Sun, 24 Oct 2021

Tokyo [Japan], October 7 (ANI): Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and US top diplomat Antony Blinken held telephonic talks during which they reaffirmed to pursue the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

This was their first conversation since Motegi was reappointed as the top diplomat in a new cabinet unveiled by Japan on Monday, Sputnik reported.

"The sides .. exchanged views on a wide range of issues, including regional problems and cooperation on climate change," the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The officials also reaffirmed their intention to further strengthen the alliance between Tokyo and Washington, pursue the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, as well as cooperate on issues related to China and North Korea.

The phone call comes days after Japan's new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden held their first telephonic call since the former took office. The two leaders agreed to cooperate to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Following the phone call, Kishida told reporters that Biden reaffirmed the Senkakus, a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, fall under the Japan-US security treaty, Kyodo News reported.

Kishida took office as Japan's prime minister on Monday. It was his first phone talks with a foreign leader since taking office.

Japan controls the Senkaku Islands, however, China and Taiwan continue to claim them. Tokyo maintains the islands are an inherent part of its territory as per history and international law.

The Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

While Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system. (ANI)

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