The U.S. government on Sunday released a statement titled “Reaffirming the unbreakable U.S.-Japan alliance,” clarifying its stance to counter China’s provocations in cooperation with Japan and criticizing Beijing by name.
In the statement, the United States called the bilateral alliance “the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity” and vowed to work with Japan on “shared challenges,” including “PRC [People’s Republic of China] provocations in Asia and around the world.”
The release of the statement was timed to coincide with the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Japan this week. They were to arrive in Japan on Monday for the Japan-U.S. 2-plus-2 security talks to be held Tuesday with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.
During the talks, the U.S. side is expected to express its position in line with this statement.
The Japan-U.S. alliance was described in the statement as “the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and across the world for over six decades.” The United States expressed its commitment to deepening the alliance based on shared values such as democracy and respecting human rights.
The “shared challenges” cited in the statement include combating the novel coronavirus pandemic, tackling climate change and promoting trade based on free and fair rules. The United States also cited “PRC provocations,” stressing its stance to increase cooperation with Japan.
Regarding security, the statement said, “The United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan is absolute.”
Washington clearly stated that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which stipulates U.S. obligations to defend Japan, applies to the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. “We remain opposed to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea or undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,” the statement said.
On the economy, the United States emphasized that promoting bilateral cooperation will benefit both countries. As for 5G technology, it called for “building secure 5G networks using only trusted vendors,” apparently with the exclusion of Chinese companies in mind.
Washington also stated its desire to seek close collaboration with Japan in fields of science and technology, including the digital economy, artificial intelligence and space exploration.
Blinken and Austin are also scheduled to visit South Korea from Wednesday. Ahead of the visit, the statement also said, “No relationship is more important than that between Japan and the Republic of Korea.”
Washington stressed its stance to promote trilateral cooperation with Japan and South Korea to cope with a wide range of issues, such as the denuclearization of North Korea and the coronavirus.
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