TOKYO: New US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday affirmed that the Japan-US security treaty covers the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
In his phone talks with Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi thanked the administration of US President Joe Biden for clarifying that the bilateral treaty’s Article 5, which stipulates US defense obligations to Japan, applies to the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan. The islands are claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.
There is no change in that position, Blinken told Motegi.
Also in the talks, Blinken and Motegi agreed to work closely to strengthen the bilateral alliance and realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The two held talks over the phone for the first time since Blinken took office on Tuesday.
Noting in a press conference that he was the second foreign minister to hold talks with the new secretary of state after his Canadian counterpart, Motegi said, “This is an indication that the Biden administration values the Japan-US alliance and is committed to the Indo-Pacific region.”
Blinken and Motegi also agreed to accelerate negotiations on Japan’s host-nation financial support for US troops stationed in the Asian country.
They confirmed that Motegi will visit the United States at an early date for in-person talks with Blinken.