Tue, 02 Mar 2021

Washington DC [US], January 24 (ANI): US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin held a telephone conversation with his Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi and discussed the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly the East China Sea territorial disputes, the US Department of Defense (DoD) informed on Saturday.

"Secretary Austin further affirmed that the Senkaku Islands are covered by Article V of the US-Japan Security Treaty, and that the United States remains opposed to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea," the DoD said.

According to the official statement, Austin and Kishi discussed a broad range of security issues, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They also discussed the need to continue implementing US force realignment initiatives including continued efforts regarding the construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility in Henoko," the Pentagon said.

Austin thanked Kishi for Japan's continued leadership in implementing United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions regarding North Korea and encouraged the latter to "strengthen Japan's contribution to the role the Alliance continues to play in providing security in the Indo-Pacific region".

In December last year, Kishi held a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, discussing bilateral ties and the recent incidents in the East China Sea, particularly the unauthorised entries of Chinese vessels into the waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands.

The islands in question have long been an object of disputes between China and Japan. Japan maintains it has had sovereignty over them since 1895 and Beijing claims that the islands are marked as a Chinese territory on Japanese maps circa 1783 and 1785, Sputnik reported. (ANI)

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