Austin Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Defending Senkakus


Tokyo, Jan. 24 (Jiji Press)--New U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed his country's commitment Sunday to defending the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea under the bilateral security treaty.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Austin, talking over the phone, confirmed that the security treaty's Article 5, which stipulates U.S. defense obligations to Japan, applies to the Senkaku chain.

The two ministers reaffirmed their countries' opposition to any unilateral act that undermines Japan's right to administer the islands.

Chinese coast guard ships have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus, which are also claimed by Beijing.

In telephone talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in November, then U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said the Senkakus are covered by the security treaty. The renewed commitment by Austin is "very reassuring," Kishi told reporters.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press