TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Donald Trump, in their phone talks on Sunday, agreed to work together to develop the Japan-US alliance.
In their first phone talks since Suga took office on Wednesday, the two leaders also exchanged opinions about the situation in East Asia, including China and North Korea, and agreed to closely cooperate in vaccine development and other responses to the new coronavirus pandemic.
The talks, which lasted some 25 minutes, were held at the request of Japan.
Suga said to Trump that the Japan-US alliance serves as a foundation for peace and stability of the region and the international community. The prime minister also said he hopes to further beef up the alliance, which has become stronger than ever under a deep relationship of trust between his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, and Trump.
Trump said to Suga that he feels absolutely the same way and that he wants to work together with the prime minister to further strengthen the alliance.
Touching on the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals decades ago, Suga said he will work decisively to resolve the problem at an early date and sought the United States’ support on the matter.
Trump told Suga to call him anytime around the clock in case anything should happen.
After the talks, Suga told reporters, “I wasted no time to confirm cooperation with the United States and am feeling a very good response.” He then expressed his eagerness to hold phone talks with other leaders as well to let them know Japan’s position and deepen cooperation with Japan.
Earlier on Sunday, Suga talked with his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, over the phone and confirmed their countries’ cooperation.