the country. He was voted in by lawmakers as the nation’s new prime minister.
“We confirmed that we would work toward the strengthening of the Japan-US alliance and free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kishida said. “We confirmed we would work closely on issues related to China and North Korea,” Kishida added.
“Especially, the president made a comment on the U.S. commitment to defend Japan, which includes Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty,” Kishida added, which added to U.S. defense obligations to Japan, which cover the uninhabited island.
Japan has become increasingly concerned about Chinese activity in the East China Sea, which includes incursions into waters around the disputed islands, known as the Diaoyus in China.
Kishida, a 64-year-old former foreign minister with an image as a consensus builder, is about to reveal a cabinet lineup dominated by allies of former prime minister Shinzo Abe and ex-finance minister Taro Aso.
Abe’s brother, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, kept his position, as did Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, which is reflecting Kishida’s intention to continue Abe’s push boosting security ties with Washington while preserving trade ties with China.
The new prime minister is expected to deepen engagement with the United States, Australia, India, and Japan, known as the Quad, which Beijing sees as an effort to contain its rise.
Kishida, a traditionally dovish LDP faction, had tacked to the right as he campaigned to be the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader, reflecting a broader shift in the LDP spurred by Abe’s record-long tenure.
Kishida has said that acquiring the ability to strike enemy bases, a controversial step backed by Abe, was a viable option. He would appoint an aide to monitor China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority, and China denies accusations of abuse.
One of Kishida’s appointments garnering the most attention is the new post of economy security minister. Kishida is filling it with Takayuki Kobayashi, a 46-year-old graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School and Tokyo University, who has protected sensitive technology from China in areas such as supply chains and cyber security.
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