Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his country will closely cooperate with the United States to counter regional threats posed by China and North Korea, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, following Kishida’s first meeting with the new U.S. ambassador to Japan.
During the meeting with newly-appointed ambassador Rahm Emanuel, the two officials reportedly discussed China’s growing military assertiveness n the region and North Korea’s latest missile tests.
Kishida expressed confidence in Emanuel’s ability to strengthen the two nations’ partnership, referring to the ambassadorship as “the ironclad bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance,” the ministry said.
“I pledged to the prime minister that I will wholeheartedly work every day on behalf of the ideals of the alliance,” Emanuel told reporters after the talks.
Walking to the @Kantei to meet Prime Minister Kishida and Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno. While we have traveled many miles over many years, the US and Japan will journey many more miles together, walking in step together as allies. pic.twitter.com/x1rkwIMVol
— ラーム・エマニュエル駐日米国大使 (@USAmbJapan) February 4, 2022
Prior to meeting Kishida, the new envoy met with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa on Tuesday and reaffirmed that “the United States is fully committed to working with Japan as a full ally to counter the challenges” and to achieve a free Indo-Pacific.
Emanuel previously stated that the two countries face “a critical juncture,” while emphasizing the countries’ capability to confront “common challenges” through the alliance.
“Our two nations will not shy away from any challenge or any adversary who undermines [democratic] values. What we do in partnership over the next three years will decide America’s and Japan’s posture for the next 30 years,” he said in a video message on Jan. 24.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to attend a Quad ministerial meeting in Australia next week for talks with Indo-Pacific allies—Australia, Japan, and India—to discuss the security environment amid “economic coercion” and cooperation to fight the pandemic.
The State Department said in a statement that Blinken also aims to hold a bilateral meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister to reinforce Washington’s “ironclad alliance” with Japan.
Blinken will also travel to Fiji to discuss regional cooperation and Hawaii where he will host a trilateral meeting with his counterparts from Japan and South Korea to address the global challenges and “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” it stated.
Japan and the United States had vowed to push back against China’s attempts to alter the status quo in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
President Joe Biden “affirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan, using its full range of capabilities,” including the application of the 1960 Japan-U.S. security treaty, during virtual talks with Kishida last month.
Kishida had also pledged that Japan “would be fully behind the United States” on taking strong action if Russia attacks Ukraine.
As for North Korea’s recent missile tests, Biden and Kishida condemned Pyongyang’s actions as in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and committed to maintaining close coordination on the issue, including with South Korea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.